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.
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.
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.
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.
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.