Shinsekai, which means the New World in English, is a district located in Osaka. This was an area that was developed before the war and for decades after the war ended it was neglected. There is a famous landmark that you can see from the district’s centre known as the Tsutenkaku Tower.
The Tsutenkaku Tower, is a 100 meter steel tower which has become a symbol of progress and innovation. It was originally built in 1912 and was designed to resemble the Paris Eiffel Tower at the top and the bottom was designed to resemble the Arc de Triomphe. At the time it was built it was the second biggest structure in Asia. And at the time people were able to ride cable car rides on an aerial ropeway from the Luna Park fairground to the Tsutenkaku Tower. The first tower that was built was badly damaged by a fire in 1943 and then shorty after it was disassembled. In the post war years, people wanted for a new tower to be built to replace the one that was destroyed and therefore in 1956 they started building the current tower.
At the heart of the Shinsekai was the Luna Park amusement park which was modelled after the Luna Park in Coney Island of New York. There were mechanical rides, arcades, a music hall, and hot spring spa in it. However, this amusement park only lasted for about 11 years. Although the Luna Park does not exist today, the area still has an atmosphere of a run-down carnival.
In Shinsekai there is an area called the JanJan Yokocho which has shoppong arcades that runs between Spa World in the south and the main Shinsekai area. There are lots of bargain clothing stores, souvenir shops, eateries and pinball parlours along this street. The most popular thing to eat in this area is the Kushikatsu which is deep fried skewers of meat and vegetables.
When you walk around Shinsekai you’ll come across statues of Billiken. This is the local mascot which was originally a good luck charm created by an American. Around the base of the statue you’ll see the words “God of Things as They Ought to Be.” The very first Billiken statue was places in the Luna Park as an American decorative piece, however, it mysteriously went missing after the park closed in 1923. However, since then a new one has been made and it has placed at the Tsutenkaku Tower since 1979. This Billiken has become an enblem of Shinsekai and it is believed that if you rub the feet of the statue at the Tsutenkaku observation deck it will bring you good luck. You can even get yourself a mini Billiken souvenir at the Billiken souvenir shops located in Janjan Yokocho.
Shinsekai and Tsutenkaku tower are both very easy to access. They are both located to the west of the Tennoji Park and Tennoji Zoo. The closest stations from Shinsekai are Shin-Imamiya station which is a four minute walk away or the Dobutsuen-mae station which is a two minute walk from the area.