Tsuruhashi: Korean Town in Osaka

Loads of kimchi for sale at Tsuruhashi (鶴橋)

Loads of kimchi for sale at Tsuruhashi (鶴橋)

When I was researching for my trip to Japan, I googled for (of all things) good Korean restaurants as my friend who is working in Japan loves Korean food and I didn’t want to bore him with another Japanese meal. Boy was I surprised when google returned me sites of this place call Tsuruhashi (鶴橋) – Osaka’s ‘little Korean town’. According to Wiki, ethnic Koreans form the second largest ethnic group living in Japan and at Tsuruhashi, a large number of Zanichi (在日) Koreans live and set up businesses there. Zanichi Koreans are ethnic Koreans permanently residing in Japan and their roots can be traced back to the period of Japanese colonialism in Korea.

As I alighted from the train at JR Tsuruhashi Station, I was immediately overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the crowds congregating around the station area. Immediately next to the station were many dimly lit covered walkways where the crowds were heading. Not knowing my bearings, I did the thing which all travelers do when feeling lost – follow the crowds!

Signs of Seoul: Kpop!

Signs of Seoul: Kpop!

And just when I was wondering if I am at the right place, I saw BigBang. Lol 🙂

This place is a labyrinth of shops selling kimbap (Korean sushi rolls), bean stews, BBQ, tteopokki (spice rice cakes) and kimchi. I felt like I was teleported to Seoul!

Kimchi pancakes, stacks of 'em

Kimchi pancakes, stacks of ’em

More kimchi for sale

More kimchi for sale

Interestingly, there were also some shops selling clothes, fake designer goods (I never knew I will see such shops in Japan), and….. fish?!

A wet market selling fish and vegetables can also be found at Tsuruhashi

A wet market selling fish and vegetables can also be found at Tsuruhashi

The traditional Korean hanboks are so pretty! 🙂 I think these are wedding dresses as one of the mannequins was holding on to a bouquet of flowers.

Traditional Korean dresses (hanboks)

Traditional Korean dresses (hanboks)

If you are in Osaka with time to spare or looking out to visit somewhere different, I really recommend that you head to Tsuruhashi for an interesting experience. I enjoyed myself greatly when I was there, walking around in circles as I got lost in the maze of shops!

How to Get There

Tsuruhashi is located at Tsuruhashi Station (鶴橋駅) and can be accessed via the JR Osaka Loop Line, Osaka City Subway Sennichimae Line or Kintetsu Nara Line. After exiting the station, just turn left and walk into the maze of shops.

3 responses to “Tsuruhashi: Korean Town in Osaka

  1. Pingback: Bitterness | And this is LIFE·

  2. Hi!
    I’m going to Japan at the end if this year and your blog has really helped(: I was just wondering though, I’ve heard that in Japan there is no english words. So I was wondering, when you went, did you learn Japanese? Or did you only have basic Japanese? Or how?((:
    -Thank you!!((:

    • Hi, Amanda! Thanks for dropping by 🙂
      I know a little Japanese so it does help when English or sign language fails. Japan has gotten more tourist friendly these days and there are more people who speak English. You can also find signboards or restaurants with English menus in the major cities, so you could get around fine without knowing Japanese. Though I must say this is not the same if you are intending to explore rural areas!! (note: some really authentic eating joints only have pure Japanese menus plastered on the walls. So if you don’t know Japanese, you may want to avoid such places)
      Have fun in planning your trip and enjoy!! ^^

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