Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi - Top tier entertainment complex in Osaka, Japan
Namba is known as the soul of Osaka. Today, I'm going to introduce to you a part of it: Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi - 2 quarters that attract tourists the most and in which you can experience the most vivid and clear feeling of Osaka.
Briefly about Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi
Dotonbori is a lively dining quarter spreading along the Dotonbori river with many popular dishes which are very Osaka-ish. What impressed me the most when visiting Dotonbori were famous signs like Gurikoneon, Kani Doraku Dotonbori Honten, Tsubaraya...
Shinsaibashi is an area with luxury retail stores, grocery stores, coffee shops, and long-standing shopping malls. You can find anything under this dome-shaped shopping quarter.
How do you get here?
We would usually go there by bike, but I think you should choose buses or trains so that you won't have to park because the road here is fairly small and quite complicated. You'll arrive at Dotonbori after just a 10-minute walk from Namba, which is very fast and convenient.
If you depart from Osaka Station, you can take Midosuji Line to Shinsaibashi Station, which will get you straight to Shinsaibashi-suji Shopping quarter. Renting a taxi is fine because the drivers are highly aware of the directions here. But everybody knows that taxis aren't cheap at all!
What to do in Dotonbori?
This question should be "How do you travel to every nook and cranny of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi?" because there are countless locations to drop by. You can "empty your wallet" eating, walk till your legs are sore but still haven't covered the whole area.
1/ Ebisubashi Bridge
This is just a small bridge over the Dotonbori river, but a lot of people "gather" here to take photos. Because when you stand here, you can get a whole view of countless stores, restaurants and feel a really unique corner of Osaka.
Moreover, you can see the legendary sign of the famous Japanese confectionery manufacturer, Glico. Maybe the sign of a man in sports outfit celebrating his victory means something, as it shows up in a lot of photos of travellers when they come here.
We, too, stuck around for some time to hunt for photos with this trending sign.
2/ Taking a stroll along Dotonbori river
The whole street lighted up flamboyantly at dusk. The right moment to rock and roll had come, as the atmosphere was more lively at night. We quickly blended in with the crowd and dropped by restaurants on the streets.
There were many foreigners there, but through my observation, most of them were Chinese. Everybody has the freedom of speech so you might hear a lot of ... swears! It sometimes felt a little disturbing.
I noticed one thing. While snack diners were full of customers, so full that the owner only managed to serve the customers by the skin of their teeth at their greatest effort, fashion, handbag or toy shops were not as lively.
Maybe people would rather eat than go shopping when they came here. Many people came here without buying anything, but just to fill up their empty stomachs.
We mainly went sightseeing and took photos, we didn't have much time to go karaoke. Even if we stopped for a meal, it was very brief. We felt that it reflected the way of living here, crowded and hurried. We went for Takoyaki, Gyoza, Ramen, and Yaki Mochi. A street-style version of everything.
People would queue and dine at the counter on the spot or take away and eat on the way. Each dish cost around 200-300 Yen.
3/ Enjoying the famous crab hotpot, Kanidouraku
This restaurant has a giant mobile crab, making it a hotspot attracting customers. This crab is as famous as Glico.
We had to reserve a table beforehand out of fear of running out of tables, and if we hadn't it could have been out of tables for real. We arrived at 8 pm, and it was packed. We had to queue for 30 minutes before we could get in.
The crab hotpot cost 5500 Yen, which was worth the price. We truly got what we paid for. This dish is a must-try!
After the meal, we felt that "eating so full that your stomach could explode is real". I couldn't stop eating from the moment I stepped in here. Basically, I wanted to try everything because they were indescribably appealing. We carried our backpacks and continued walking in order to digest the food in our stomachs.
Wherever we wanted to go, we just google-mapped it. It was very hard to memorize the roads, as the streets were all over the place.
So how about Shinsaibashi?
We walked to Shinsaibashi. This is a quarter with dome after dome, spreading nearly 600m. It was like a horizontal shopping mall.
There were many shops from clothing to big cosmetics brands or watches, footwear, household appliances, books, fast food, milk tea,... everything.
At nightfall, after exhausting ourselves without even visiting all of the quarters, we came across a small and peaceful alley. Far from the noise and vibrant lights out there, Hozenji had a nostalgic vibe. The street was decorated with lanterns, along with historic constructions, which reminded me of the sacred atmosphere of the ancient capital of Kyoto.
Our endless journey ended in regret. We don't have many occasions to gather in Osaka, enjoy the glamour of the urban area and treat ourselves a feast.
Osaka brought me so many feelings on so many levels. Later when we left Osaka, I could still feel the luxurious moments, the overwhelming parties and the unique taste that Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi brought to and engraved in me.
Hi guys, my name is Huong Giang. I love travelling and Japan is the place that I can do what I desire to do. I hope my experiences will inspire you and it would be glad if we can share our things in common <3
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