Last Updated on July 11, 2020 by Tom Shu
There are so many places to check out in Osaka and so much good food to eat. Unless you’re some sort of superhuman planner, you’re probably not going to have enough time to see everything on your list.
After visiting Hirakata T-Site earlier this year for the first time, I can confidently say that it is a must-visit when you’re in Osaka! Hirakata T-site is best known for its huge wall of books (which is why we ended up going there), but it’s so much more.
Inside, you’ll find restaurants, an art gallery, a children’s book section, a crazy selection of DVDs and vinyl records, a wonderfully curated collection of stationery and gifts, and a Starbucks with some of the best spots to chill with your coffee that I have seen.
It’s no wonder that many Osakans come here for the entire day to hang out, catch up on work, or just to relax.
In today’s short post, I’m going to go over how to get there, what you’ll see inside, and the 5 reasons why you have to go!
How to Get There
With that said, it is located outside of central Osaka and outside the area that the Osaka Loop Line covers, so you will most likely have to transfer trains to get to T-Site depending on where you are.
I remember using Google Maps to figure out how to get here from Osaka Station and it was kind of confusing with all of the different route choices.
If you’re not familiar with Osaka’s public transit system (like I was) the one big thing to remember when you go to T-Site is Hirakatashi Station is on the Keihan Main Line.
So, from most places in Osaka, you will have to figure out a way to get to one of Keihan Main Line’s train stations to transfer to Hirakatashi Station. If you’re already on the Keihan line, then consider yourself lucky as you won’t have to deal with a transfer!
The train stations in Osaka on the Keihan Main Line are:
- Yodoyabashi Station
- Temmabashi Station
- Kyobashi Station
- Kadomashi Station
- Hirakatashi Station
Of course, if you’re already close enough to Hirakatashi Station, it might be faster to get there by bus too.
Transportation Tip: If you’re planning on going to Kyoto, you can save time by stopping by Hirakata T-Site on the way from Osaka to Kyoto because it’s on the way. The Keihan Main Line is one of the cheapest most convenient transportation routes to take from Osaka to Kyoto.
Here is an example of how to get to Hirakata T-Site from Osaka Station since this is the route I took. In total it took about 1 hour to get from Osaka Station to Hirakata T-Site
- Once you’re at Osaka Station, make your way to the entrance of the Osaka Loop Line and purchase tickets to Kyobashi Station
- Train Tip: I can’t 100% remember if this is possible, but keep a lookout for a connection ticket to Hirakatashi via Kyobashi Station. If it is possible, then you can use the same ticket once you get off at Kyobashi Station.
- If this is not possible, once you get off at Kyobashi Station, make your way to the Keihan Main Line and purchase tickets for Hirakatashi Station.
- Once you get to Hirakatashi Station, head to the south exit and you’ll see Hirakata T-Site. It’s a 3-minute walk from the station!
What You’ll Find in Hirakata T-Site
When I was researching whether or not to make the trip out, it was surprisingly hard to find any good information online about what you can do inside Hirakata T-Site.
It didn’t bother me, but since it takes about 1 hour to get there, I thought it would make sense if you knew what you would find inside before going.
In total there are 8 floors, but 2 of the floors are banks and 2 of the floors are restaurants, so that leaves 4 floors for you to explore and 2 floors to find a place to eat if you’re hungry.
On the first floor, you’ll find a few trendy but casual places to eat, a Japanese sweets shop specializing in sweets from Kyoto, a small camera shop with a nice selection of instant cameras, a Starbucks, and even a flower shop!
Surprisingly, the most popular shop on this floor was the Taiwanese Bubble Tea store.
I just spent about 9 months in Taiwan, so I thought it was pretty funny since Taiwan runs on bubble tea and it’s everywhere!
The bubble tea from this store did look pretty good, though, so if you want to satisfy your bubble tea craving while you’re at T-Site, this is the place to go.
My favorite part about this floor, though, was the fluffy pancake restaurant. We ended up grabbing lunch here after exploring and taking photos, but more on our experience later in this post!
The main thing you’ll find on this floor is the Tsutaya shop which has an insane amount of DVDs, CDs, and vinyl records that you can browse through.
If you have never heard of Tsutaya, it’s one of the biggest video and book chains in Japan.
I never thought I would say seeing DVDs, CDs, and Vinyl records would be refreshing, but since most media is digital now, it was a nice change of pace to see this collection.
Just like reading a physical book instead of reading its Kindle version, there is nothing like picking up a DVD or CD and reading the back label to see what the movie and CD are all about.
I grew up in the 90s and can still vividly remember going into Blockbuster to rent movies, so this Tsutaya store brought back some memories.
If you have never heard of Blockbuster and are from the US, then I don’t even know what to say to you 🙂
This is where you will find Ashiya Bookstore, which is the main book store in Hirakata T-Site.
The cool thing is that the bookstore takes up the entire floor so it feels like you’re wandering through endless hallways of books when you explore this floor.
You will also find a large nicely curated selection of stationery items like pens and notebooks from around the world on this floor.
Floor 3 is also where you’ll find the Starbucks I was talking about earlier with by far the best selection of tables and chairs that I have seen in any Starbucks I have visited.
As I was passing this area, I kept thinking how perfect of a spot this would be on a rainy day.
On this floor, you’ll find a collection of unique clothing and beauty shops.
The cool part is that they even have a dedicated space on this floor for pop up shops. On the day I went, they had a Hunter Boots pop up, which was only in the space for a few days before the next brand would come in.
I didn’t spend too much time on the 4th floor, but if I was shopping for good quality, made in Japan items that I could only find in Japan, I would have for sure spent a few hours on this floor.
The 5th floor is where you’ll find the Instafamous wall of books! I spent the most time on this floor with Tom taking photos, relaxing, reading, and drinking some coffee.
Out of all the floors in this building, this was my favorite floor by far. It’s not just because the wall of books is on this floor, but also because they have designed the space so well.
It’s bright, open, airy, clean, and at the same time warm and welcoming. It was the perfect place to sit down and get lost in your favorite book.
The one thing to keep in mind if you want to take photos in front of the wall of books is that it is split into two different areas.
If you look at the map, I believe one of the areas is in front of the numbers 44 and 45 and the other area is in front of 46 and 47. I’m not 100% sure so you’ll have to look for yourself.
Anyways, when I went, you could only take photos in one of the areas because the other one had a few pop up shots in the space.
I believe the pop-up schedule rotates, so maybe you’ll have both areas to take photos in when you go.
Other than the book wall, you will also find many other things to do on this floor like a children’s book section, a juice bar, and a few more clothing shops.
Pro Tip: You don’t need to make any purchase to sit in the sofas and chairs in the book wall area. Keep in mind that they are first come first serve with no time limit, so it might be hard to find a spot during the busy times of the day.
Mitsubishi UFG Bank is on this floor. I didn’t spend any time on this floor, but if you needed to withdraw money while you’re here, this might be a good place to go.
Hours of Operation
- Service Window on Business Days: 9:00am – 3:00pm
- 6th Floor ATM: 8:45am – 7:00pm
- 1st Floor and 3rd Floor ATM: 7:00am – 11:00pm
Resona Bank is on this floor. Again, I had no reason to spend any time on this floor, but if you need to withdraw money while you’re here or talk to someone from a bank, this is another choice.
Hours of Operation
- Service Window: 9:00am – 7:00pm
- 7th Floor ATM: 9:00am – 7:00pm
- 1st Floor and 3rd Floor ATM: 7:00am – 11:00pm
You will find 4 higher-end sit down restaurants on this floor. I didn’t spend anytime here as I chose to eat on Floor 1, but it looked like all 4 restaurants were pretty busy.
Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit!
1.) The Fluffy Jiggly Pancakes at gram on the 1st Floor
What else can be better than eating a freshly made stack of 3 fluffy jiggly premium Japanese pancakes after working up an appetite exploring the building!
This was my first time ever eating the fluffy Japanese pancakes and I had wanted to try them for a LONG time before coming here.
So, if you’ve already eaten fluffy pancakes before or if pancakes aren’t your thing, then maybe this isn’t a good reason to come.
For me, though, this made the trip even more worthwhile. I mean look at these pancakes!
Pancake Tip: Every day at 11:00 am, 3:00 pm, and 6:00 pm gram provides a limited 20 orders of their premium fluffy pancakes. This means if you want to try their premium pancakes, make sure to check in with them as soon as you get here to see if they are still available.
2.) The Epic Book Wall
If you’re into taking photos and if you’re especially into taking photos for Instagram, you have to come here.
After having traveled all around Osaka, I can now say that the book wall inside Hirakata T-Site is one of the more unique places to take photos.
The wall of books looks endless in the frame of your photo and by having your subject stand in front of the wall for a photo, you can get an awesome sense of scale.
The best part is that there is floor to ceiling windows next to the book wall, so during the day, natural light flows into the room bathing everything it touches in a soft glow.
If you’re not into taking photos, no need to worry either.
Both areas where you will find the wall of books are fun places to hang out and chill. On one side, you’ll find a cool selection of pop up shops with uniquely made in Japan items, and on the other side, there are chairs and sofas with a coffee shop right beside it.
Plus, as I was saying earlier, you don’t need to buy a drink to use the chairs and sofas, so just make sure to get there early to claim your spot and you can stay there as long as you want!
Are you starting to see why it’s such a good spot for photos yet?
3.) The Crazy Selection of Stationary and Gifts
Crazy amount of stationery and gifts might be an understatement! When I was walking around exploring, it seemed like there was a new selection of stationery and gifts around every corner I turned.
The best part about the selection is that they have done a wonderful job curating it with items from around the world.
At one point, I was leaning towards buying a hand-printed poster of Japan that highlighted different foods in the country.
But then I stumbled upon some very nicely designed pens made in Germany, so I thought I was going to get that instead.
Finally, I found a pufferfish paper lantern, and since it was on sale that was all the motivation I needed to pick this item up!
I hope this gives you an idea of just how big the selection of items you’ll find in this place 🙂
4.) The Atmosphere
Hirakata T-Site does have a special atmosphere that’s hard to describe without being there in person.
It’s a unique mix of a chill laid back vibe in combination with the hustle and bustle that you can feel at any popular coffee shop throughout the world.
The whole time I was there, I kept thinking how perfect of a place this would be to spend a whole day in.
I could work from the 3rd floor Starbucks in the morning, grab some fluffy pancakes for lunch on the 1st floor, work some more, and then end the day relaxing with a good book taken from the book wall on the 5th floor.
That would be a good day!
5.) It’s Not a Tourist Destination…Yet
Maybe it was the day that I went, but I did not see many foreign tourists at Hirakata T-Site. It looked like most people that were there were either from Osaka or from another part of Japan.
I guess it makes sense, though, considering how it’s a little further away and there are no other tourist destinations in the area.
I was pretty surprised by the lack of tourists considering how cool of a place it is and how many tourists I saw at all the other destinations in Osaka
You better get here quick, though, because I can’t imagine it being like this much longer considering how many pictures of the wall of books I have seen on Instagram.
Hirakata T-Site is one of the coolest destinations you can go to in Osaka, even for non-book lovers.
Yes, it’s a little bit out of the way and takes longer to get there than other destinations in Osaka, but you can easily spend a whole day here once you make it there.
Plus, I still consider it a hidden tourist spot since not too many tourists are visiting yet, so if you want to escape the crowds, there is no better place to go.
What did you think of this place?