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Local Food and Bargain Hunting at the Osu Shopping Street

Are you looking for a place rich in history, with a great atmosphere and excellent food options? Do you want modern entertainment and experience spirituality? Then you need to visit the Osu Shopping Streets!

It’s an area that encompasses all of these things and more, making it one of the most popular destinations in Nagoya for tourists and locals alike. 

Let’s Uncover the History of the Osu Shopping Streets

Osu SHowa Period Street
Osu Street during the early Showa Period (1926 – 1989) after the Second World War.
Photo via network2010

With the construction of Nagoya Castle at the beginning of the 17th century, a city was born, which would later become Nagoya.

The birth of the Osu district happened during that same time when in 1612 the temple Shinfukuji was relocated to its current position on the west side of Osu district and renamed to become Osu Kannon. After the relocation, the first businesses were founded around the temple and the area started to grow and develop gradually to what it has become today.

After the Second World War, Osu struggled to stay relevant as nearby Sakae, with its new department stores, became the popular center for shopping, as the access to the Osu area wasn’t as convenient either. Moreover, previously popular movie theaters in the area went out of business due to the rising popularity of television. 

These and other challenges made Osu into a ghost town with more closed shutters than open shops. An intervention was necessary, and Osu managed to become relevant again after inviting electronics stores to open, turning it into a second Akihabara, a heaven for computer geeks and Otaku alike. 

Start your Explorations at Osu Kannon Temple

Osu Kannon Temple
View of the Osu Kannon Temple

Unfortunately, The original Osu Kannon was destroyed during World War II and the current buildings are 20th-century reconstructions. But this doesn’t make the famous Buddhist temple any less impressive, though.

Osu Kannon is dedicated to the goddess of mercy depicted in a delicate wooden carving. If you would like to pay your respects and make a wish at the temple, walk up the steps, make an offering in the form of a single coin, put your hands together, and bow your head while making your prayer. For more tips on how to behave at a temple or shrine in Japan, and our top recommended shrines and temples to visit in Nagoya, check out this post.

Beneath the temple is the Shinpukuji Library, housing more than 15,000 Japanese and Chinese historical texts, many of which are important cultural treasures, including the oldest copy of the Kojiki, of Japan’s earliest history books. Unfortunately, the library is not generally open to the public.

Shop Till You Drop at the Osu Shopping Street

The shopping arcades in Osu span more than 1700 meters and host more than 1200 businesses. There are 8 main streets, each color-coded with regular signposts reminding you where you are and making it easy to find your way around. The shops in Osu sell anything you can think of, from electronics, clothing, and shoes, to second-hand items, sundries, and appliances.

Bargain Hunting Mania When Second-Hand Shopping in Osu

Osu is the place to go if you are looking for a bargain. It is famous for having the best selection of second-hand stores in town.

Komehyo per Gram Shop Osu Nagoya
Komehyo Yen=g (Engram) second-hand store selling clothes by weight

One store worth mentioning, in particular, is Komehyo, a massive second-hand mall.

There are three different outlets of Komehyo in Osu. One specializes in kimonos, another sells bargain clothing items by weight, and the third and biggest one specializes in all kinds of brand items such as luxury bags and watches.

You will find everything at amazingly discounted prices, so be sure to check if you find anything to your liking.

Osu Antique Market Osu Kannon Nagoya
Antique flea market in front of Osu Kannon

Another great opportunity to buy second-hand items is the antique flea market held twice a month, on the 18th and 28th, around the Osu Kannon temple grounds. With around 60 stalls selling beautiful antiques, second-hand goods, and even souvenirs to locals and tourists alike, you will surely find something to spend your yen on.

Anime, Manga, Figurines, and Games – Heaven for every Otaku

Super Potato
Game shop in Osu

Many of the shops in Osu cater to so-called Otaku: people who love Manga, Anime, and Cosplay. There are shops selling costumes, playing cards, video games, figurines, and anything else the Otaku heart desires.

Since this is a world in itself, we have prepared this post with all the best shop recommendations around Osu, Sakae, and Nagoya Station.

Japanese Clothing as a Souvenir – Kimono Shopping in Osu

Daifukuya
Kimono shop Daifukuya in Osu, Image via Daifukuya

The best place to buy a cheap Kimono in Nagoya is Osu. You will find Kimono shops at literally every corner here. They sell all kinds of Kimono as well as accessories at every price point, from extremely cheap used items to valuable and rare handcrafted pieces of clothing.

Check out this article to find out more about Kimono shopping in Osu.

Osu: a Street Food Paradise

Osu Shopping Street surprises with interesting street food at every corner

If you are interested in trying Japanese street food, Osu will feel like paradise to you. Every street is lined with hundreds of shops selling savory as well as sweet examples of local specialties, along with national (and some international) favorites.

We recommend trying Miso Kushi Katsu -deep-fried pork skewers with Miso sauce- from Yabaton, and Uiro -traditional Japanese confectionery made from rice flour, water, and sugar- from Aoyagi Sohonke.

Street Food Walking Tour of Osu

Food shops include old traditional Japanese restaurants selling popular local dishes like Miso Nikomi Udon, and Hitsumabushi and new trendy stores that just opened recently selling rolled ice cream, cute and colorful donuts, and of course bubble tea.

You will also find the biggest concentration of international cuisine in Osu. There is a famous Brazilian restaurant right next to a Vietnamese shop selling Pho, and you will come across countless Turkish stalls selling kebabs and Turkish ice cream. Additionally, there are Italian restaurants, a Mexican-style taco place, a Thai place, and several Indian restaurants selling delicious curries.

But we can’t forget to mention the many maid cafes, where young waitresses in cute maid costumes greet their guests in high-pitched voices, that can be found in Osu. Actually, it is said that the whole phenomenon started in Osu and then spread across the country.

If you want to visit one yourself, we can recommend Maidreamin, a very foreigner-friendly establishment.

Experience Osu’s Culture in a Unique Way

Shopping and eating are definitely entertaining, but here are some more ideas on how you can dive even deeper into the culture of Osu.

Osu x Kimono: Enjoy Nagoya’s Vintage Arcades in a Kimono

Kimono rental in Osu

We told you you can shop for kimonos in Osu. But you can also shop IN a Kimono in Osu… by getting dressed in a Kimono by a professional Kimono master!

The kimono masters will give recommendations for Kimono patterns and Obi (Kimono belt) to go with it, dress you with great attention to detail, and make sure everything fits. You can also wear shoes that are surprisingly comfortable, perfect for your walk around the area.

Usually, you also have the option to get your hair and, sometimes, makeup done in a cute style (perfect if you are planning on taking pictures) and even get valuable tips on how to walk and pose, and also important etiquette related to wearing Kimono.

Once you are ready you can explore the shopping streets in style, and take lots of pictures to commemorate the occasion.

Craft Metal with a Buddhist Altar Metalwork Master

Butsugu Experience in Osu
Butsugu Master working metal

After visiting Osu Kannon or, actually, any Japanese temple (big or small) you will probably be impressed by the beautiful wood and metalwork decorating the altar. If you want to learn more about the craftsmanship behind traditional art, you can join a unique experience.

Owari Butsugu is the name of the type of Buddhist artifacts produced in Nagoya since the founding of the city in 1610. They are characterized by to use of local wood, lacquered finishes, and detailed and delicate metalwork.

During this experience, you will learn more about this tradition from a metalwork master and even try your own hands at creating a small metal item such as a cardholder, accessory, or small tray. You can learn more about this activity and book here.

Join the Fun at One of the Colorful Festivals of Osu

Each season is a new opportunity to celebrate for the people in Osu. 

Throw Beans at the Setsubun Festival at Osu Kannon

Osu Setsubun Festival 2021
Osu Kannon Setsubun Festival, people throwing soybeans at the Oni

Setsubun is a festival held every year on the 2nd and 3rd of February all over the country. It marks the changing of the season from winter to spring.

At Setsubun, evils in the form of Oni -Japanese demons or devils- are pushed out by throwing roasted beans at them.

You can participate in this bean-throwing event at Osu Kannon from 10 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon while shouting ‘Oni wa Soto, Fuku wa Uchi’ meaning “Devils out, fortune in!”.

There are also lively parades in the area with music and treasure ships of the God of Happiness, and the God of Good Luck.

Hand-Held Fireworks at the Osu Summer Festival

Osu Summer festival
Amazing hand-held fireworks during the summer festival

The Osu Summer Festival takes place each year in late July or early August.

During the festival period, many parades make their way through the streets of Osu. There is a cosplay parade with more than a thousand participants, a samba parade that reminds strongly of the carnival in Brazil, and more traditional Japanese parades such as Awa-dancing and Bon-dancing parades.

There is a big stage in the center of the festivities with different performances during the two days.

At night, the place around Osu Kannon turns into a Bon dance area where anyone can join the moving crowds and have fun learning traditional Japanese dance moves. Don’t worry it is easier than it sounds.

The festival comes to a grand finale with an amazing hand-held fireworks display.

Get up Close with the Performers at the Osu Street Performers Festival

Osu Oiran Dochu 2019
Oiran procession during the street performer festival

While street performer festivals have become popular all over Japan, it is said that the birthplace of such festivals was in the streets of Osu.

Street performer festivals are so popular because it is possible to get up close to performers like jugglers, dancers, mimes, and other artists as they perform in the streets.

One of the highlights is the Oiran procession. Oiran are the courtesans of the Edo Period (1603-1868) who used to populate Osu when it was still the red-light district and entertainment center of Nagoya.

In commemoration of the history of Osu, women selected in open audition wear beautiful Oiran garments weighing around 20 kilograms and proceed through the streets of Osu.

A Must for Every Cosplayer: The World Cosplay Summit

Osu World Cosplay Summit 2019
Cosplayers during the World Cosplay Summit at Osu Kannon

In Japan, the World Cosplay Summit, also known as WCS, is one of the biggest cosplay contests. Actually, it is one of the biggest in the world.

Every year since 2003 the best cosplayers from more than 40 countries and regions gather in Osu to compete for the best cosplay in the world. It is a 9-day long event held every year in late July or early August. Find out more about the World Cosplay Summit here.

How to Get to the Osu Shopping District

From Sakae district, you can either walk to Osu, which takes about 20 minutes, take a bus which takes about 6 minutes and costs 210 yen or take the subway Meijo Line from Sakae Station to Kamimaezu Station. This option takes just 3 minutes and costs 210 yen.

To get from Nagoya Station to the west side of Osu where the Osu Kannon is located, take the Higashiyama line to Fushimi Station and then change to the Tsurumai line to Osu Kannon Station. The ride will cost 210 yen in total and take about 9 minutes.

Where to Stay in the Heart of Osu

Even though Osu is a favorite tourist destination in Nagoya, there are not many hotels located here. Nevertheless, it is a very convenient place to stay, situated in the center of the city with lots of things to do nearby.

Abest Osu Kannon Ekimae Hane no Yu

Abest Osu Kannon Ekimae is a 3-star hotel just a couple of meters from Osu Kannon and the closest subway station called Osu Kannon Station.

They offer simple rooms with typical amenities such as free toiletries, a hairdryer in the bathroom, a refrigerator, a TV, and an electric kettle. However, the highlight of this hotel is the public bath available to all guests. It also features a sauna.

Abest Osu Kannon Ekimae Hane no Yu (ホテルアベスト大須観音駅前)
Stars:
★★★
Address: 2-24-45 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0011
Book here: booking.com or Agoda
Website | Google Maps

Trip & Sleep Hostel

Trip & Sleep Hostel is a very popular and modern accommodation in the center of Osu district.

They have dormitory-style rooms as well as private rooms with shared bathrooms. You can even book a Japanese-style room with Tatami mats and Futon beds. Guests can hang out in the shared lounge to make new friends and use the kitchen to prepare meals.

Trip & Sleep Hostel (トリップ&スリープ ホステル)
Stars:

Address: 2-24-45 Osu, Naka Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0011
Book here: booking.com or Agoda
Website | Google Maps

This post was last updated in February 2024
Although we strive to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, please note that changes may occur nonetheless. We recommend you confirm any relevant information such as event cancelations or changes, opening hours, or possible restrictions using a direct source. Please keep in mind that these sources might be in Japanese only.


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About the author

In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. Her goal is to make everyone interested in Nagoya, her adoptive home, online through her writing and offline through unique food tours.
6 Responses
    1. Hi Yappie, thanks for your question.
      I have to admit I am not sure. My idea would be to check out Osu, especially on the 18th and 28th when the antique market takes place.
      The Komehyo in Osu also sells watches, but mostly not vintage but rather new or modern used ones.

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