Hi, everyone! I’m Ayumi, your favorite otaku writer here on MANGA.TOKYO!
This time I went to visit OTA BASE on the 8th floor of the Shinsaibashi OPA in Osaka, where the lost otaku tourist can take refuge! It has so much to offer otaku from all over the world that I couldn’t let the opportunity slip. Are you wondering what it’s like?
Let’s check it out together!
What is OTA BASE?
OTA BASE (OTA BASE宅男基地) is a tourist information center where expert staff members with specialized knowledge in Japan’s sub-cultures are stationed to guide tourists with otaku information. It also offers a resting lounge designed especially for otaku, a mini gallery, an Animate space, kimono rental, a drugstore and more. It’s a really fun place full of services you wouldn’t imagine from conventional tourist information centers. They can also give you travel plan suggestions about seichi-junrei (anime pilgrimages), voice actor bus tours, or whatever else is available at the time!
You can access Shinsaibashi OPA directly from exit 7 of the Shinsaibashi subway station. I took the escalators to the 8th floor amid a whirl of shoppers and found the famous travel agent, H.I.S., in front of me. Is this really it…? It just looks like a general travel agency office at first glance.
Then I noticed the huge sticker on the floor! I guess I’m at the right place.
I was welcomed by the original characters, Takuo and Takuko.
Inside the lounge, they have maps with anime pilgrimages all around Japan!
This is about the Tottori prefecture- famous for Detective Conan: Case Closed, and GeGeGe no Kitaro
They also have a poster of the box-office hit, Kimi no na Wa!
If the otaku tourist wants to take an anime pilgrimage but she’s not not sure where to start, then this is the place to visit. They have a lot of tourist information about areas all over Japan that are considered holy places for anime fans.
Of course, they also offer normal tourist information, so the traveler can make her own perfect plan depending on her situation. OTA BASE also has free wi-fi so that tourists can connect to the internet with ease.
The resting lounge has a tatami corner with many different dakimakura (body pillows). Visitors can read the manga there for free!
This is so exciting. [laugh] I wish I could spend the night here.
There is also an all-you-can-drink corner with 6 different kinds of tea and coffee! Isn’t it too good to be true?
They also have a ‘solitude tent’ where you can spend time alone working on your computer inside an isolated space.
There is also a twin-tale pillow where you can put yourself in between the twin-tales while sleeping. Even though this is an information center, they certainly want tourists to be able to have a good rest there. It’s not so much a temporary shelter for tourists as it is a resting space. Travelers are encouraged to spend a whole hour resting there.
But OTA BASE isn’t just about resting! They have more surprising stuff to offer! One of them is the Free Kimono Experience.
This is a booth where visitors can wear different kinds of traditional Japanese clothes from kimono and yukata to hakama. The hakama are authentic pieces just like those worn by Japanese university students at their graduation ceremonies. The clothes come in various different patterns from traditional to modern.
They have all the accessories too. Their special staff can help pick the ones that suit an outfit best. Wouldn’t it be very expensive to rent all these? Generally in Kyoto and in most rental shops around Japan, kimono rental is quite expensive. The average price usually starts at 5,000 yen and higher. You could buy an anime Blu-ray for that price.
But check this out:
At first I thought I’d misread. 1,080 yen for 3 hours? 3,240 yen for a day (2700 yen for men)?
It’s extremely cheap, and yet their wardrobe isn’t some lame cheap one. Their collection is something I would love to wear myself, too.
It’s nice to have a 3-hour option as someone might not want to spend a whole day in kimono. The 3-hour option for 1,080 yen is only available inside the OPA building, but there are many places inside the shopping complex where people can take photos! With the one-day option for 3,240 yen, people can go out of the building in the rented kimono. That means visitors could wear the kimono to go sightseeing nearby, maybe at Osaka castle♡!
This is a resting space for the time-being, but until recently popular anime goods shop Animate used this space for displays. They are planning to host some events here in the future.
Their Kansai area map is fantastic.
They even have a free cosplay corner! They are planning to add more costumes soon!
Here is an Instagram-like photo spot. The stick in my hand set soff the shutter, so I could take pics by myself!
I could also print the photos . They sure know what otaku want. I’ll get one to take home.
They have a drug store, and a booth where you can try out some serums. Hand-massages are free of charge. They also offer free hair-dos on Mondays! What a luxury! It may be fun to experience some of the Japanese beauty culture scene.
They even have a currency exchange machine! It’s convenient to use when you find yourself lacking cash. They seem to offer every imaginable service at OTA BASE. It’s so nice for tourists…
Finally, ta-dah! Here is some original merchandise for the original characters, Takuo-kun and Takako-chan! This might be what peaks the interest of most visitors.
Their post cards are around 100 yen per card. Their merchandise is very reasonably priced, and make great souvenirs. These are exclusive to OTA BASE here in Shinsaibashi.
My recommendation is this OTA BASE special T-shirt.
The staff members wear one as their uniform. They come in various sizes and designs. This one especially screams ‘I’m a legit otaku’. By the way, ‘宅男/Takuo’ is a Chinese term to refer to otaku in Taiwan and Hong Kong. People in those areas might approach true otaku that wear this shirt.
A list of the related tours offered by OTA BASE:
・Cosplay Experience Tour
Experience cosplaying for a whole day. Make-up and costumes are provided! Be a favorite character and take lots of ‘purikura’!
・Voice Actor Bus tour
A famous voice actor accompanies the traveler on a bus tour! They can have meals and enjoy directly chatting with them.
・Sword Art Online tour
A special tour for SAO fans for four days and three nights. They will take fans to the production studio, a secret talk show, a movie screening with a special guest, cosplay experience, a collaboration cafe… Japanese SAO fans would be drooling too! A visit to the production studio?! Who is the special guest?! It sounds like an exciting tour for fans! Participants can also enter a lottery to get a portrait of themselves drawn in the SAO style.
Check out the official site here if you’re interested: http://www.his-j.com/japan-tourist/sao/index.html
OTA BASE has a lot of exciting tour plans. They are really enthusiastic about collaborating with various different anime series in the future too. I’m hoping for more plans!
OTA BASE is a great source of information for otaku tourists. If I were a tourist in Japan, I would appreciate it tonnes!
Here is a message from one of the staff members who is from Taiwan and loves Naruto and Attack on Titan!
Hi, everyone! We at OTA BASE have various plans and projects prepared for anime fans from all over the world. If you want to go on an anime pilgrimage in Japan, but don’t know where to go to, or if you want to go somewhere exciting and fun, then just feel free to stop by and talk to us. We can suggest various plans from simple one-day tours to full-on tours depending on your traveling style and tastes. I myself really love Japan and that’s why I started working here. [laugh] If you ever have a chance to come to Osaka, please come and visit!
Otaku (Tourist) Power!
I had a wonderful day here. The staff was so nice and kind and they guided me through all OTA BASE has to offer. There are many tourist information centers all over Japan, but OTA BASE in Osaka is the only spot that specializes in anime, manga, and other otaku things!! If you are travelin to Japan, perhaps here you will find a rare tour or an event that even Japanese otaku don’t know about!
OPA also has a Namco chara-pop store and an Animega on other floors. A branch of the famous otaku shop, Mandarake, is also nearby. The otaku area Nipponbashi is also a short walk from the building! It is a very convenient location for otaku activities. You can visit this place first to plan your trip and then enjoy some otaku activities in the neighborhood! Please visit them if you have the chance to come to Osaka! You won’t regret it♪
Official website: http://otabase.jp/
Address: 8th Floor Shinsaibashi OPA ,
1-4-3 Nishi Shinsaibashi , Chuo-ku , Osaka City , Osaka 542-0086