Finding Korea in Japan: Exploring Osaka’s Ikuno Korea Town

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Japan and Korea, two East Asian countries that top our list of dream travel destination.

If you are an Anime fan, choosing Japan will take you less than a minute. Meanwhile for a Kpop fan, visiting Korea and splurging on tons of Kpop merchandise is one of your life goals.

But would you believe that it is possible to do both? You can visit Japan and satisfy your cravings on Kpop culture without spending on another plane ticket to Korea.

The solution to this dilemma is by going to Ikuno Korea Town, the hidden gem in Osaka. Tourist guidebooks will say that Namba Dendentown is known as Osaka’s Akihabara. True enough, you would find here all the things that are also available in “Akiba” as the locals call it.

Found in Denden Town are shops that range from maid cafes, anime shops, electronics store, cd/dvd stores, manga shops, game arcades and many more that you’ll be surprised to see. But we’ll be talking about Kpop here so let me tell you about Ikuno Korea Town.

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Located on the southeastern part of Osaka, you’ll find an area called “Ikuno Korea Town”. The small district near Tsuruhashi Subway Station is where a network of traditional shopping streets spans. Just a quick trivia from history; the residents of this area are mostly Korean descendants who migrated to Japan during the war.  

If you’ve been to Korea, you’ll agree with me that the area is very reminiscent of Gwangjang market and Myeongdong combined.

Near the subway station is an actual Japanese traditional market different from the touristy streets of Namba. The alleys look old and humble but you’ll be surprised once you start listening to your surroundings. Kpop music is everywhere!

In the area you’ll find; normal market stalls, traditional Korean side dishes stores, Korean restaurants, Kpop themed cafes, Kpop merchandise stores and Korean cosmetics shops.

Looking around will make you confused whether you are actually in Japan or you’ve already teleported to Korea.

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But what makes people go here is the amount of Kpop Merch that you can find on the Kpop stores that populate the area.

The shops here sell both official merchs and fan made merch of great quality. Look at the photos below and see what I mean.

Surely this place is a cheat for Kpop fans who also want to visit Japan. The area is very accessible and near Tennoji Area so it easily becomes a quick “shopping” venue. Just take note that shops here close a bit early, like 7pm early, so you might want to visit here during the day.

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