Here’s one of the most baffling and amazing aspect of modern Japan that I have encountered so far. As you walk and glance around the city, the surface looks pretty unassuming. Take a look at the photo above. Office buildings, some restaurants, some entertainment establishments, heavy traffic, and void of pedestrians. Nothing out of the ordinary. Until you walk underground…
I don’t know exactly how many kilometers it spans, but there are countless entrances to Umeda’s underground. It’s like those RPG games where you can enter some underground dungeon through several cave entrances from the surface. When I first visited Osaka, I thought the stairs just lead to the subway but there is actually so much more. Those city streets that I’ve crossed oh so many times… who knew I was practically walking on top of an underground city?
Walk down any of the stairs around the city and this is the kind of place you will end up at. A whole underground mall that spans for who knows how long, lined with restaurants, supermarkets, shops, bakeries, and an endless flow of people. There are also plenty of signs directing you to the various train and subway stations so you get a good sense of where you are.
I’m just walking in random directions without a single sense of where I’m going. The things I run into are just amazing. Who knew such scenery could be found underground in a city?
So many restaurants… When does it end?!
Too many things I want to try here… Too little time…
While underground, one can totally lose track of time until the stores start closing then you realize it’s night time.
This is just part of the Umeda area and I didn’t even get through every tunnel yet. There is more to explore! There are similar underground “malls” like this in Namba, Kobe and wherever there is a huge city and major train stations in Japan. I bet the key to navigating through the cities of Japan efficiently is knowing your way around these dungeons. I’d say if they start building schools, hospitals and apartments down there, one can potentially will never have to go to the surface again ^^;.