Asia Pacific | Japan | Osaka | Travel

Osaka – Namba Parks

“We’re going to a mall.” It was 8 a.m. and Mr. Misadventures had just indicated we were going shopping.

Something wasn’t right.

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Had my hubby whacked his head? I am not much of a shopper and this is how all the shopping centers had looked like thus far:

Osaka Shopping
Loud, crowded shopping center…

So I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when I heard shopping mall! I really should have known better. Mr. Misadventures wasn’t really interested in torturing me. He wanted to see the fantastic architecture of Namba Parks Shopping Centre in all its glory (and before the shoppers arrived).

You see, Namba Parks is an extraordinary shopping and office complex consisting of 120 stores and 8 rooftop gardens. It is located in where the former Osaka Stadium (baseball park) used to stand.

The former stadium itself has a little bit of weird history. After the Nankai Hawks baseball team left and before it became Namba Parks it was a model home showroom for a property developer…inside the stadium! Take a look at this photo from 1998/1999:

houses-buildings-living-inside-osaka-stadium-japan
Photo credit: Naoya Hatakeyama (Source)

There is actually a baseball museum in Namba parks which I later checked out while the hubby was photographing the exceptional architecture. I love baseball and would absolutely love to attend a Japanese baseball game!

Namba Parks Nankai Hawks baseball museum
Part of the Nankai Hawks baseball museum

They call it Namba Parks because of all the trees inside the parks around the upper levels. Every photo of the buildings looking up from the ground floor has trees.

Osaka Namba Parks
Photo credit Mr. Misadventures

The park gardens don’t open until 10 (stores at 11) so we had plenty of time to take photos of the buildings without people popping in unexpectedly!

Osaka Namba Parks
Photo credit Mr. Misadventures

Some of the sides of the buildings reminded us of The Wave in Arizona.

Osaka Namba Parks
Photo credit Mr. Misadventures

The building was designed by an American architect named Jon Jerde who specializes in shopping centers. He and his firm have created beautiful buildings all over the world (more here) as well as several spots in San Francisco Bay Area including the shopping center I go to several times a month to see movies – small world!

Osaka Namba Parks
Photo credit Mr. Misadventures

After wandering around for an hour or so we headed to back Kuromon-Ichiba Market for a little snack. It’s only a short walk from Namba Parks. We later returned to Namba Parks to access the upper terraces.

Big cities like this in Japan city are densely populated and nature is pretty nonexistent, so the rooftop gardens that flow through eight levels covering several city blocks and which eventually connect to the street are extraordinary. They’ve made it easy for pedestrians to slip in and out of little havens of green grass, trees, rocks, cliffs, streams, waterfalls and terraces. I have never seen anything like it.

Namba Parks Terrace
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Watching Mr. Misadventures work makes me hungry and thirsty. In the morning before the shops opened I had my eye on Saryo Cafe, an organic cafe that served donuts fried in olive oil. Which to choose?

Namba Parks Saryo Cafe Donuts

The kitchen inside was minuscule and it was incredible to observe the cook as she prepared orders all while keeping her tiny space spotless. She was literally working on one burner!

Namba Parks Saryo Cafe

I dragged the hubby inside and had one of the donuts along with a warming cup of matcha green tea. My sweet reward for all that photo assistant work!

Namba Parks Saryo Cafe DonutThere is something for everyone at Namba Parks. Shops galore! Architecture. Nature. Organic donuts (and many more restaurants). There are concerts and light shows, it is definitely a destination. It is also super easy to get to.

Namba Parks
Address: 2-10-70 Nambanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 566-0011
Public Transportation: Subway Midล-suji, Sennichimae, Yotsubashi line to Namba

How about you? Have you ever been to any place like Namba Parks?

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71 Comments

  1. Amazing architecture to admire, delicious food to enjoy, stores and stores to shop… I need to book tickets there asap! Sigh~

  2. I have never heard of Namba parks. I have been thinking of heading to Japan within the next couple of years if I can. It’s on my list of places to visit. This place looks like something out of a Salvador Dali painting.

    1. @Murissa, I was totally surprised by the architecture of the place, I am sure there is probably a building somewhere in BC that this guy helped design, he seemed to have designed buildings all over the world!

  3. Wonderful pics! It’s been years since I’ve been to Osaka, and I remember those ubiquitous malls as well! It’s great to see you found some alternative sights, makes me want to go back there and check them out too!

    1. @Anita, my hubby is good at finding all the angles! I didn’t spend enough time there – never really had a chance to do ramen, which I am very regretful about!

  4. 1- That donut looks amazing & 2- how freaking awesome is that shopping center! I love the view from the top to where you can see it was a stadium! It’s so cool to see them turn an old stadium into something so cool!

    1. @Erica, it is a pretty neat spot and next time I will skip breakfast and eat more donuts as it was awesome and there were other flavors I would love to try!

  5. Wow, I seriously love the pictures looking up to the sky. Really makes you admire the architecture. My Father is an Architect, so I’m familair with taking in scenes like this.

    1. @Nancy, I can imagine that depending on the season at the clouds in the sky that the pictures of the buildings could be constantly different.

  6. What an interesting shopping center! I love, love, love it when places incorporate trees and green things in public spaces! It always makes them more inviting. It’s a scientific fact that people are happier when they are around nature! Thanks for the great pictures and showing us such a cool place.

    Cheers,
    JoAnna
    foreverinparadise.net

    1. @JoAnna, I think it is especially important in a place like Japan and in cities like Osaka and Tokyo where the cities are super crowded, the spaces are very small and people have limited access to green things.

  7. OMG! This looks amazing and totally something I want to check out! My husband have traveling to Japan on our bucket list and this is something we will most definitely add to the itinerary! Thanks for sharing!

    BTW, I totally love coming to your blog for more bucket list travels and itinerary ideas! Thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. @Avie, definitely do, there is so much to explore in just this one spot, but plenty of other things to do and eat in Osaka!

    1. @Alex, no my hubby, he is the photographer in the house although from time to time I can do a decent shot.

  8. That place looks amazing and what a clever idea of retaining the ball park’s general infastructure and building with it, rather than demolishing it. I definitely want to see this place myself. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. These are some beautiful photos! It looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    1. @Tamika, it is important I think, in places like these, there is no way to visit everything, so it is important to explore a few places a little more deeply.

  10. I have never been to a place like this. The rooftop gardens would be where you would find me. I love the photos you took.

  11. The stadium has quite a history indeed. The pictures look amazing for sure. I would love to see Osaka Namba Parks. It looks and sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Wow, I have never been to a place like this before. It’s absolutely beautiful and the architecture is amazing. You have inspired me to want to see more of the world. Thanks!

  13. I LOVE Japan so much (I went once, some years ago, and have been yearning to return ever since), it was a joy to see your photos. Beautiful, innovative architecture – the lines and tones are so graceful and calming. And that matcha looks absolutely delicious. :9

    xo,
    lauriel
    EyeForElegance.com

    1. @Lauriel, Japan is someplace I would love to live for a year just to get it out of my system! Matcha anything is delicious in my book!