“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:
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 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:
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!
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.
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!
Some of the sides of the buildings reminded us of The Wave in Arizona.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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!
There 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.
Address: 2-10-70 Nambanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka 566-0011
Public Transportation: Subway Midō-suji, Sennichimae, Yotsubashi line to Namba
How about you? Have you ever been to any place like Namba Parks?
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Author Bio: Andi Fisher
Yes, I am a francophile, but after that, I love Japan, especially the food! I have been to Tokyo many times, and spent 2 weeks in Kyoto and a week in Osaka exploring and eating!