2016/06/01 What's On
In 2013, the city of Osaka was the second-most expensive city in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. In 2016, Osaka is no longer in the top ten, but some residents still might find things too expensive, for example movie tickets or rent. Here is a list of the cheapest wards in Osaka for those searching for value (average rent and average space in square meters).
7. Higashi-Sumiyoshi-ku (58300 yen / 37.32 sqm)
This ward is known for Nagai Park, a large park with many sports facilities and is comparable in size to Osaka Castle Park. It is a popular venue for special events like food festivals, electronic music concerts, and cherry-blossom viewing parties. Not far from Nagai Park is a long shopping arcade beginning at Harinakano Station and tapering near Komagawa-nakano Station. Access to Higashi-Sumiyoshi-ku is through the Tanimachi line, the Kintestsu-minami line, and the Yamatoji line, but the majority of residents likely use the first two due to the last one’s distant location from the rest of the ward. Except for living near the Yamatoji line, it can be inconvenient for those who frequently go to Namba, Shinsaibashi, or Honmachi because of transferring train or subway lines.
6. Minato-ku (56800 yen / 31.33 sqm)
Minato-ku literally means ‘harbor ward’. It is the location of several tourist traps like the aquarium and Temptation Harbor Village. Due to its location a few stations away from Namba or Umeda, it could be a convenient place to live.
5. Asahi-ku (53700 yen / 32.89 sqm)
Located in north-eastern Osaka, Asahi-ku might have some connection with the Asahi brewing company since the company was founded in Osaka. Asahi’s brewing plant happens to be located in a city just north of Osaka called Suita City.
4. Hirano-ku (52100 yen / 39.2 sqm)
While Hirano-ku is number four on this list, it is number one on two other lists: cheapest per square meter, and population size. For pack-rats who need to spread out, or parents with a growing family, Hirano-ku could be a good value proposition. Of course value would be weighed against a skyline of faded high-rise apartment buildings, noise, and all the other problems that come with living in a high-density neighborhood. Northern Hirano is conveniently served by the Yamatoji train line (Just two stations away from Tennoji Station), while southern Hirano is served by the serpentine Tanimachi subway line.
3. Ikuno-ku (51100 yen / 31.81 sqm)
Ikuno ward is known for its large Korean population, many of whom are second or third generation Korean descendants. The area’s Korean heritage is reflected in the many Korean barbecue restaurants, especially the ones clustered around Tsuruhashi Station. Access is convenient for those living near subway and railway stations (just 10-15 minutes to Namba from Tsuruhashi station), but may not be so convenient for other residents since no train or subway lines pass through the center of the ward (it can take up to 20 minutes to the closest station on foot from some places).
2. Higashi-Yodogawa-ku (49900 yen / 29.94 sqm)
Like Asahi-ku, Higashi-Yodogawa is located in north-eastern Osaka. It can be convenient for those who like to travel to Kyoto but need to be home by supper. It’s also the second-most populated ward in Osaka.
1. Nishinari-ku (48300 yen / 28.06 sqm)
This poor area has a large community of day-laborers and homeless people, so unsurprisingly it has the cheapest rent in Osaka City. However, Nishinari-ku is not the cheapest ward by square meter (that honor goes to Hirano-ku). This might be because the population of mostly single men living in Nishinari-ku may not care for the extra space. The area is also known for crime, but that does not deter some budget-conscious tourists since it is statistically as safe as neighborhoods in many other countries. Nishinari-ku is accessible by many subway and train lines making it convenient for travelers to arrive directly from the airport without transferring (via the Nankai Main Line), or for them to go to nearby shopping districts in Shinsaibashi, Namba, and Tennoji (just minutes via the Midosuji subway line). Because of its accessible location and its proximity to the wealthier Tennoji ward, it is a wonder why it has not been gentrified yet.