Amerika-mura, Osaka's "American" neighborhood
Amerika-mura (アメリカ村), commonly called Amemura, is a most picturesque and interesting area of Osaka. And it has been the center of youth culture in the Kansai region for almost half a century.
A short drive from other Osaka landmarks like Namba, Shinsaibashi, and Dotombori, Amerika-mura is a commercial Osaka neighborhood focused on American fashion and culture. As its name suggests (its name literally means "the neighborhood of America"), here you have dozens of fashion and accessory stores of American origin and especially urban fashion with great influences from the world of surfing, the skateboarding and hip hop.
However, it is not the only thing you will see in the neighborhood. Because you will also find many bars, restaurants and street food stalls that will make you enjoy the walk even more.
Brief history of Amemura
Apparently, in the 1960s, the area now occupied by Amerika-mura was called sumiya machi and it was full of warehouses and industrial buildings. But everything changed when in 1969 he opened a cafeteria called Loop which became an important meeting point for the Osaka art community.
Quickly, the warehouses were converted into stores that began to sell products imported from the United States. The most popular of these products were "US West Coast Fashion" items, a name given to Hawaiian-style surf fashion.
Later, already in the 1980s, the neighborhood was renamed Amerika-mura, officially recognizing this influence. But it wasn't until the 1990s, with the opening of the complex Big Step and the store takeover bid that Amemura began to receive the attention of tourists.
Today it is still the ideal place to buy sports shoes (attention all sneakerheads), clothes of the world skater and surfer, as well as clothes vintage and second-hand California-style. And it is also a popular place for lovers and collectors of vinyl records and all kinds of imported items and accessories.
What to see and do in Amerika-Mura
In Amerika-mura it is impossible to get bored. Here there are thousands of shops of all kinds, as well as restaurants, cafeterias and street food stalls, as well as many bars and nightclubs with an international atmosphere, so you can often enjoy just walking through its streets.
Here we tell you what to see and do in Amerika-mura, so you don't miss anything during your walk through the neighborhood. Anyway, as always, you have all the points of interest marked on the general map of Osaka.
Remember that you can easily use it from your mobile during your trip to Japan, as we tell you on the Maps page.
Osaka tourist map
All the points of interest that we mention in this post are marked on the general map of Osaka. This map also includes hotels, restaurants and other recommendations of interest.
Sankaku Koen Square
The "triangle park", although we would rather say "triangle square«, is the nerve center of Amerika-mura.
It is a triangular-shaped cement square where there is always atmosphere. Here you will find several people sitting eating delicious takoyaki from a nearby stall to a fashion photo shoot or a movie shoot indie (as was our case).
It is the ideal place to sit down to eat some takoyaki and enjoy seeing the latest trends in youth fashion in the region.
At one end of the Sankaku square you will see the shop of takoyaki Kogaryu Takoyakione of the stores takoyaki most popular in the neighborhood. They have been doing exclusively for more than half a century takoyaki with a clear commitment: a lot of attention to detail and passion in everything they do.
For this reason, they take great care in choosing the raw materials, from the octopus, the mayonnaise or the sauce to the dashi with which the dough is made. A dough, by the way, that is made with seven different ingredients, several of which are secret and that make them melt in your mouth.
There are many other places of takoyaki in the area, but we highly recommend this one. It is typical to order and eat it sitting in the Sankaku square… They are delicious!
Statue of Liberty
On the roof of the building where the Marble store is located, you will see one of the icons of Amerika-mura: a replica of the statue of liberty from New York. Of course, much smaller, of course.
And since the neighborhood is called Amerika-mura, that statue of liberty, which can be seen from various points in the neighborhood, fits the bill, don't you think?
By the way, if you go to see it up close, you can enter Marble, a store that specializes in gothic and lolita fashion.
peace on earth
Another of the symbols of Amerika-mura is the mural «peace on earth«. The mural was painted in 1983 by Seitaro Kuroda, a local artist from the city of Osaka.
The mural represents a kind of bird-man walking between the letters "peace in the world" with outstretched wings. In an interviewKuroda speaks of "the war was in vain" and for this reason images that refer to peace are frequent in his murals.
Opposite was Tom's House and its iconic Uncle Sam clown, but the great clown has been gone for many years. A few years ago you could still see a miniature version, but nowadays not even that anymore, a shame!
Big Step Mall
We said at the beginning that the opening in 1993 of the shopping center Big Step It was the definitive takeoff for the Amerika-mura neighborhood. And in a country where many things appear and disappear (especially when it comes to fashion), it's nice to be able to write that the Big Step shopping center continues to be an important entertainment point for the neighborhood.
Inside, you will find plenty of fashion stores, as well as restaurants and cafes. And there is also a gym, a cinema and even bicat, a well-known music venue. And if none of this catches your eye, you might want to head inside to see The Silver Ball Planeta Arcadian Super classic.
Mitsugu Hachimangu Shrine
the sanctuary Mitsugu Hachimangu It was founded in 749 and is dedicated to the patron deity of the Shinsaibashi district. Today it is a haven of peace among the bustle of Amerika-mura.
One of the deities enshrined in the sanctuary is the one that helps to have a good birth, so here you will see many amulets related to pregnancy and childbirth.
However, today it is quite a popular sanctuary among those who have pets, since the sanctuary has tablets ema shaped like a mascot that each visitor can personalize to ask for good health for them.
This small place in Amerika-mura, opened in 1963 and run by a couple of charming grandparents, is located a few meters from Sankaku Park. He is especially known today for his takosena local invention that is the perfect street snack.
He takosen of Daigen Takoyaki It is a kind of "sandwich of takoyaki«. These are takoyaki balls, made instantly on the local plates, between two senbei or prawn crackers.
It has several filling options. We tried the egg one and it was spectacular. Buy one and sit in the park to watch people go by, it's perfect!
The lampposts of Amerika-mura
If you have listened to any episode of our podcast, follow us on social networks or have seen our videos on YouTube, you will know that Laura is passionate about Japanese street lamp designs.
There are very curious and fun lampposts in various places in Japan and Amerika-mura is not far behind. Here you will find some amazing human-shaped lampposts.
There are about 50 different designs, so we recommend you look at each and every one of them… they are great!
How to get
The Amerika-mura area is a 5-minute walk from Shinsabashi Subway Station Exit 7 (Midosuji Line and Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line) or about a 10-minute walk from Namba Station.
Enjoy your walk through Amerika-mura!