Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library

With the aid of photos, explore the grandeur of Nakanoshima Library, one of the finest examples of modern architecture from the Meiji era.

Housing a cornucopia of knowledge


Crossing the threshold into this building is like stepping back into the classical antiquity. Completed in 1904, Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library is celebrated as a fine example of neoclassical architecture in the Greco-Roman temple style. Massive Corinthian columns and an architrave support a triangular pediment featuring an acanthus motif. This noble building is the fruit of an architectural tradition reaching back to Ancient Greece. The design of the library is reminiscent of a temple treasury. With its extensive holdings, the library has long been a source of pride to the people of Osaka. Over a century since the building’s completion, appreciation of its architectural value continues to grow with the passage of time.

Magnificent space notable for curvilinear conception and use of natural light

The bronze dome with its soaring curvilinear design symbolizes Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library. The dome’s atrium features an impressive imperial staircase. The dome has an oculus, a circular opening at the top, allowing the entry of natural light through the stained glass. Abundant use of high-quality timber endows the neoclassicism with an esthetic flourish quintessentially Japanese. On the third floor, a walkway partially circles the dome and the coffering on the dome’s ceiling is decorated with festoons. This masterful interplay of space and structure is enchanting.


Immersed in the world of books with the scent of history

According to Aristotle, “All men by nature desire knowledge.” Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library undoubtedly provides evidence in support of the philosopher’s observation: the number of users continues to rise and the library has been increasing the capacity of its reading rooms. Despite refurbishment of the library over the years, the Memorial Room on the third floor of the main building still features furniture and furnishings from the Meiji and Taisho eras, taking one back in time. The fanlight, a classically proportioned semicircular window, is most impressive. It was in this room that the notables of Osaka perused books and sometimes entertained distinguished guests from overseas. As one peers upward through the fanlight, a slight distortion of the outside world is apparent, prompting the thought that this building is not of the present era but steeped in history.


Architectural data

Completed in 1904 (Construction of the wings of the main building and extension of a book depository in 1922)
Magoichi Noguchi, Yutaka Hidaka
Temporary Architecture Department at Sumitomo Head Office
Total site area
1,344 tsubo
Total floor area of the main building
1,165.34 tsubo
1-2-10 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka City
Designation as an important cultural property
The main building and the wings were designated as national important cultural properties in 1974.


Address: 1-2-10 Nakanoshima, Kita-ku, Osaka City


Opening hours
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Closed days
Sundays, national holidays, the second Thursdays in March, June, and October, Year-end and New Year holidays