Take a walk around America-Mura (locally known as Ame-Mura), arguably the coolest area in Japan. Here you can feel the pulse of Osakan street culture and fashion as you wander down colourful graffitied streets, passing vintage clothing shops, and stylish Osaka locals chasing the latest trends.
Just Off The Beaten Path
Just a stone’s throw away from Shinsaibashi shopping street, where the majority of tourist shoppers can be found, Ame-Mura could not have a more different ambience from the famous shopping arcade. Originally a neighbourhood full of warehouses, in the 1970’s the buildings were converted to act as stores for goods imported from the West Coast of the USA. As the popularity and unique atmosphere of the district developed, the media quickly dubbed the area Ame-Mura.
A Different Shopping Experience
Instead of the big famous brand shops, and smaller boutiques, in Ame-Mura you are surrounded by niche vintage shops, and street stalls and stores that literally spill out on the pavement outside the shops. The stores provide much of the areas colour and vibrance, many of the wares on show sporting colourful slogans, or symbols ranging from fashionable brands such as Supreme to hip hop group insignia emblazoned on oversized hoodies. Speakers outside the shops play a mixture of classic hip hop intertwined with modern dance music adding to the atmosphere.
Colourful Streets, Colourful People
If the streets and the visual aesthetic is primarily provided by the stores and their wares on sale, the liveliness is a product of the people that visit the area. Everyone you pass by is influenced by the area, and in turn is also influencing it. There are so many unique and wonderful displays of fashion, culture, personality, and independence on show in this area, it is fascinating to be a part of this world and watch its inhabitants.
Loved By Locals, Adored By Tourists
One of the nicest things about Ame-Mura is that the tourists do not overcrowd the place and it is clear that within the district there are many Japanese people, young and old, going about their daily life. It is as if the neighbourhood bleeds into the lives of all who pass through it, as almost every person you walk by summons your interest and catches your attention; from the young colourfully dressed Japanese girl, to the laid-back and casually clothed backpacking tourist, to the middle aged Japanese businessman dressed in quiet yet stylish minimalism.
A Place To Explore
As well as the bright and vibrant areas surrounding Sankakukoen Park, the quieter side streets throughout the neighbourhood provide a more laid-back atmosphere, and it is here the real beauty of Ame-Mura lies. In these places you find elegant coffee shops, quirky and unique vintage stores, and sleek independent brand clothing stores. They all appear more contained and subtle compared to the bright areas just two minutes away. This makes for a curious and pleasing juxtaposition, you can enjoy the liveliness and the excitement of the main streets, and then duck into the side roads and spend time looking through clothing racks, or relax in a cosy cafe. Ame-Mura really offers the stylish best of both worlds.
Written by James Rodgers. Copyright: www.theworldwidewatch.com & James Rodgers.
The Sankaku-koen park at the centre of Ame-Mura can be found at: 〒542-0086 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Nishishinsaibashi, ２丁目１１. It is a short walk west from popular Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori areas.