Travel Guide

Dotonbori Dotonbori


Dotonbori is one of the principal tourist destinations in Osaka, Japan, running along the Dotonbori canal from Dotonboribashi Bridge to Nipponbashi Bridge in the Namba district of the city's Chuo ward. Historically a theater district, it is now a popular nightlife and entertainment area full of energy and delight. The whole street is like a theme park, with so many oversized and colorful decorations.

Osaka is known as the food haven of Japan- especially here in Dotonbori, come and experience “Kuidaore”, literally meaning eat till you drop. Most places offer the best food you have ever tasted and are priced at very affordable prices. Be sure to try some of the local specialties like takoyaki balls or okonomiyaki. Takoyaki balls are battered balls filled with diced or minced octopus while okonomiyaki is a batter pancake like treat packed with vegetables and seafood or meats. Both treats can be purchased freshly off street stalls for only a few hundred yen and can be delicious. Remember to take a picture with the star of Dotonbori,- “Mr. Kuidaore”, you will never miss this a male doll dressed in red and white stripes playing a drum standing in front of the Nakaza Building.

At night time Dotonbori is an amazing mixture of light and sounds and no trip to Osaka would be complete without experiencing this amazing place. Alongside the lantern lit river the buildings are adorned with giant mechanical fish, crabs and clowns, all flashing and moving. Huge neon and video displays reflect along the Dotonbori River where cruise boats move people up and down the river. This vibrant place is quite dazzling. Thousands flock to Dotonbori every night to enjoy a bite to eat, or to visit the many entertainment offering everything from karaoke, video games or the much loved pachinko.

For those love to shop or still wandering what to get for your loved ones at home, Dotonbori is an enticing shopping paradise. The shops here can be rather luring, selling Osaka only cookies and cakes to keychains with miniature food, you can surely find something for everyone here. Head down to drug stores looking more like supermarkets for the latest product for skincare or the amazing variety of tidbits you cannot resist.

The bridge across the Dotonbori canal on the Ebisubashi Shopping Arcade is Ebisubashi, which is nicknamed 'Pick-up Bridge' as it is a famous place for young guys to pick up girls. The famous Glico sign is also here.


Dotonbori traces its history back to 1612, when a local entrepreneur, Yasui Doton, began expanding the tiny Umezu River, which ran east to west, hoping to increase commerce in the region by connecting the two branches of the Yokobori River, which ran north to south, with a canal. Doton’s project was interrupted when he died defending Toyotomi Hideyori in the ill-fated Siege of Osaka, but his cousins finished the canal in 1615. The new lord of Osaka Castle, Tadaki Matsudaira, named the canal and avenue beside it Dotonbori ("bori" from "hori", meaning "canal"), even though Doton had been on the losing side during the siege.

The character of Dotonbori became defined in 1621 when the newly minted Tokugawa Shogunate instituted urban planning, designating Dotonbori as the entertainment district of Osaka. By 1662 the avenue boasted six Kabuki theatres and five Bunraku theatres, as well as the unique Takeda Karakuri mechanical puppet theatre. Many restaurants and cafes were built to cater to the flood of tourists and entertainment-seekers pouring nightly into Dotonbori.

Over the years, declining interest in traditional forms of entertainment led to the closing of most of Dotonbori's original attractions. Its five remaining theatres were bombed and destroyed during World War II.

Dotonbori Dotonbori


Travel Advice


- The giant sign such as drum-playing clown known as kuidaore taro sign, animated crab sign or neon Glico man is the marketing strategy created by restaurants or companies in Dotonbori to attract people’s attention. That’s why there are giant signs everywhere here in Dotonbori.

- The official site of Dotonbori Store Association provides all the food, shopping, amusement and entertainment information about Dotonbori.

Dotonbori River Cruise
Activity The cruise takes you across east to Nipponbashi bridge and then west to Namba Hatch(home of FM Osaka). This cruise gives you an overview of the best sightseeing points along the river. People can see famous sights include 9 bridges such as Nihonbashi Bridge, Aiau Bridge and Dotonbori Bridge, the Glico Running Man neon sign and the gigantic Don Quijote store with it’s bizarre(and inactive) ferris wheel. The best part no matter what is the stellar photo angles you have to capture the neon signs of Dotonbori. The guide mostly speeks Japanese, but occasionally mentioned stuff in English too(mainly the safety messages). It is recommend taking this river cruise especially at nighttime for a complete Dotonbori experience.
Address 7-13, Soemon-tyo, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka
Phone 06-6441-0532 (Ipponmatsu Shipping Co., Ltd)
Admission Adult: 1,000 yen
Child: 400 yen
Hours 13:00 to 21:00 Weekday
11:00 to 21:00 Weekend and National Nolidays
Departs at :00 and :30.
Closed July 13, 24, 25
Reservation Reservation is not required
Duration 20 minutes
Departure Point Infront of Don Quixote Shinsaibashi. 5 minutes walk from JR Namba Station.
Charter Private charter is available for 40,000 yen, 10 to 70 person.


Address Soemon-cho, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Phone 06-6211-4542 (Dotonbori Store Association)
Admission Free  
Hours Free time  
Closed Open 7 Days a Week
Duration 1 hour
Getting There By Train
1 minute walk from Namba Station on subway Midosuji Line, Yotsubashi Line or Sennichi Line.
1 minute walk from Osaka Namba Station on Namba Line or Hanshin Namba Line.
Parking Paid parking available

Attractions in Japan