Yay! It's Itohen, a central hub for small, but great things in Osaka.
If you check out there website (here), the first thing you notice is that it's not just Itohen, a cafe, bookstore and gallery space; at the back there's a cosy office, where the 3 staff members run Skky Design in their available time. It's even more than all this though. There's workshops, live events, parties, and most importantly, a network of creative people.
The place was originally founded about 5 years ago by Mr. Ajisaka, a teacher at a technical college in Osaka. At the entrance there's a message stenciled in gold letters which sums up one of the aims of Itohen: "Think Local". Right now, it's an important stance to take; I AGREE! (You can think local too, by sending me an email and telling me what's creative in Kansai.)
Not just a cafe: as a customer, you sit amongst the books and works and soak up the atmosphere. Not just a bookstore: Itohen is stocked with self published material, and books that are hard to come by, with both an international and local selection. Not just a gallery: If you visit Itohen on the weekends, the artists are there, and will answer your questions and tell you why they've done their stuff. They're all local too, trying to make a go of it. Not just a shop: Itohen runs all kinds of workshops! There's Japanese sweets • 和菓子 making classes, flower arrangement and udon making classes as well.
Right! So if you haven't been to Itohen, you're missing out. I suggest you get your bottom into gear and head there right now. It's a 15min walk from the Umeda area or a 7min walk from Nakazakicho Station on the Tanimachi Line.
Itohen | Skky