In the south of Osaka, Shinsaibaishi & Namba districts are alive and change completely between day and night! You get new reasons to walk in the shopping districts, and can enjoy various bars and clubs! Let me recommend you a few spots great for couples spending the night in this part of Osaka…
Romantic green walk and Osaka nightscape
When the night falls, I recommend a romantic walk hand in hand in the gardens of Namba Parks mall, among trees, shrubs, and fragrant flowers. On the ninth floor, you wan walk without meeting many people and spend private time on one of the benches for two hidden by the vegetation. Depending on your location, you may see the floors below, also partly green, or the lights of Osaka city under the moonlight. In case of rain, there is a covered space with tables and chairs but it is a bit small so you may instead head for the Chelsea restaurant on the eighth floor, which features a covered terrace with round tables and comfortable chairs. Last time I checked the menu, there was a risotto with raclette cheese and roast beef! Sharing such a delicious dish is not easy so you may have to order one for you and another for your partner 🙂 Note that you are allowed to bring drinks and food from the coffee shops and bagel shops of the mall; one good thing to slowly spend time together in the gardens of Namba Parks… Not sure the place remains peaceful when there are winter illuminations though. Personally, I think this is the best sunset & evening spot in Namba district! The shops close at 21:00 and the restaurants at 23:00 but the gardens are open until midnight!
Re-explore the streets
The streets look completely different during daytime and nighttime in Shinsaibaishi & Namba districts. When the night falls, the streets light up with Japanese-style lanterns that can look traditional (round/elongated, red or white, black writing) or expressive e.g. pig-shaped lantern for a restaurant specialized in pork. It is a pleasure just to re-discover the area, walking in front of ramen restaurants, izakaya Japanese pubs, karaoke places, game centres… Alternatively, you can also go for a walk hand in hand on the riverside, which is quiet, illuminated, and safe.
Enjoy a bar
Domus is my favourite bar in the Shinsaibaishi & Namba districts. Open every day from 12:00 to 03:00, it is in the American Village, between Midosuji Boulevard and the expressway. It has a counter, tables and a space for the DJ on the first floor. It has sofas, a karaoke machine, and games on the second floor. Enjoy good colourful alcoholic beverages or soft drinks depending on your way of life (reference price: 700 yen per drink), and use one of the many plugs available under the counter or near the tables to recharge your phone or camera if needed! The tables and counter on the first floor are good for couples but the sofas on the second floor are more suited to groups. The first time I entered Domus, a couple of Westerners was comfortably enjoying the afternoon at a table; I suppose that the friendly young barman who lived a year in New-Zealand skilfully chatted with them in English like he did with me 🙂
If you prefer to stay close to Namba station rather than go near Shinsaibashi station, you can instead try an Japanese bar, Spanish bar, Irish pub or something else that catches your attention that evening! If your couple budget is a bit tight, you can head to 200yen Bar Moon Walk Namba; all the drinks cost only 200 yen in this bar!
Enjoy a club
I recommend two clubs in the area after midnight: (1) Ghost Ultra Lounge for Hip Hop and R&B, and (2) Giraffe Japan for diverse music. Open every day from 22:00 to 05:00, Ghost Ultra Lounge is south of the American Village, between Midosuji Boulevard and the expressway. It has a cool dance floor and lounge; check the online schedule! Open every day from 19:00 to 01:00, Giraffe Japan is just north of the river, east of Midosuji Boulevard. It has a reception area and powder room (floor 1), two dance floors (floors 2 & 4), and VIP seating (floor 3). Remember to bring your passport (ID)!
Ghost Ultra Lounge
End the day & night at a Couple’s Hotel!
There are a few hotels in Shinsaibaishi & Namba districts and a bit beyond… Do not underestimate their potential for a few fun hours before sleeping 🙂 I have great memories of a room in a couple’s hotel with outdoor bath equipped with colour-changing lighting (soothing at night) and air blowers (healing for my painful legs spent walking in Osaka); I even had a pleasing view of the city when standing on the balcony. For a couple, this can be so much better than a room in a standard Japanese hotel! Travel tip: bring drinks you can enjoy with your lover because that is not a strong point of couple’s hotels. Whatever you choose and do, enjoy Osaka and have fun!