A lively nightlife area full of restaurants, bars and street-food, and the most famous in Osaka. A food lover’s paradise!
Dotonbori is a lively nightlife area full of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, and is one of the most famous destinations in Osaka. With bright neon lights, outrageous storefronts and an enormous variety of high quality restaurants, it is a must see on any trip to Osaka.
To give some idea of the atmosphere, Dotonbori is well known for the phrase “kuidaore” - literally meaning to bring ruin on oneself by extravagant food! This is something that is easy to do in the area, with an enormous variety of food options. The streets have the feel of a theme park, with many storefronts covered in large displays - often mechanical - to entice customers in.
Although some restaurants are open for lunch, Dotonbori is best visited in the carnival atmosphere of the evening, when all the shops are open and illuminated.
The area’s most famous photo spot is the Ebisu Bridge, where Dotonbori meets Shinsaibashisuji Shopping Streets. At this point, the canal is lined with a number of bright neon billboards and signs, including the famous Glico Running Man sign standing 20m tall and 10m wide. Although the sign has been updated, it was originally installed in 1935 and has become the unofficial mascot of Dotonbori and a common landmark of Osaka.
Dotonbori’s history dates back to the 1600s, when local merchant Yasui Doton invested his life savings into building a canal between the Umezu River and Kizugawa River. Construction was interrupted by war, and Doton was killed before the project could be finished, however his family completed the work. The canal was named in his honour.
The development bought wealth and commerce to the area, and a government plan soon cemented it as the entertainment district of Osaka. This bought many theatres to the area, which then bought a plethora of restaurants, tea-houses and bars to help feed the many new theatregoers.