Korea-Town in Tsuruhashi, Osaka
Recently, I visited Osaka again to check-out its Korea-Town located in Tsuruhashi. Many of the shops in this area are run by Japanese-Koreans, known as Zainichi, or recent immigrants to Osaka. Tens of thousands of Koreans were brought to Japan as a form of cheap labor during Japan’s occupation of the peninsular. While many Koreans are third generation, the term Zainichi means ‘staying in Japan,’ suggesting a status in the country that is far from permanent. Despite these derogatory Japanese terms creating an uneasy relationship with the state, Tsuruhashi manages to provide a distinct feeling of being in Korea while catering to mostly Japanese customers. In Tsuruhashi’s Korea-Town, there is a wide range of Korean street food, and one can find every imaginable way for the use of kimchi. While walking along the main Korea-Town street, I came across Hiro’s Guest House, a recently opened modern youth hostel of sort. Run by Hiro, an English speaking Japanese-Korean, his Guest House offers an open cafe-kitchen to the public allowing food in from the market with an admission of 350 Yen, which includes self-service to a variety of teas, juices and coffee. This place is a welcoming international place to rest with internet access and several cheap sleeping options from bunk-bedding with others to futon rooms, I recommend a stay here if you’re ever in Osaka!