Together with the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, the IAAF World Championships in Athletics is counted as one of the Three Great Global Sporting Events. Nagai Athletics Field, which boasts one of Japan’s few Class 1 rankings, was host to the emotion, excitement, and passion of that big-name sports event in 2007. Visiting the stadium now, those memories still seem to echo onward. Though visitors might not notice during sporting events, the area around the stadium is abundant in natural beauty. Be sure to relax among the green landscape here, but don't forget to check out some of the other sights! See Nagai Botanical Gardens, which is right there in the park; view some classic architecture in the area; or even hop on the tramway and visit Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine.
Start at Nagai Station, Subway Midosuji Line
1. Osaka Metropolitan Yanmar Stadium Nagai (Nagai Stadium)
Known widely and with affection simply as “Nagai Stadium,” Nagai Athletics Field is home turf for the soccer team Cerezo Osaka. Additionally, the stadium contains a training center, a general sports information center, a restaurant, and other facilities. Nearby there’s also a second stadium (Yanmar Field Nagai) with a capacity of 15,000, where a number of international-class sporting events have been hosted.
2. Nagai Botanical Gardens
Located about a 10-minute walk from Nagai Stadium, these gardens occupy 24.2 hectares (59.8 acres) in the southeast corner of Nagai Park. Within you’ll find many species of flowers blooming all throughout the seasons. Mist pours from nozzles above the pictured tunnel of gourds, giving visitors a moment’s cool come summer. What’s more, there are also 1,000 or so species of trees planted here, drawing many different types of birds. Just next door is the Osaka Museum of Natural History, where visitors get in touch with nature and learn about the relationship between humans and plant life. The model of the dinosaur at the entrance and the replica mammoth leave a powerful impression.
9:30 – 16:30 (admission until 16:00)
Adults ¥200, free admission for 14 and under, 65 and over (65 and over for residents of Osaka City only)
- 6-minute walk from Showacho Station, Subway Midosuji Line
3. Teranishi-ke Abeno Nagaya (The Teranishi Family’s Abeno Townhouse)
A 5-minute walk from Showacho Station on the Subway Midosuji Line, the street in front of Teranishi-ke Abeno Nagaya is rich with the atmosphere of pre-WW II Japan. Two-story wooden structures built in 1933, these four tile-roof nagaya-style townhouses with irimoya-style hip-and-gables are the only ones in all of Japan registered as National Tangible Cultural Properties. Now hosting a gallery as well as various restaurants serving Japanese, Western, and Chinese cuisine, the townhouses still have a vital presence in the town. Enjoying a meal surrounded by an architectural style almost a century old is sure to evoke a sense of nostalgia and remembrance of things past.
4. Abeno Seimei Jinja
Walk 10 minutes from Teranishi-ke Abeno Nagaya to arrive to the shrine of Abe no Seimei, said to be the greatest onmyoji diviner in history. More widely known than ever thanks to the wildly popular Onmyoji franchise (a novel series that’s been adapted to film, TV, and comics), Abeseimei Jinja enshrines the spirit of Abe no Seimei and was also a birthplace to the practice of fortune-telling. Changing daily, the divination corner held on the premise has become a smash hit as well. There’s also a fountain that produces sacred drinking water, so be sure to have a drink.
5. Abeno Oji Jinja
Located about 50 meters south of Abeseimei Jinja Shrine, Abeoji Jinja Shrine is believed to bequeath blessings such as warding against bad luck, preservation of good health, and recovery from disease. In the shrine precincts are three camphor laurels designated as Protected Trees by Osaka Prefecture. Near the main structure is a “two-bow, two-clap, one-bow” illustration showing visitors how to pray before the shrine. Study the method shown and try it for yourself! After you’ve paid your respects and made your wish at the shrine hall, go take an o-mikuji fortune and test your luck. These fortunes are printed in English, too!
6. Hankai Tramway (Streetcars)
If you want to see Osaka as it really is, the Hankai Tramway is our recommendation to you. The city may have a reputation for hot-headed impatience, yet if you ride the tramway and look out to the unchanged scenery of an earlier era as the sway of the car rocks you gently back and forth, you’ll begin to feel a sense of peace and calm.
06-6674-5146 (General Affairs Division, Head Office)
Near Sumiyoshitorii-Mae Station
7. Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
After traveling the 16 minutes between Tennoji-ekimae Station and Sumiyoshi-toriimae Station, you’ll arrive to Sumiyoshi Taisha, grand shrine for the 2,300 Sumiyoshi shrines across the nation. This is the number one destination in Osaka for hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the New Year. The main shrine is divided into four halls, with the god Sokotsutsunoo-no-Mikoto worshipped at Ichihongu, the first hall. There are many Designated Cultural Properties on the shrine precincts, including Soribashi Bridge, 260 stone toro lanterns of various sizes, and the Sumiyoshi Jindaiki (Chronicles of the Gods of Sumiyoshi). Sumiyoshi Taisha has over 20 auxiliary shrines/undershrines and also hosts a variety of Shinto ceremonies, including the summer Nagoshi-sai festival. Take a stroll through the calming atmosphere of the shrine grounds, but don’t forget to stop by the main shrine and pay your respects as you learned at Abeoji Shrine. Sumiyoshi Taisha’s o-mamori talisman and koi-mikuji romance divinations are also a big hit with visitors!