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71205-0005 - Panoramic View on Osaka

Osaka 1880s
View on Tennoji

Artist Unknown
Publisher Unknown
Medium Albumen Print
Period Meiji
Location Osaka
Image No. 71205-0005
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An extremely rare panoramic view of the area around Shitennoji temple in Osaka. The five-storied pagoda of Shitennoji can be seen on the far left. It is interesting to notice how it functioned as an important landmark.

These days Shitennoji temple is virtually invisible because of the surrounding high-rises. Difficult to imagine, but the rural area in the front is now the electronic and pop culture center Den Den Town in Nipponbashi.

1893 Map of Osaka
1893 (Meiji 26) Map of Osaka: 1. Namba Station; 2. Ebisubashi bridge; 3. Chobokaku tower; 4. Nipponbashi bridge; 5. Ikutama Jinja shrine (生国魂神社); 6. Shitennoji temple.

The area was a way-station (Shukuba) and was known as Nagamachi (長町) during the Edo Period (1603-1886). It was later renamed Nipponbashi after the nearby bridge over the Dotonbori canal.

During the early 20th century, second-hand bookshops started to establish themselves in the area. After the end of World War II, consumer electronics stores were concentrated here and the area became known as Den Den Town (Electronics Town).

From the late 1990’s, many stores selling manga, anime and figures started to replace the electronics stores, and the area became a pop culture center, similar to Tokyo’s Akihabara.

210124-0002-OS - Chobokaku Tower, Osaka
Chobokaku (眺望閣), a five-storied tower in Osaka’s Minami disctrict.

In view of the height of the photographer’s vantage point, this photo was almost certainly taken from Chobokaku (眺望閣), a five-storied tower in Osaka’s Minami disctrict. The tower was popularly known as Minami no Gokai (南の五階), Gokai meaning “five floors”, and had an observation platform on the top floor that gave a spectacular view of Osaka.

Designed to look like Mt. Fuji, the wooden tower was completed in July 1888 (Meiji 21).

During 1888 (Meiji 21) and 1889 (Meiji 22), Chobokaku was one of the most popular leisure destinations in Osaka. It would help to inspire the construction of a more ambitious tower, Tsutenkaku, in Shinsekai, and made Namba the central attraction of the Minami district.1

Illustration of Chobokaku tower, 1893
The Chobokaku tower (top left) as one of Osaka's main tourist attractions on a 1893 (Meiji 26) map of Osaka.

After the Chobokaku tower was torn down around 1904 (Meiji 37), the name lived on in the same area as the name of a shopping center called Gokai Hyakaten (五階百貨店, literally “5 storied department store”). In spite of the name, the building only has three floors…

Gokai Hyakaten at the approximate former location of Chobokaku tower. Kansai explorer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

see current map


1 昔の大阪. 大阪の遊び場. Retrieved on 2008-5-16.


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Reference for Citations

Duits, Kjeld (). Osaka 1880s: View on Tennoji, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on October 1, 2022 (GMT) from

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