Dotonbori Street (道頓堀) in Osaka, Japan
Dotonbori is located in Osaka, and it is well known as an energetic arcade full of shops and eateries. It's really bright at night because of all the neon lights, which makes it feel like the city never sleeps. There are so many stores and sights in Dotonbori Street that you won't want to miss!
Things to see and do in Dotonbori, Osaka
Dotonbori can be pretty overwhelming, especially when it's your first time visiting, because there is so much to see. There's no need to fear! Here's a quick guide to introduce you to some of the recommended places you don't want to miss while in Dotonbori!
1. Glico's Running Man Signboard, Osaka's Symbol
You've probably already seen pictures of this famous Dotonbori signboard; it is a billboard for Glico, a famous Japanese food company (ever tried Pocky?) People usually take photos on the bridge with Glico's signboard in the background. This is a must if it's your first time to Dotonbori!
2. Kuidaore Building
Have you ever seen this guy? He has rounded glasses and a colourful outfit. His name is 'Kuidaore Taro,' a drummer who was installed for advertisement purpose and is the symbol of Dotonbori, and even Osaka. Osaka is known as a city of "Kuidaore", meaning "ruin oneself by extravagance in food". Osaka is historically a city of merchants, and this has greatly impacted its food culture. We sure are grateful for that, because Osaka has some darn good food!
The drummer is located in front of the entrance to "Dotonbori ZAZA", a well-known venue for live comedy shows in Dotonbori.
Also inside are many shops where you can buy Osaka and Dotonbori souvenirs! There is a store called Glico-ya, which sells snacks produced by Glico (Pocky please!). If you are interested in trying a huge variety of Japanese snacks, definitely check it out! Japanese snacks and candies are probably some of the most-appreciated souvenirs, and this is a great place to stock up while you're in Dotonbori!
Another souvenir store worth stopping into is 'Ichibirian,' which sells a variety of local and quirky souvenirs! Even if you don't buy anything, it's fun just to browse through the collection of Osaka and Dotonbori-themed items. Can you find Osaka's symbol, the drummer boy?
3. Tonbori River Cruise: Awesome Sightseeing in Osaka
If you are walking down the street of Dotonbori, you will likely see a yellow boat cruising the river. Purchase a ticket(¥900 for adults and ¥400 for children), and you too can have a relaxing river cruise in the middle of Dotonbori! It's open from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm on weekdays and 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on weekends. This is a relaxing way to see a lot of Osaka's tourist spots all at once.
Daruma is a really famous Kushikatsu store in Osaka and Dotonbori! In case you didn't know, kushikatsu is one of the many signature foods of Osaka. Meat or vegetables are deep-fried on skewers and eaten with Kushikatsu sauce. An important rule to keep in mind when you are eating Kushikatsu is that you cannot dip Kushikatsu into the sauce more than once! This is because the sauce is not single-use; it will be used by the next person to sit at that place, too!
PABLO is famous and popular cheese cake store in Osaka! They have several branches throughout the city, including a large storefront in Dotonbori. Since it is so popular, there is usually a long line. Don't forget to check out their seasonal menu! In May, they offer a "Chestnut and Red Bean Green tea Cheesecake Tart," and in June have a "Peach and Yogurt Cream Cheese Tart!" There is also a limited menu at different branches, so make sure to check those out before you leave Osaka, too!
6. Konamon Museum
Konamon Museum is a place where you can eat, make, and experience Takoyaki, Osaka's soul food! What does that mean, exactly? Well, on the first floor of this Dotonbori shop, Takoyaki is sold for eating. However, on the second floor, there is a space where you can make your own fake Takoyaki using wax, just like you see in display cases outside of some takoyaki restaurants! This means you can bring back a replica of Osaka's famous food for your friends to see!
People from Osaka really do love their takoyaki, and Dotonbori has it's fair share of great takoyaki joints!
If you are looking for some cutting-edge, delicious Takoyaki in Dotonbori, Kukuru is the place to go! This is a very famous and popular Takoyaki store in Osaka that shouldn't be missed. The shop's signature menu item is 'Bikkuri takoyaki,' an original Osaka takoyaki that has octopus legs sticking out! Also worth trying is their 'akashi yaki,' which is similar to, but slightly different from takoyaki, since you eat it with dashi (Japanese soup stock) soup! Yum!
Another creative and original menu item is their black takoyaki balls. Since takoyaki is so famous in Osaka, a lot of restaurants such as Kukuru offer an original take on this classic dish. This is definitely one Dotonbori restaurant that shouldn't be passed up!
This is another outstanding and iconic signboard in Dotonbori! The huge crab is the signboard for Kani Doraku, a famous restaurant featuring--you guessed it--crab cuisine! You can eat in, or grab some crab street food and walk around Dotonbori. There are branches all over Osaka and other parts of Japan, but the Dotonbori location is the original and first Kani Doraku store to open in Japan!
11. Don Quijote
Don Quijote is like the Walmart of Japan, and is a popular store that sells just about everything at a cheap price! The Dotonbori location is special because of its huge, oblong, yellow Ferris wheel! You've gotta go inside if you've never been to a Don Quijote before, and the Ferris wheel unique to this Dotonbori location is also a must-ride!
11. Hozenji Yokocho
Hozenji Yokocho is a small alleyway that runs parallel to Dotonbori. The alley is paved with paving stones and is lined with cute little shops and restaurants, giving it an old-fashioned vibe. Wander down the alley until you arrive at the temple which this street is named after.
Hozenji is a fairly small temple hidden in the middle of Osaka, down the aptly-named Hozenji Yokocho. The main attraction of this temple is an old statue of a Buddhist deity which people call 'Mizu-Kake Fudou.' Years ago, people started a tradition of pouring water onto the statue while making a wish. Because of this, the statue is covered in moss, giving it an awesome appearance. Why not make a wish yourself?
You can access Dotonbori from Namba station, Osaka Namba station, or JR Namba station. It is around a 5 minute walk from Namba station.
- From Osaka station, you can walk to nearby Umeda station, and take the Midosuji line to Namba station (15 minutes) OR you can walk to Nishiumeda station and take Yotsubashi line to Namba station. (15 minutes)
- From Shin Osaka station or Tennoji station, take the Midosuji line to Namba station. (Around 5~15 minutes)
- From Kyobashi station, take the Nagahori Tsurumiryokuchi line. Transfer at Shinsaibashi to the Midosuji line, and go to Namba station. (Around 20 minutes)
Make the most out of your Dotonbori Visit!
Dotonbori is a really fun place to walk around! It is really close to Namba and Shinsaibashi Staions, too, so if you have time, those area are also worth checking out. Hope you have a great time in Dotonbori and in Osaka!
Check out our article on Dotonbori's must-try food, too:
While you are in Osaka...
Check out our 'Ultimate Guide to Osaka' to learn about other things to do in this amazing city:
An enjoyable day tour
There are so many fun things to do in Osaka, and it might seem a little overwhelming to choose where to go in order to make the best of your Osaka experience. In that case, you might want to leave it up to a professional tour guide to show you Osaka's unique and cultural aspects.