Dotonbori Revisited 2019 - Osaka

Dotonbori (道頓堀) is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Osaka Prefecture at present.

Dotonbori (道頓堀

Dotonbori History

Dotonbori was originally designated as an entertainment district in 1621 and in just a year, the district already had numerous kabuki and bunraku theaters. With the already booming economy, restaurants and cafes soon popped up along the river banks and people from all around started to see the district as a place of entertainment, fun, and most of all opportunity.

Dotonbori - Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture

Sadly, the time came when interest in traditional forms of entertainment started to decline. Then the Second World War came and brought devastation to the district. One by one, the kabuki and buraku theaters in Dotonbori closed their doors and people slowly moved away. 

Tonbori River as seen from Ebisu Bridge

Luckily, the remaining restaurants and cafes continued to attract people from different places. This, in turn, started a new boom in the Dotonbori district. Restaurants and cafes replaced the theaters and in true Japanese fashion, competition soon erupted and these restaurants tried to outdo each other. First, they fought for the best food quality then when their food quality seems to be at the max level, they improved their restaurant facades. 

One of the markers in Ebisu Bridge

Another history marker on Ebisu Bridge

Ebisu Bridge Marker

Today, because of these competitions, Dotonbori is the go-to place for many who want to try out amazing food. Aside from that, visitors would also be amazed to see gigantic displays outside most restaurants some of which are actually animatronic.

Dotonbori's Glicoman billboard

My parents didn't miss the opportunity to have a picture at Ebisubashi

A nighttime visit to Dotonbori is also a must-do. See how the neon lights illuminate the district giving it a futuristic glow. Speaking of neon lights displays, don't miss out on the giant Glicoman billboard near Ebisubashi also known as Ebisu Bridge. This billboard display has long been associated and probably is equally popular with Dotonbori.

The Backpack Adventures in Dotonbori

The crowd in Dotonbori just kept on getting bigger

You should try out the takoyaki here.

I first visited Dotonbori with my wife and daughter during our first trip to Japan last 2014. You can read about that visit HERE. I got to revisit Dotonbori again last December 2019 during the 6th day of our 2019 Japan trip. However, unlike the first visit, my wife and daughter were not with me this time. Regardless, I had with me my parents and sibling, all of whom were first-time visitors to Japan.

Heading to Shin Saibashi Suji

Scenes inside Shin Saibashi Suji

During our visit, we checked out the different stores looking for souvenirs. What we didn't do (sadly) was to try out the different authentic food around Dotonbori. Well, that just gave me another reason to visit Dotonbori.

Aya's first time in Dotonbori

Team Nicerio in Dotonbori

Overall, it was a fun yet tiring visit as human traffic can really sap one's physical and mental strength. Regardless, Dotonbori remains to be one of those places worth visiting especially you're a foodie or a first-time visitor to the Kansai Region. 

Dotonbori Admission Fee:

It's FREE to visit and explore Dotonbori District. However, I highly suggest that you bring money so that you can try out the different food or shop in the stores in the area. 

Why visit Dotonbori?

Dotonbori is a place to visit if you want to try out different Osakan food. It's also the place to see Osaka's famed Glicoman. If you have a shopping budget for your trip, then Dotonbori is a good place to shop for souvenirs too. 

Getting to Dotonbori:


From Kansai International Airport Station, ride the Nankai-Kuko Line and board down at Namba Station. From there, walk about 450m to Dotonbori.
Travel time: 50 minutes
Fare: 430 Yen


Overall rating


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