One of the more interesting museums to visit when you are in Osaka is the Housing and Living Museum, which is located inside a building, and on the eighth and ninth floor.
This interesting museum not only lets you glimpse at the cultural aspect of Osaka in the Edo period, but it takes you on an actual journey though the streets of old Osaka from the 1800’s. Yes, an entire Edo period town was constructed inside a building.
And overview of the Edo town at the museum. Photo by David Jr.
If this does not fascinate you, then you may just be one of the typical tourist who wants to visit Osaka, just to take photos of popular places like Dotonburi, Shinsaibashi and visit Universal Studios Japan. However, there is one unique feature here that will probably change your minds about visiting this museum.
It is no other than the kimono rental and experience at the Osaka Housing and Living Museum, where you will get an almost true experience of walking in a original Japanese Edo town in your kimono or yukata.
Visitors renting out the kimono at the museum. Photo by David Jr.
Kimono Rentals in an Actual Edo Period Town
Yes, the magic word is Kimono rentals, which 90% of Malaysian or even Southeast Asian travelers have on top of their Japan travel itinerary. Without fail, most visitors to Japan from this region will at some point rent a kimono and yukata to take photos or walk around for the experience.
At the Osaka Housing and Living Museum, there is a section where you can rent kimono’s or yukata’s for men, women and even children. Why this is so successful here? Because after wearing the traditional Japanese attire, you can walk around an old Edo period town, making the experience as real as it can be.
Selection of Kimono and Yukata for rent. Photo by David Jr.
From what I was told by the staff of the museum, many Malaysians and Asians visit this museum for the kimono and yukata rental, and then parade around the old shops and homes, taking lots of photos.
When I visited some years ago, the rental was only ¥200 per person, and the place was packed with tourist and locals who came here for the cheap rental. Since 2016, they have increased the rental to ¥500 per person, which is still cheap.
An assistant will help you dress up in the kimono. Photo by David Jr.
Tip – The trick is to come here as early as possible, 10.00 AM when they open, and get your kimono rental, then walk around and take photos as there will be very little people around. Once after lunch, the place tends to get crowded, and chances are you will not be able to rent a kimono due to the 300 limitations a day.
Kimono Rental Information
- ¥500 Per Person
- Tickets are purchased from a small vending machine at the rental shop
- Registration: From 10:00 AM
- Limit: 300 visitors on a first-come, first-served basis
- You can wear a kimono only for 30 min. Please return it after 30 min
- Height restrictions Must be at least 110 cm (3 ‘7″)
- A kimono, bag and sandals are included in the rental
- Staff will assist you to dress up in the kimono
- Coin Lockers are provided to store your personal things
- Kimono’s are only allowed on the 9th floor of the museum
- Damaged Kimono/Yukata will be charged to renter
When you walk in the museum, this is the first sign you will see. Photo by David Jr.
There are also some restrictions in the museum for photography and they include tripods and selfie sticks, which are strictly not allowed inside the museum. For professional photographers, you need authorized permission and a letter.
If you sneak your selfie stocks or tripods in and use it, the staff will come running to inform you that you cannot use it, and take it away from you. You can then collect it on your way out. Please respect the museum policies when you are here.
A model of the old Naniwa town in the museum. Photo by David Jr.
What Else Is In This Museum?
While the main star is coming here to dress up in a kimono or yukata and to take photos, the overall concept of reconstructing a proper Edo period town is mind blowing. This is the only place in Osaka and Japan where you can actually walk through the town of Naniwa, which is the old name for Osaka.
While you are here, do not get a shock when the weather changes inside the museum. Yes, they even simulated the weather to create a day like atmosphere, a night time feel and even an approaching thunderstorm experience, without the rain of course.
At the main street of the old Edo town. Photo by David Jr.
When I walked around the museum, I was quite thrilled to see what a 200 year old Edo town was like. I spotted old homes, a traditional cosmetics shop, doll shop, fabric shops, medicine shops, town hall and even woodworking shops, which you are able to enter and see the insides of each of these buildings.
The entire Edo town is relatively large, and offers two rows of shops and homes. From the 9th floor, you can go up and get a birds eye view of this town, and yes, take photos too.
Inside the Japanese doll shop in the museum. Photo by David Jr
After you have spent time exploring Naniwa or old Osaka, and done with your kimono rental, you next head to the exhibition room. This is where you will see the transition of old to modern day Osaka, with a lot of information, photos and displays. Not to worry as there is English translations on each of the displays.
One of the features was an illuminated giant map of the entire Osaka customized on the floor of the exhibition area. You can walk on it to see the many places of Osaka.
The unique giant floor map of Osaka. Photo by David Jr.
Other displays include many miniatures created from the Edo period right until the second world war. They are intricately done and are quite fascinating to see. If you have your smart phone with you, make sure you have a QR Code reader as some of the displays require scanning for English translation.
Your final stop will be the museum gift shop, and you can find a bit of everything on Osaka here. There are many books, souvenirs and even popular Osaka snacks being sold at the museum gift shop. An English museum guide book is also available at ¥300, which is considered very reasonable.
The museum entrance on the 8th floor. Photo by David Jr.
Now, Where Is This Museum?
I assume the kimono rental and old Edo period town got your attention? Now you just need to know where is this museum. The Osaka Housing and Living Museum is located in the Kita district of north east in Osaka.
Getting here is relatively easy for anyone, as long as you are taking the subway or even walking here. Directions to get here are stated below.
The Tenjimbashisiji Station. Photo David Jr.
How to Get To The Osaka Housing and Living Museum?
Most travelers are self explorers when visiting Osaka hence you will need to know the directions to get here. The best way is always to take the subway here.
The museum is located right outside the Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station, where the Tanimachi and Sakaisuji Lines pass through. The Hankyu Railway service also stops here, therefore it is quite easy to get to this museum from anywhere in Osaka.
From Osaka Station City, it only takes you 15 minutes to reach here via the Tanimachi Line, which is a direct line to Tenjinbashisuji Station.
From the Nanba Station, you need to walk 800 meters to the Nippobbashi Station which will take you about 10 minutes walk. From Nipponbashi Station, take the Sakaisuji Line which is a 10 minute train ride to the Tenjinbashisuji Station.
For those who prefer to walk during the Autumn, Winter or Springs season, it will take you no longer than 30 minutes to get here from Osaka Station City, and from Nanba Station, it will take about one hour to walk here.
Osaka Housing and Living Museum
Address: 6-Chome 4-20, Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Japan
Hours: 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM
Entrance for Adults: ¥600
Entrance for Teenagers: ¥300
Entrance for Kids and Seniors above 65: Free
Website: Osaka Housing Living Museum Website
What Else Can You Do Around Here?
The lively Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street. Photo by Wikipedia.
Explore Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street
As most travelers always want activities to do, just after you visit this museum, you can head back down to the main street, turn left and visit the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street. This covered street is similar to those of Shinsaibashi, but a little more local and not so touristy.
There are a lot of regular Japanese shops selling all sorts of things, cafes, coffee joints and restaurants which are worth visiting. Most of the items here are much more cheaper than the main Dotonburi and Shinsaibashi area, and you can also find a lot of Japanese souvenirs here too.
I would recommend that you spend a good one to two hours exploring the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street to get a real feel of Osaka, versus going to the regular and touristy places. Who known what you may end up finding here?
Also, the Tenjinbashisuji Shopping Street is known as the longest shopping street in Japan, with a whopping 2.6 kilometers of shopping. How long do you think you need to spend here?
Japanese girls in rented kimonos. Photo by Commander, US 7th Fleet.
Alternative Kimono Rental Shop
If you visit the Osaka Museum and find that the place is too crowded or there are no more kimono or yukata rentals, you can exit this museum and head outside the main street. There is another kimono rental shop available called Bud Kimono Rental.
Bud Kimono Rental
Address: 13-15 Kaneichō, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 530-0031, Japan
Tel: +81 80-4484-5426 (Reservations)
Hours: 10.30 AM to 3.30 PM all week
Requires: Passport and Credit Card
Price: Around ¥1,000 and hour