The Kita-ku district (northern part) of Osaka City formed the ancient "water capital" that flourished as a commercial center utilizing waterways such as the Yodo and Dojima rivers. The district was also instrumental in the development of entertainment and culture. In fact, many of the Japanese traditional arts and world-famous performing arts originated in this area. It was also the locale in which the love suicide Bunraku (puppet theater) dramas written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon were set. To this day, the Toyosaki and Chayamachi regions still show historical traces along with a radically transformed urban environment through recent development projects. The Chayamachi region now houses a major TV broadcasting corporation's offices, a large theater, a shopping mall that is always crowded, and a street full of used booksellers many readers favor. The area's unique mix of elements makes it a symbol of the distinctive personality and dynamism that the new Osaka exhibits. The most conspicuous structure in the area is the Pias Tower with a height of 130 meters and 28 stories. Its emerald green glass curtain wall adds an impressive touch to the building. The Pias Tower is an ideal new landmark for the Kita-ku district.
To the south of the Pias Tower lies Chayamachi, a leading pleasure quarter in Osaka in ancient times, housing several famous pubs. The ancient road known in the past as Saigoku Kaido (where a stone monument for the Tsuruno-Chaya pub stands) served as a main route for people traveling from Kyoto to the western areas. The neighborhood of the Pias Tower is also home to the Tsunashiki-Tenjin Shrine. Tradition has it that the famous scholar and statesman Sugawara-no-Michizane (845 - 903) worshipped at this shrine during his travels when he was transferred to Dazaifu in Kyushu (southern Japan) from Kyoto, then the capital city.