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Explore Dotonbori

Home > Osaka > Fun Things To Do | Nightlife
by Tom Desu (subscribe)
Outdoors over indoors, adventure over routine. Life is an excellent place.
Published September 5th 2013
A five minute walk from Namba Station, Dotonbori represents Osakan life in a supercharged mix of culture, history, lifestyle and gastronomy. Previously Osaka's pleasure district, modern Dotonbori has turned into a centre of nightlife for tourists and Japanese alike. Lit up like representations of science fiction films from the nineties, Dotonburi has everything that springs to mind when thinking of Osaka. While as an area, it could take just five minutes to walk through, Dotonbori is a place that deserves hours, days, even weeks to fully explore and appreciate.

osaka dotonbori namba
Dotonbori lit up at night.
JKT-c./Wikimedia Commons


Dotonbori Bashi, a bridge reserved for pedestrians, is the centre of action in the area and is lit up from dusk 'till dawn by the fluorescence from any number of giant advertisements covering the buildings on both sides of Dotonbori canal. Shop fronts and big name brands alike competing for the attention of walker bys, it's easy to get lost in the bright lights and miss what's happening all around. Pamphlet toting hosts and hostesses chase customers back and forth as tourists' line up for a shot with the Glico Man. Youths with stardom on the mind bust out their latest renditions of popular songs, contrasting the high pitch call that comes from every Japanese shop front, welcome the customer to stop by.

dotonbori osaka host hostess glico man dotonbori bashi
Dotonbori Bashi and Glico Man at night.


One step off the bridge and a smorgasbord of bars, restaurants, karaoke, clubs and large variety of arcades come into view. Osaka's most famous foods line the streets. Sit down to okonomiyaki, or grab some takoyaki on the go, a good rule for choosing food in Japan; If there's a line outside, it's worth the wait.

A great place for it people watching, hunt down one of the many Izakaya (Japanese style bars) looking over the bridge and river. Ask for a seat next to the window and watch the scene that is Dotonbori play itself out over warm cups of sake and frozen cups full of Japanese beer.
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Where: Dotonbori
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