This almost went in as a "warning" tip, but I think seeing things like this are essential if you want to get a good sense of a foreign country. On Sundays there is a flea market west of the pedestrian overpass by Tennoji Station called the "Thieves' Market." They will have a lot of strange things for sale: replica pistols, toys, Japanese pornography (some very niche fetishes--definitely don't take your children--the packaging can be very graphic), all sorts of odds and ends. I recommend seeing it if you want to see the other end of the spectrum from department stores like Takashimaya, but never saw anything there I actually wanted to buy. The vendors there are from the lower end of the class structure in Japan, including some of the homeless. You should also consult my "warnings" tip about the bridge nearby (it smells).
In a dense population such as Japan, most available space in urban centres is used for something, and shopping is usually the filler - between buildings, there's often market stalls or ground-floor shops which spread out into the sidewalk spaces.
Many of these arcades are covered from the elements, which gives both a break from the sun when you've had a tiring day touring, but also makes you feel like you're underground all the time.
Pictured is the entrance to such an arcade.
The Shinsaibashi district stretches north-south from Nagahori-dori street to Dotonbori Horikawa, with many long-established shops and department stores. This district is represented by the arcaded Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping Street.
This underground street holds the Atrium Space into which the sunlight shines through the ceiling to the floor of the street. People can enjoy playing music by touching the big relief of a musical instrument. The shopping street features the European style. This shopping zone is conveniently located with easy access to the terminal of JR, Hankyu Railway, Hanshin Railway and Subway.
I wonder if they have Saturday Night Live here in Japan...
Has John Belushi's 'Samurai' character come back?