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Dotonbori, Osaka

Dotonbori is one of the main tourist attractions in Osaka. It runs along the Dotonbori river from Dotonboribashi bridge to Nipponbashi bridge. It is Osaka’s hotpots for tourists and revelers filled with neon signs, clubs, bars and restaurants serving local specialties. A lively entertainment area, it is crazy, crowded, busy, noisy, colourful, exciting but vibrant and fascinating especially at night. It’s more of a food paradise compared to shopping at Shinsaibashi street.

Dotonbori, Osaka

The ever busy streets at Dotonbori day or night.

Dotonbori, Osaka Dotonbori, Osaka
Dotonbori, Osaka Dotonbori, Osaka
Dotonbori, Osaka Dotonbori, Osaka
Dotonbori, Osaka Dotonbori, Osaka Dotonbori, Osaka
Dotonbori, Osaka

The alleys joining to the Dotonbori canal has eating shops under covered walkway.

Dotonbori, Osaka

Not only restaurants and eating outlets line the streets along Dotonbori, but you’ll find convenience stores as well as the ever pack Don Quijote outlet and a handful of hotels.

As you come out of the covered shopping street of Shinsaibashi towards the river, this will probably be at the most crowded place in Osaka. You’ll get a sense of carnival atmosphere here, but after a few minutes you will realise it is just one big crowded area, more to people stopping there waiting for the traffic light to turn green. But it’s the shear volume of visitors that makes the crowd happen.

Dotonbori, Osaka

Start of the Shinsaibashi shopping street seen from the Ebisu bridge. Notice the traffic lights. That’s the reason this area will be crowded.

Dotonbori, Osaka

The Ebisu bridge overlooking the Glico man from Shinsaibashi shopping street as seen by Google on an early sunny morning.

Most of the visitors to Dotonbori will be heading to the Ebisu bridge for photos and selfies of the iconic running man by confectionery company Glico. This Glico running man is a must do photo shot for any visitors visiting Osaka. Other than this, it’s just a mass of people moving about looking for something to eat. Lively no doubt, wandering around this area at night under the neon lights is not to be missed if you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Dotonbori, Osaka

This is the iconic Glico running man. It’s just an advertisement billboard.

Dotonbori, Osaka

By night, neon light takes over.

Dotonbori, Osaka

A different form of advertisement on the Glico billboard.

Dotonbori, Osaka

Freddie Mercury has his own slot at Tsutaya.

Tombori River Cruise
You can also take a short cruise along the canal to soak in the atmosphere if you have the time. The cruise is available through out the day and night. You board your cruise boat behind Don Quijote store. The yellow ticket booth is nearby or you can ride for free if you have the Osaka Amazing Pass (OAP). It’s a short 20 minutes cruise but you’ll get to see Dotonbori from water level perspective. Naturally the night cruise, due to the neon lights will be more mesmerising. More info on the cruise here.

Dotonbori river cruise

This is the back portion of Don Quijote store. Your boarding point for the boat ride is located here.

Dotonbori river cruise

The yellow ticket booth for ticket purchases or exchange for paper tickets if you are using ‘Osaka Amazing Pass’.

Dotonbori river cruise

Present your OAP at the ticket booth for paper tickets to board.

Dotonbori river cruise

A map of the Dotonbori river cruise route.

Dotonbori river cruise

One of the river cruise boats plying the route.

Dotonbori river cruise

Cruise guide gives information in Japanese.

Dotonbori river cruise

The Ebisu bridge from the river. The running man is after the bridge to the left.

Dotonbori river cruise

Night view of Dotonbori.

Dotonbori river cruise

Another night view along Dotonbotri

Festival of the Lights – Mido-suji Illumination 2018
Winter illuminations are top attraction in Japan. Illuminations are typically displayed between November and December. During our stay in early November, the Mido-suji Illumination features a 4 km long street lightened up by thousands of LED lights. In 2014, it was officially recognised as the street with the most illuminated trees in the world. For 2018, the lighted street starts from Umeda to Namba running above ground along the Midosuji subway line. Exiting the Namba subway station via exits 24, 25, 14 & 15A will bring you right onto this illuminated street.

This the back portion of Don Quijote store. Your boarding point for the boat ride is located here.

Sennichimae Doguyasuji Kitchen Street, Osaka

Sennichimae Doguyasuji Kitchen Street, Osaka

This arcade built in 1970, is a long covered shopping street dedicated to selling all manner of kitchen ware and cooking utensils. This is where you should go if you are looking for reasonable prices, as many shops sells at wholesale prices. Knowing this street dubbed as “Kitchen Street” would not really prepare one for the number and volume of cookware, bake-ware and eating implements that is on sale. The choices available just for kitchen knives alone are impressive, ranging in size, length, quality and purpose. Many food professionals come here to buy quality equipment. They also have everything one could possible need to open a restaurant like tableware, lamps, restaurant signs, restaurant decor and more. Thus the range of products here are for the chefs and entrepreneur as well.


Some of the shops are over stuffed with goods while others are easier to walk around. If cooking and kitchenware is your thing, you will find something to like about this street. This shopping street connects to the main shopping street of Osaka, just away from Dotonbori and is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the main street.

Toraya Store Namba, Osaka

Toraya Store Namba – Fabric Outlet, Osaka

After check-in to our hotel and having a short rest, we explored the area in-front of our hotel. One notable big retailer is BIC Camera and surrounding it are many other smaller businesses under roofed street similar to Shinsaibashi. One store of interest is Toraya Store Namba. It’s a fabric store we would like to check out and compare it to Nomura Tailor in Kyoto we had visited a few days earlier.

Toraya Store Namba, Osaka

Frontage of Toraya.

Toraya Store Namba, Osaka

The ‘Namba Center’ signboard right above Toraya.

Toraya Store Namba, Osaka

Location of Toraya from Red Roof Plus hotel.

Toraya is a corner lot shop at Namba Center diagonally behind BIC Camera having three floors. The first floor caters for fabrics, the second for quality & high-grade fabrics plus tailoring section and the third floor for sewing accessories. Fabrics varieties range from natural materials to chemically produced fiber materials. In-front of the store, they sell varieties of remnant fabrics which are on offer prices, difficult to resist.

Toraya Store Namba, Osaka

Fabrics at offer price sold outside.

Comparing Toraya to Nomura, they are way smaller due to the size of the shoplot itself. Toraya has three floors while Nomura has five with much larger floor space and equipped with elevator. While both stores has varieties, Nomura has more, notably in accessories. Due to the compact store and lesser varieties, wife did not wander around long and quickly paid for the small purchases. You can visit Toraya website here.

In future post, we will be visiting the textile town of Nippori in Tokyo with visits to the well known Tomato Fabric stores.

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