Dōtombori. This world-famous strip runs along the Dōtonbori canal from Dōtonboribashi Bridge to Nipponbashi Bridge in Namba. It started its life off as a theatre district, but is now more famous for its illuminated billboards and animatronics. Let’s take a casual walk along here, and discover what it has to offer.
Kuiadore is a word you may see associated with restaurants here. Translating to “ruin oneself with food”. it’s often used on signs and in advertisements. Let’s do just that with one of these beauties:
- Hariju. A famous beef restaurant founded in 1924, and using only Japanese beef in its dishes.
- Zubora-ya. Easily spotted thanks to the large pufferfish hanging outside, this is a fugu restaurant for those with exotic tastes.
- Cui-daore. Perfect for the indecisive diner, it’s an 8 storey mega-restaurant with every kind of Osaka cuisine your little heart could desire.
- Kani Doraku. Another easy to spot restaurant thanks to the moving crab billboard. No prizes for guessing the type of food served here!
Quite possibly the most famous landmark is the Glico Man billboard. Originally erected in 1935 to promote Glico Candy (a local Osaka confectioner famous for Pocky among others), it is one of the oldest billboards here. It has undergone a few face-lifts in support of sporting events over the years, with the most recent incarnation being switched from neon to LED. Still, it sticks out among its modern peers as unique, retaining its vintage charm. Another note-worthy feature is the Ferris wheel, which sits close to the canal, and at a juxtaposition to the glossy buildings and glittering signs. Whilst on the subject of billboards, make sure to go back at night so you can appreciate them in their full glory. My personal favourite is the Asahi Beer one, which fills up at regular intervals with golden LED’s to simulate their “Super Dry” variety. It’s mesmerising.
It’s almost a certainty you’ll pass through here, even if it is accidental at first. I suggest you stay a while, soak in the atmosphere, and join all the other delighted tourists in enjoying the food, scenery, and atmosphere. Night time, as mentioned, is the best time, but it is nice during the day too. Take a walk along both sides of the canal, grab some Takoyaki (octopus balls) at Otakoya, ride the Ferris wheel, and pose on Eibisubashi Bridge with the Glico Man. Make sure it’s a victory pose!