Dotonbori is fun to explore at any time of day, but especially spectacular at night when the whole area lights up.
The area was created in 1612 by local entrepreneur, Yasui Doton, with the idea to increase commerce by expanding the river. In 1621, it was designated the entertainment district of Osaka.
By 1662, there were six kabuki theaters, five bunraku theaters, and a mechanical puppet theater.
The Glico Man is an iconic symbol of Osaka. It was first installed in 1935 by the Japanese food company. The current signboard is the 6th version and uses LED lights rather than neon lights.
Kuidaore Taro is a mechanical drum-playing clown that was installed in 1950.
Today, the main attraction is the animated signboards. The 21-foot crab above the restaurant Kani Doraku was built in 1960. There are also giant sushi, blowfish, and dragons.
Hozenji Temple, just south of Dotonbori, is a preserved temple situated in the center of the city. It was built in 1637 during the Edo period and is known for its moss-covered Buddhist statue of Fudo Myo.
It is said that splashing water on the statue will bring you good luck and grant your wishes.
Osaka is famous for food and Dotonbori is the best place to find it!
Takoyaki started in Osaka in 1935. The recipe includes a batter of egg, flour, and water. Then, tempura crumbs, pickled ginger, green onion, and chopped octopus are added. They are cooked in a special cast iron griddle and topped with Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.
Okonomiyaki has two main styles – one from Hiroshima and one from Osaka. The Osaka style adds shredded cabbage, green onions, and seafood or pork to an egg, flour, and water batter. The batter is poured onto a grill like a pancake and topped with Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes.
Kitsune Udon is a variation of Udon noodles served in a hot broth with a piece of sweetened deep fried tofu. Udon are thick wheat noodles in a broth made from dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and topped with scallions.
Teppanyaki is the type of Japanese food you typically see in America. You sit in front of an iron griddle where high-grade meat is cooked by a skilled chef.
How to Get There
From Osaka or Shin-Osaka Station, take the Midosuji line to Namba Station. Then, walk north toward Shinsaibashi Station.
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