Dotonbori (Namba-Minami)


Dotonbori (Namba-Minami)
Dotonbori is located at the heart of Osaka Minami, one of the most popular towns in Japan. Dotonbori has a long history of having playhouses and tea houses lining the streets, but how has it evolved? Let us introduce you to the fascination of Dotonbori, along with the newest sightseeing situation.

What is Dotonbori?

What is Dotonbori?
First of all, the tale of Doton Yasui cannot be ignored without talking about the history of Dotonbori. He was a merchant active from the latter half of the 16th century to early 17th century, and is said to be the founding father of Dotonbori. In 1612, since they had reached total depth in the southern tip of Higashiyokobori-gawa River and Nishiyokobori-gawa River, they had started drilling a canal to connect the two rivers and to connect them to the Kizu-gawa River, and Doton was selected to become the person in charge of this operation. However, he died in the summer campaign of the siege of Osaka, so his cousin Doboku Yasui succeeded his work, and in 1615, the canal was finished. The canal was named “Dotonbori” to pass down the Doton Yasui’s achievement, who invested a huge amount of personal fortune for the drilling, to future generations.

What is Dotonbori?2
Later, as a promotional measure, Doboku Yasui moved the play houses that were gathered in Minamisenba, to the southern part of Dotonbori. There are play houses of Kabuki, Gidayu, and shows that were authorized by the shogunate government flourished together. As “Five great theaters in Osaka” such as Naniwa-za, Naka-za, Kado-za, Asahi-za, Benten-za were authorized, the area of Dotonbori flourished with the scaffolds of the Five great theaters in the center, and the area eventually became known as a theater town called “Yaguramachi.”

What is Dotonbori?3
The “Five great theaters in Osaka” eventually became Japan’s representative theaters of plays and variety shows both in name and substance. Then, Shibaichaya that got theater tickets and provided food and drinks for spectators began to line the streets. The area was called “Japan’s Broadway,” and Dotonbori became the dream place for those who aimed to become top-ranking entertainers. To this day, Dotonbori is still the center of the theater and variety shows, crowded with many spectators.

Dotonbori is a town where people ruin themselves financially by eating extravagant food

Dotonbori is a town where people ruin themselves financially by eating extravagant food
Dotonbori is called the “town where people ruin themselves financially by eating extravagant food,” and this seems to be related to the local color and the nature of the people of Osaka.

Dotonbori is a town where people ruin themselves financially by eating extravagant food2
The food culture of Osaka, called the Kitchen of the Nation, with food from all over the nation gathering in the area, developed into cooking that made most of soup stock made from fish and kelp, resulting in light but rich in flavor.

Dotonbori is a town where people ruin themselves financially by eating extravagant food3
Soy sauce that gives great taste to the food, has less color and aroma since most Osakans preferred light soy sauce, bringing out the goodness of taste and color of ingredients. Further, in Nada and Ikeda, various high-quality sake were produced, so sake that go well with food, and food that go well with sake were developed, mutually enhancing each other.

Dotonbori is a town where people ruin themselves financially by eating extravagant food4
Dotonbori, located in the heart of Osaka, is blessed with great food, and was a place where Osakans with discriminating eyes and palate came to eat in this entertainment district. This is why Dotonbori has developed into a “town where people ruin themselves financially by eating extravagant food,” a place where food is delicious and cheap.

Speaking of Dotonbori, this is what to do!

Speaking of Dotonbori, this is what to do!
The Dotonbori-gawa River that flows by the Dotonbori has promenades called “Dotonbori River Walk” on both banks, and there are excursion sightseeing boats in operation that allow you to have a relaxing ride while sightseeing.

Speaking of Dotonbori, this is what to do!2
Tonbori River Walk is a quiet promenade a bit away from the noise of Dotonbori, and you can enjoy your walk looking up the many shops along the riverside.

Speaking of Dotonbori, this is what to do!3
There are two types of sightseeing boat cruises. One is the “Tonbori River Cruise,” which is a round trip course that lasts 20 minutes, and you will be go back and forth the Dotonbori-gawa River while listening to sightseeing guidance.

The other one is “Naniwa Exploration Cruise with Rakugo comedians,” which is a round trip course starting at Dotonbori, passing by spots such as Kyocera Dome and Nakanoshima Koen Park. This one is not only sightseeing guidance, but also listening to short stories from a comedian, and answering quizzes. There will also be charming music by someone playing a musical instrument, and more. The substantial content of the cruise is very popular among tourists.

Speaking of Dotonbori, this is what to do!4
When it comes to Dotonbori, the Glico signboard of the running man, among other huge signboards, are must-sees. Along with the “Kani Doraku” signboard, which has been around for a long time, each shop has a doll-theme-park-like ambience that are sure to look good on social media.

Speaking of Dotonbori, this is what to do!5
Dotonbori is also known as a hot spot of great local cuisine. America-mura (American village), aka Amemura, Shinsaibashi, and Nankai Namba Station are all within walking distance from Dotonbori, so walk and enjoy eating food to go such as takoyaki, kushi-katsu, 551 Horai’s Butaman, cotton candy, and Japan’s tallest soft ice cream. You can also enjoy Osaka’s cuisine along with the atmosphere of each restaurant till your heart's content when you eat okonomiyaki, fried udon, ramen, omu-rice and more.

Where to walk in Dotonbori

Dotonbori is also said that “the whole town is a theme park of entertainment and food,” so in order to experience all the fascination of Dotonbori, enjoy walking as you balance well the three elements of “take pictures/videos, buy, and eat.”

Where to walk in Dotonbori
A while back, we introduced you to Dotonbori in our article, “Highly recommended by the locals! The instagenic and SNS worthy sightseeing spots” about great photo spots.

First of all, would be Dotonbori’s landmark, the Glico running man signboard. After it was renewed in 2014, it has been garnering attention from all over the world

Where to walk in Dotonbori2
Next would be the Don Quijote with the huge Ferris wheel, which you will see as you walk along the Tonbori River Walk.

Where to walk in Dotonbori3
Then, if you walk along the Dotonbori-dori street, which is parallel to Dotonborigawa River, you will see the huge signboards coming out at you looking like museums. First, the Kani Doraku signboard catches your eye.
Where to walk in Dotonbori4Kinryu Ramen

Where to walk in Dotonbori5Kushikatsu Daruma

Where to walk in Dotonbori6Globefish restaurant Zuboraya

Where to walk in Dotonbori7Takoyaki restaurant Kukuru

Where to walk in Dotonbori8Osaka Osho

Where to walk in Dotonbori9Karl Ojisan

Where to walk in Dotonbori10
Many unique signboards line up the streets, looking great on social media.

1. Going shopping in Dotonbori

“Don Quijote Dotonbori Shop”

1. Going shopping in Dotonbori
Don Quijote is overwhelmingly popular among foreign tourists, but since they have a wide variety of low-priced rice cookers, beauty electric appliances, and audio video equipment, many locals go shopping, too.

●7-13, Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Open 24 hours
●Open all year

“Laox Osaka Dotonbori Store”

1. Going shopping in Dotonbori2
Some time ago, our article “Let’s have fun at Japan’s largest duty-free store “Laox!” introduced you to Laox, one of Japan’s largest duty-free shops. Other than beauty electric appliances and high-quality watches, this Dotonbori Store has an area in the store specifically for subcultures such as figures, character merchandise and more, responding to the needs of customers.

●Dragon Gate Building, 1-4-23, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Open all year


1. Going shopping in Dotonbori3
Since starting business as the first H&M in Japan, they have been selling apparel high in fashionability in full concept. Using “sustainable” and “best price” as their key words, the store is great for families as well.

●Luz Shinsaibashi, 7-2, Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Irregular holidays

“Forever 21 Osaka Dotonbori Shop”

1. Going shopping in Dotonbori4
With their main store in the U.S., this fashion brand has expanded into over 550 stores worldwide, and this one is the Kansai area flagship store. They have a full line of apparel for women, men, children, and also accessories. You can fully coordinate yourself within 10,000 yen.

●1-8-22, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Open all year

“Nakaza Cui-daore Bldg.”

1. Going shopping in Dotonbori5
This is the hot spot where Dotonbori’s symbolic figure, Cuidaore Taro welcomes you. Inside this building where you can find great food, souvenirs, and entertainment, they have also managed for you to enjoy while experiencing the culture of Dotonbori.

●1-7-21, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
*Business hours differ depending on each shop

Sightseeing in Dotonbori - Enjoy Osaka nightlife in Dotonbori!


Sightseeing in Dotonbori - Enjoy Osaka nightlife in Dotonbori!
You can get easy access, which is next to Dotonbori and enjoy one of the best magic shows and great Chinese food made by a first-class chef. Couples and families can feel free to go, and the average money spent is about a reasonable 3,800 yen. An added bonus is the beautiful night view of Minami, which you can see from the restaurant.

●Gurukasu City Bldg. 10F, 2-4-2, Shinsaibashi-suji, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●17:30- 3:00 of the next day
●Open all year


Sightseeing in Dotonbori - Enjoy Osaka nightlife in Dotonbori!2
It is a unique bar with the nice look for social media and romantic interior, lots of fun for you with karaoke and darts. They have various cocktails to choose from, allowing you to enjoy drinking alone as well. Great music, and they have menus in foreign languages.

●6-8, Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●20:00- 5:00 of the next day
●Open all year


Sightseeing in Dotonbori - Enjoy Osaka nightlife in Dotonbori!3
It is a long-established large-type sports bar. There is a 180-inch screen and 50-inch TV where sports games are on. You can also enjoy various recreations, which are billiard, hard darts and soft darts. They also have loft seats, and there are many foreign customers as well.

●Nippo Mitsudera Kaikan 4F, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Sundays to Thursdays: 18:00-3:00 of the next day, L.O. for food: 2:00, drinks 2:30; Fridays, Saturdays, day before holiday: 18:00-5:00 of the next day, L.O. for food: 4:00, drinks 4:30
●Open all year

“Kanzume (canned food) Dining Pa’Can”

Sightseeing in Dotonbori - Enjoy Osaka nightlife in Dotonbori!4
It is a unique canned food bar where you can enjoy alcoholic beverages with various canned food as side dishes, from rare food to the classic. You can also have main dishes such as pasta using the canned food.

●Pare 373 Bldg. 1F, 3-7, Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka,
●Mondays to Thursdays: 18:00-5:00 of the next day: Fridays and Saturdays: 18:00-7:00 of the next day: Sundays: 18:00-5:00 of the next day
●Open all year


Sightseeing in Dotonbori - Enjoy Osaka nightlife in Dotonbori!5
It is a long-established jazz bar with many die-hard fans. If you walk up the spiral staircase of a multi-tenant building, you will see a hiding-place-like bar playing comfortable music. You can make a request of your favorite music to be played from their collection of analog records.

●Dixie Bldg. 2F, 1-6-18, Nanba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●17:00- 1:00 of the next day
●Open all year

3. Eating in Dotonbori

“Honke Dotonbori Ootako Honten”

3. Eating in Dotonbori
It has always been Dotonbori’s representative takoyaki shop ever since its start in business in 1972. The texture of freshly chopped octopus and mild sauce with soup stock made with a secret recipe make up a nostalgic taste that is passed down to the generation of today.

●1-4-16, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Open all year

“Dotonbori Imai Honten”

3. Eating in Dotonbori2
A well-established udon noodle shop, which started the business in 1946. The soft noodles go great with the golden soup, and you can taste the essence of Osaka udon, which is clearly different from the Sanuki udon. The “Kitsune udon,” with the sweet and soft oage (deep-fried tofu) on top is highly recommended.

●1-7-22, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Closed on Wednesdays

“Botejyu Head Restaurant”

3. Eating in Dotonbori3
This is Osaka’s well-established okonomiyaki restaurant, which named itself from the sound of the rhythm of cooking okonomiyaki, which is “flip (bote) and sizzle (jyu).” Botejyu always boasts a strong popularity as the pioneer of Osaka okonomiyaki, in ways such as being first in Osaka to adopt counter seats, and using mustard and mayonnaise in their recipe.

●Comrade Doton Bldg., 1-6-15, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Open all year

“Kinryu Ramen Dotonbori Shop”

3. Eating in Dotonbori4
It is a long-established ramen shop loved by the Osaka locals since the Showa era. The seats are sort of like a street stall with tatami seats, and their signboard is a dragon, which has visual impact. Their ramen is a simple soy sauce flavor using pork belly and bones, and chicken bones. Arranging the flavor with free kimchi and leek to your liking is the Kinryu way. They are open 24 hours, allowing you to stop by after some drinking, and eat their surprisingly light seasoned ramen.

●1-7-26, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Open 24 hours
●Open all year

“551 Horai Main Shop”

3. Eating in Dotonbori5
If you are in Dotonbori, buying 551 pork steamed buns for souvenir is a must. On the 2nd floor of the Horai main shop, you can have a taste of their specialty, seafood fried noodles and more. On the 1st floor, there is a take-out section where, other than the pork steamed buns, you can buy their classic popsicle.

●3-6-3, Nanba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Closed on the third Tuesday of the month

“Hokkyokusei Shinsaibashi main branch”

3. Eating in Dotonbori6
This is one of the pioneers of Osaka’s Western-style restaurants, originating the omu-rice in 1925. They do not add anything extra, leaving the taste of egg as it is, and their not-so-sour tomato sauce goes great with their blended rice. A very popular dish.

●2-7-27, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●11:30-22:00 (open at 11:00 Saturday, Sundays, and holidays)
●Open all year


3. Eating in Dotonbori7
Their large pop colored wata ame (cotton candy) is very popular. Their wata ame in a cup for take-out, cute cake pop, and candies sold by weight are all photogenic.

●RE11 04, 2-11-9, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●11:00-20:00 (opens at 10:00 on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and during the summer, winter, and spring holidays)
●Open all year

“Long Soft Cream America Mura Shop”

3. Eating in Dotonbori8
Their longest soft serve in Japan, which 40 centimeters, will look good on social networks. The taste is a light milk flavor, and ladies can eat the whole thing by themselves. There is always a line of people during the weekends.

●2-11-9, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
●Open all year

4. Staying in Dotonbori (hotels)

“Dotonbori Hotel”

4. Staying in Dotonbori (hotels)
This hotel is located in a convenient area, as Ebisubashi-suji Shotengai Shopping District and Shinsaibashi are within a three-minute walking distance. The huge face statues standing at the entrance depict people from different countries, welcoming visitors from abroad.

●2-3-25, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

“Cross Hotel Osaka”

4. Staying in Dotonbori (hotels)2
The hotel is located close to the entertainment district of Minami. The rooms are stylish, with large separate type bathrooms, and Simmons bed mattresses.

●2-5-15, Shinsaibashi-suji, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

“HOTEL UNIZO Osaka Shinsaibashi”

4. Staying in Dotonbori (hotels)3
An urban-type hotel that opened in 2018. It is a one minute walking distance from Shinsaibashi Station, and the security is tight, and they also have a ladies’ floor, which should make the female guests safer. Their beds were developed with Serta, and the bathrooms are large, allowing you to have a high-quality relaxing time.

●1-10-10, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

“Karaksa hotel Osaka Namba”

4. Staying in Dotonbori (hotels)4
This hotel opened in November of 2017. They have great services for the visitors from overseas, and they have rooms that can be connected with an inside door. It is located within a 10-minute walk from Ebisubashi.

●2-9-13, Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

“HOTEL THE GRANDEE Shinsaibashi”

4. Staying in Dotonbori (hotels)5
Their unique guest rooms were made from outstanding creativity in collaboration with famous artists / designers and was very much talked about. They also have great services such as Bulgari bath amenities and breakfast using seasonal vegetables.

●1-6-28, Higashishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

5. Attractions of Dotonbori

“Cruising on Osaka Sightseeing Ships”

5. Attractions of Dotonbori
They have various sightseeing boat courses such as a 20-minute mini cruise called “Tonbori River Cruise” and the “Naniwa Exploration Cruise with Rakugo comedians,” which takes you to various sightseeing spots of Osaka, the city of water as rakugo comedians guide you with their light sense of humor.


“Dotonbori Konamon Museum”

5. Attractions of Dotonbori2
It is a food theme park where you can experience the konamon (flour-based food) culture, such as a shop that allows you to choose your ingredients and make a takoyaki by yourself, a konamon history museum, and a studio where you can experience making plastic takoyaki models.

●1-6-12, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

How to get to Dotonbori

How to get to Dotonbori
To get to Dotonbori, it is a short walk from “Namba Station” of the Osaka Metro Line Midosuji Line, Yotsuhashi Line, or the Sennichimae Line, and also from exit no. 14 of “Osaka Namba Station” of the Hanshin Railway and Kintetsu. Dotonbori is also close from exit no. 2 of “Nippombashi Station” of the Osaka Metro Sakaisuji Line and Sennichimae Line. Dotonbori is also within a 10-minute walking distance from the north exit of “Namba Station” of Nankai Electric Railway.

From Kansai International Airport, you can use Rapi:t, which takes 35 minutes, or you can take the limousine bus to the commercial multi complex “Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT),” which takes 50 minutes. From Osaka International Airport (Itami), it takes about 40 minutes if you use the Osaka Airport bus.

Summary of Dotonbori

Summary of Dotonbori
Dotonbori is a cultural transmission place of Osaka that has been evolving, while also keeping the tradition. Dotonbori is now changing to an international city, as there are many eateries that prepare multilingual menus for tourists from abroad. You may want to plan your sightseeing tour around the Kansai area with Dotonbori as the base where you can get good transportation access.

*The above information was last updated August 13, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.

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