Apr 21, 2014

Dotonbori (Osaka, Japan)

Dōtonbori is a popular food and tourist destination in Osaka. It is composed of one street that runs parallel to the Dōtonbori canal.

At night, the street is lit up with bright neon signs. Over the first few days of our trip, the weather was not very pleasant, with showers and rain lasting all day, but that did not stop us from visiting this must see nightlife district.

One of Dōtonbori's landmarks is the giant Glico running man sign overlooking the canal.

But there are plenty of other neon advertisements to catch the eye.

Sea of transparent plastic umbrellas. They are very popular in Japan!

Dōtonbori canal

Another Dōtonbori landmark is the ultra creepy Kuidaore clown. The literal translation of kuidaore is "to eat oneself bankrupt." Did I mention that Osaka is a food obsessed city? Dōtonbori gives visitors plenty of opportunities to maybe not eat oneself bankrupt but surely to eat oneself silly.

The restaurants in Dōtonbori seem to be in competition for having the biggest, loudest, wackiest signs and storefronts. From giant pieces of sushi to huge mechanical moving crabs, restaurants try hard to grab your attention and add to the ambiance of this destination.

Giant blowfish 

After all of this visual stimulation, we needed to try some of the local eats. I have been dying to try takoyaki for a while now. They are wheat flour balls, filled with pieces of octopus and slathered with mayonnaise, brown takoyaki sauce and bonito shavings. I couldn't find the stall that was on my list so I just headed to the shop with the giant octopus out front.

Fresh takoyaki was being prepared before our eyes. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy them. I was not expecting them to be a big blob of mush on the inside.

It's takoyaki time!


We also decided to grab some sushi from one of the many Ganko Sushi locations in the area. I had the tuna combination and it was not the best. Looked like we were 0 for 2 in dining selections for the night.

Ganko Sushi

In addition to loads of eateries, there are arcades and retail spots to assist you with parting with your money. We loved visiting the arcades and watching the locals play these games of dancing, drumming, pattern matching, guitar playing and more with gusto. The dancing was the best of all though!

Mike and Sulley crane game

We also ventured into a pachinko parlor for a brief visit while we were there. Pachinko is a gambling game that looks similar to a pinball machine. The parlors are so loud! And I do not get what the attraction is at all. They seem to serve the same purpose as slot machines do in the States.

Dōtonbori tickles all of the senses with its bright lights, interesting eats and buzzing sounds. 

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