Come the weekend take a stroll through Karahori, a lesser-known area of central Osaka that oozes low-key style.
Just a stone’s throw east of the well-trodden tourist routes of Shinsaibashi and Namba lie the narrow streets of Osaka’s Karahori district. A haven from the bright lights, loud noises and crowds of Dotonbori, this up-and-coming corner of the city attracts more and more Osaka residents seeking a relaxing afternoon wandering from one trendy café or gallery to the next.
The name Karahori means ‘dry moat’ and dates back to the late sixteenth century. Back then, the grounds of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Osaka Castle were much larger than they are now and a moat to protect the castle extended as far as the current Karahori area. A movie called ‘Princess Toyotomi’ was filmed in the Karahori area. Karahori flourished during the Edo period and, unlike much of central Osaka, was fortunate to avoid more than minimal damage during World War II, so many traditional buildings remain even today.
Karahori’s modern landscape blends the old with the new. Now artists, fashionable boutiques and tea rooms are occupying the historic buildings, renovating without the feeling of stepping back in time evoked by streets such as Hanami-koji in Kyoto or Hozenji Yokocho near Osaka’s Dotonbori area.
The focus of Karahori has long been its shotengai (covered shopping arcade), but it’s the narrow side streets around this that are the real attraction. Explore them and you’ll find gems such as Hinata, a small gallery and café that sells and exhibits handmade pottery, glass and other craft items. Have a look at the opposite page for ideas.
With many of Karahori’s businesses closing on Sundays or early in the week, Friday and Saturday are the best days for exploring the area. By subway, take the Tanimachi line to Tanimachi 6 Chome Station, or the Nagahori Tsurumiryokuchi line to Matsuyamachi Station or Tanimachi 6 Chome Station, and the streets of Karahori are just a few minutes’ walk away. For more information visit karahori-walker.com or see below for a map.
By Life in Kansai
Karahori is home to three renovated shopping malls.
Open 11:00-20:00 | Closed Wed
Home to: Chocolatir Ek Chuah, crêpe café, bicycle rental company, rentable gallery, leather bag store, kimono school, design shop, Japanese health food restaurant and more.
Open 11:00-19:00 | Closed Wed
Home to: café, kimono store, kimono bar, okome (rice) café, gallery, hair salon, tapas and pinchos bar, Japanese restaurant and more.
Open 11:00-19:00 | Closed Wed
Home to: Vietnamese goods store, hand-made watch store, French café, Sanjugo Naoki museum and more.
Open 9:00-18:00 | Closed Sun & holidays
The owner, Mr. Miyashita, will kindly show you how to enjoy Japanese tea.
Open 12:00-19:00 | Closed Wed
Specialist goods and accessories handmade by Japanese artists.
楓ギャラリー (Kaede Gallery)
Open 12:00-19:00 | Closed Mon
Japanese gallery with beautiful garden. Exhibition space available.
Open 11:00–14:00, 18:00–21:30
Closed Mon & every second Tues
Asian curry restaurant.
Warble22 / 家 (nikoniko-ya)
Open 11:00-20:00 | Closed Tues
Café, glass art and Chinese pottery and clothing store.