Criminals, Tsutenkaku, and discounts for dwarves

Osaka is one of those Japanese cities that offer itself to ultra exploration, and the more you look around the more you learn. One of the most intriguing districts of the city is Shinsekai, which is known as being one of the more rough and ready areas of Osaka, that was actually modelled on the blueprints of New York City and Paris.


The main reason I came to Shinsekai was to see the Tsutenkaku Tower, which is like an icon of Osaka and perhaps one of the more well known icons of the whole country. Tsutenkaku literally means “The tower reaching to heaven”, and there is a useful observation deck on the 4th and 5th floors. There are other observation towers in Osaka but if you have an Osaka Unlimited Pass that grants you a free entry here, it would be a good stop during your trip to the Shinsekai region. Otherwise, if you’re paying at the door, then it will set you back 700 Yen per person, although interestingly if you’re a dwarf, it only costs you 300 Yen – I smell discrimination!

Shinsekai is a crazy area of Osaka
Shinsekai is a crazy area of Osaka

Before anything else, though, it was time to look around and get a feel of the area. Having seen other districts of Osaka, such as Dotonbori and Nipponbashi, as well as the waterfront area that contains Universal Studios Japan, I was happy to see that Shinsekai had a very different vibe – though not altogether positive! The area has quite a bad reputation for being full of criminals and chancers and for not really for being a place for solo travel, however on the face of it, I didn’t see anything untoward and during the daytime there are so many other people around that you shouldn’t feel too unsafe, provided you take the usual precautions (i.e. don’t flash the cash).


Billaken statue near to the Tower
Billaken statue near to the Tower

I spotted the strange long-eared Biliken statues all over Shinsekai. Probably the most famous Biliken is the one within Tsutenkaku, who is smiling to his visitors on the 5th floor! I saw plenty of people rubbing the soles of his feet as they made a wish, so I joined in and made a small wish of my own. There are plenty of these statues all over the Shinseaki region, although it was a little difficult to get good photos of them due to being wary about being mugged (this area of Osaka is known for its crime against locals and foreigners).



I never really wanted to visit the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, so a quick trip up the Tsutenkaku building was a good alternative. It is a little expensive, though, so if you’re counting your Yen then perhaps just marvel at the structure from the outside. Some people say that Osaka is a little light on tourist attractions, and I would agree, although with so much good (and cheap!) food in the city, you can easily kill some time if you have to!


7 thoughts on “Criminals, Tsutenkaku, and discounts for dwarves

    1. omg, I remember all that kushikatsu now. One of my favourite finger foods of Osaka. 😀 Did you find the Tsutenkaku area to be a little dangerous and run-down compared to other areas of Osaka?


      1. Ah, I like kushikatsu too.
        It is said as one of dangerous area, but I didn’t feel it, I only took days walk around Tsutenkaku Tower and everything was okay, nothing dangerous. I don’t have any idea about night walk, but I stayed not far from Tsutenkaku Tower, for two nights my staying there, nothing as dangerous as what they said was happened to me, I even took nights walk, ate few snacks, and drinks both in group and alone, nothing bad happened. Everything was just fine
        It might give a little bit run-down feeling, but I like staying there.


  1. Osaka was my favorite city in Japan and this area was nice to visit in the evening, when all those restaurant signs with creatures on them were lit up. I also heard about its bad reputation but I mainly saw a few beggars. The surrounding area does look a bit rundown and old, though not unsafe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Osaka certainly feels different to many other large Japanese cities, but anyway I did like it to an extent. You’re right – at night it looks amazing in Shinsekai (or anywhere in Osaka, for that matter, especially Dotonbori).


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