When JR Osaka Station City first opened, it was a good three months ahead of schedule. At that inaugural time, almost a year ago in May, I couldn’t possibly have recommended anyone go to look at the place, it was so crowded in those early days. It was like a human vacuum, a giant void causing other areas in Umeda such as Chayamachi and Garden City to become comparatively serene. This serenity has to a degree made other areas in Kita Ward in turn try harder to get people’s attention. Massive amounts of investment have taken place throughout all of the Umeda area, and never has the city of Osaka looked so good.
Chayamachi has been completely transformed with new streets, shopping malls, boutiques, new sidewalks, cafes and even a giant 7-story glass bookstore. Within the next year or so the next phase of the Umeda-JR city development will near completion providing for more retail and office space and more reasons to go to Umeda. Three more buildings located between JR Station City, Yodobashi Camera and the Umeda Sky Building are well on their way to completion and will go a long way to further transforming the entire area and the city of Osaka as a whole. There are more human vacuums in the making.
Pretty soon there will be so many places to shop, have coffee, eat and hang out in Umeda that you’ll not be able to visit them all in a year. More and more people will flock to Kita Ward, yet the perception of the increased crowds should be muted thanks to the several hunderd floors of newly added space and the hundreds of corridors already present. Another mitigation to the crowds is a plan for one or two giant city parks in the Sonezaki and JR freight areas. These are currently in the discussion phase only and probably would not materialize for at least another five years.
Osaka will become a world-class city in due course, and for those who like to shop, it will certainly become a dream!
Martin Werner Zander, Smith’s Partner
Owner, Smith’s School in Kotoen