Knives Out at Tenjimbashisuji

A 2.5km line of small shops make up this roofed shopping street, which runs from Tenjimbashisuji, which runs nearly as far as the distance between three Metro stations. The street, whose high roof makes for a feeling of great spaciousness, is Japan’s longest shopping street and as such receives a lot of attention from tourists.

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While not many people will come to Osaka just for some retail therapy (Tokyo is way better for that kind of thing), if you’re in the city already, then you would be mad to miss out on the experience at Tenjimbashisuji Shopping Street. Walking into the undercover complex is like walking into a tunnel and not knowing how long you’re going to be walking for! You can find plenty of good Japanese souvenirs here, as well as occasional bits of street food (though not as much as I had hoped), particularly katsukushi.

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In a market as small and cramped as Tenjimbashisuji, I was quite concerned to see so many weapons for sale, including huge machetes and samurai swords. I can only imagine the damage that could be inflicted on unsuspecting crowds if the wrong kind of person bought one of these knives. Luckily, the shop owners seemed very responsible, but the danger is always going to be there if such weapons are on sale.

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Numerous movie theatres and game centres will be found along Tenjimbashisuji and there are events held here almost every day. I had a look in the game centres and it seemed very modern – not the kind of tacky games arcade you would find in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, that’s for sure! Ultimately, though, it’s the retail therapy and shopping experience that people come to Tenjimbashisuji for. I found it quite hard to move around due to the sheer number of people in the area, but it all contributed the unique experience at the longest shopping street in the country!

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