District in south central Osaka
: its name is a kanji bastardization
, the area's classical name. It grew around the terminii
of the Nankai Railway
as a connection point for commuters living to the south and east of the city.
The defining feature of Namba from afar is the Nankai Hotel, a skyscraper that sticks out of the middle of the city like a sore thumb. Below the hotel is the Osaka City Air Terminal, where buses and JR trains leave for Kansai International Airport, and Namba City, a gargantuan shopping mall that housed the Hard Rock Cafe until 2001.
The most famous part of Namba, however, is Namba Bridge spanning the Dotombori canal. The bridge is probably the most-used image of Osaka: the buildings around it are coated in neon lighting and reflect off the water of the canal to create a truly surreal, Blade Runner-like picture. (Some American films, such as Black Rain and New Rose Hotel, capitalized on this imagery... and yes, this is where the famous Glico Man is located.)