At times it can be difficult to sustain the ginormous amounts of coffee my girlfriend and I drink when going out together. That’s why I was thrilled to hear about a dating spot, that is both romantic and reasonably far from Starbucks.

Night Viewing Spots

Sakai City (Sakai-Shi, 堺市) is just a stone’s throw away from Osaka. Chances are though you’ve never heard of this metropolis with almost a million inhabitants. It is however known throughout Japan for it’s very important seaport. The enormous industrial area located on numerous artificial islands just off Hamadera-park offers incredible views.
The night view is even featured as a recommended attraction on SAKAI TOURISM’s official website.

A total of 4 “photography spots” – all equally fit to serve as “dating spots”- are listed in the above article. The included map offers nice orientation, but to actually go there, you might want to use the Google Map links I included with the Spot information.
Since the industrial area of Sakai is rather vast and a bit remote, I’d highly recommend going there by car.
All spots are in driving distance from each other and easily reachable. The roads are also used for freight and therefore wide and in very good condition.

Spot A – The factory grounds of Osaka’s International Refining Company are covered by a complicated network of pipes and ghostly illuminated chimneys.  (Map)

The factory grounds of Osaka's International Refining Company

The factory grounds of Osaka’s International Refining Company©Theo Steiner /JapanFor2

Spot B – Hidden away under a highway overpass lies the driveway to this fishing port. The piers, although not illuminated themselves, make it clear to see how big this industrial complex actually is.

industrial complex

industrial complex©Theo Steiner /JapanFor2

Spot C – This refinery of Cosmo Oil Company has almost a cyberpunk look to it. You’ll get the best view of it from the opposite side of the road, or the adjacent park. (Map)

Cosmo Oil Company

Cosmo Oil Company©Theo Steiner /JapanFor2

Spot D – When out in Osaka, one sometimes forgets just how close the ocean actually is to the buzzing city. Stand next to the railing and enjoy this calming night view. Who knows, a giant oil tanker might just pass by you. (Map)

Out in Osaka

Out in Osaka©Theo Steiner /JapanFor2

Is this the right date for us?

I’d recommend this spot to almost every couple. The only exception being you or your partner having a very sensitive nose. What makes this place particularly exciting to me is its beauty not being staged as it would be in a theme park but instead being a by-product of real work taking place.

Tips & things to pay attention to:

→ As mentioned in the introduction, there are no coffee shops or restaurants etc. nearby. Bring some snacks and a chilled coffee along, and make it a picnic! (Or buy some at a convenience store along the way)

→ Why not take a blanket with you and cuddle up at the pier?

→ Most factories operate all night; watch out for trucks and the like!

→ Sakai Tourism didn’t just name them “photography spots” for fun, make sure to bring your camera!

If you get there early…

Across the shore from the man-made islands of Sakai’s industrial district lies Hamadera Kōen. A scenic park just waiting for you to take a stroll through its lush rose gardens.

There’s even a tiny amusement park you could explore.