Nagoya Traveller 1: Osu Kannon
I haven’t had the time to take pictures and collect information until recently, so today I’m starting a new feature here on The Japan Hobbyist featuring places to see in Japan. This could be a major city, a small, out of the way place that is worth checking out, or even parts of a bigger city that are better left in their own post rather than being lost in the post about the city as a whole. I will be starting off in my city of residence, Nagoya, and from here I hope to spread out to places in Osaka, Tokyo, and other cities/locations that are worth checking out. These won’t be historical posts, informing you about it’s history and background. Rather, I want to focus on each place from the perspective of a traveller. If you are somebody here looking for a certain thing, or only here for a short time, I want to point out what there is to see and do and let you as the traveller decide whether or not to check it out depending on your tastes. Without further ado, let me introduce Osu Kannon, in the city of Nagoya.
DIRECTIONS: Osu, or Osu Kannon, is named for the temple that shares it’s name. There are two ways to get here. One is on the Meijo loop line, with the closest stop being Kamimaezu station. You can take exit 9 and once you are at street level you can walk one block and take a left after the electronics store on your left side. You should see a giant cat in front of you. From there you can explore one of the 3 major streets of the Osu shopping arcade. Another way to get to Osu is to take the Tsurumai line to Osu Kannon Station. It’s been a while since I’ve used that station, so if you don’t see signs for the temple, ask station staff how to get to the “shotengai”, or shopping arcade. From Nagoya station, the best way to get to Osu is by taking the Higashiyama line to Sakae station and tranfering to the Meijo Line heading towards Kanayama, or to get off at Fushimi station on the Higashiyama line and transferring to the Tsurumai line (it will be the next station after Fushimi). If you need further directions or if these wre too difficult to understand, please let me know and I will do my best to help you get to your destination.
(NOTE: I believe that the Meijo line runs more often than the Tsurumai line, so if possible transfer to the Meijo line at Sakae station.)
WHY GO TO OSU?: What does Osu offer that you can’t find in other places around Nagoya, or Japan for that offer? Well, of course you’ll find a temple here, with a few other shrines and temples scattered throughout the shopping arcade, but I think the real draw of Osu lies with it’s unique stores. What you find in Osu will not be the clothes you can find at any mall, or any department stores goods. Osu offers unique restaurants, cheap clothes (targeted towards a younger crowd though), mom and pop stores, traditional sweets and Japan food stores, used electronic and game shops, anime stores, and of course card shops like I previously wrote about in my blog.
- CLOTHES – Aside from a large amount of clothes targeted towards the high school and college kid crowd, Osu has a large amount of vintage and used stores. These aren’t the same thing. Vintage means high quality, unique, name brand goods, where as the used stores carry cheap clothes that you’d find at thrift stores back home. There are also a lot of punk shops, carrying spiked bracelets, leather jackets, visual kei clothes, you name it. You can also find traditional Japanese clothing shops that have kimonos and yukata.
- RESTAURANTS – I believe this is one of the best things about Osu. You’ll find very quirky, unique restaurants in Osu.
- K’s Diner – a hamburger joint that looks like a diner from the USA in the 50s. Vinyl booths, rock and roll music, old magazines, it brings me back to the retro diners that used to be popular when I was a kid (but now seem to have fallen by the wayside). If you want something a little beefier than McDonald’s or Mos Burger, definitely check this place out. They also have more than 8 flavors of shakes to choose from. Prices are little higher than what you’d pay at those places though.
- Jerry’s Uno’s – Craving Mexican food? Well, it’s no Taco Bell or Chipotle, but for anybody that lives in Japan, you know how hard it is to come by any type of mexican food in Japan. Jerry’s Uno’s has a variety of tacos to choose from. Some are traditional but some are definitely Japanese creations. You can also get Taco Rice and nachos here. The prices are VERY reasonable. They also have a decent amount of beers to choose from.
- Cesari’s Pizza – This is some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Cesari’s is famous for it’s personal pizza, which you can buy for as low as 350 yen (for a small garlic or cheese personal pizza). All of the ingredients are fresh and cooked in a traditional pizza oven right before your eyes. The pizza has won international awards, and the owner trained in Italy. Be warned, this isn’t the type of pizza you’d get at Pizza Hut or Dominos.
- Ossu Brasil – I STILL haven’t tried this out but it always smells amazing. Ossu Brasil is a rotisserie chicken restaurant, where you can order a few pieces to an entire chicken, dripping in juices and flavored with various spices. I will definitely eat some this spring!
- ELECTRONICS/HOBBY GOODS – Osu doesn’t really match up against places like Akihabara, or stores like Yamada Denki or Bic Camera, but it does have things that the major companies don’t have: Used electronics, and lots of it. As you can see in the picture to the right, Osu is made up of 3 major roads. The green and yellow are mostly clothing shops, restaurants, and other various stores, but the red line, or Akamon Dori, is full of electronics stores. If you are walking from the #9 Kamimaezu exit, walk a few blocks until you see a 7-11 on your left side. Right next to that you’ll see a huge red sign. This is Akamon street. Akamon Dori has various electronic stores, some selling used laptops and computers, others spare parts, some have old displays, and there are even a few used video game shops that have old school games from the Famicom generation. Aside from these electronics shops, you’ll also find a few hobby stores. Close to the Akamon sign you’ll see a few anime stores with anime goods and manga, and further down the road there is even a store devoted to RC cars, planes, and helicopters.
This list is far from comprehensive, but hopefully it will give you a some idea as to what to expect to see in Osu. There are so many stores down the side roads and out of the way, you’ll want to take your time walking around. You never know when you’ll find a really cool shop around a corner. Try the food, walk into the stores, enjoy the atmosphere of the shotengai (shopping arcade) . . . I definitely recommend checking it out for a few hours if you ever make it to Nagoya. In the future I would like to talk about another location in Nagoya, but it might be a while before I have a chance to collect all of the information. Until then, thanks for reading and I hope you found something you’d like to check out in the future.