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Published on 04.27.2016
If you are someone who loves hanging out in Times Square in New York City, you may also fall in love with Dotonbori in Osaka. Located in the Namba district of Osaka, Dotonbori is one of the most popular nightlife and entertainment spots that stretches along the south of Dotonbori canal. You will be sleepless in Dotonbori, as you taste delicious local Osaka cuisine, enjoy watching traditional Japanese theater performances such as Bunraku or Rakugo, or just wander off in the area filled with large neon billboards, video screens and illuminated signs which frequently appear in Japanese and foreign movies as the symbol of city of Osaka.
The origin of the Dotonbori area can be traced back to early 17th century when Yasui Doton, a local entrepreneur, tried accelerating commerce in the region by building a canal to connect the Umezu River together with two branches of the Yokobori River. After Yasui’s death, his cousins completed the canal in 1615 and Tadaki Matsudaira, the lord of Osaka Castle at that time, named the canal and the avenue Dotonbori. Under the reign of the lord Tokugawa, Dotonbori was designated as the so-called “Times Square” of Osaka, boasting a number of Kabuki, Bunraku, and puppet theaters, as well as restaurants and cafés to attract visitors. Though the old theaters were ruined during the Second World War, such defining characteristics still remain today to attract visitors from around the world.
If you are a connoisseurs of fine food and drink may experience “kuidaore,” which means “ruining oneself financially by overindulging in food.” The people of Osaka are said to have a tendency to “kuidaore” partially due to Dotonbori’s rows of local restaurants and food stands offering a wide range of special local cuisines. In fact, there is a famous mascot of Osaka, called “Kuidaore Taro”, a mechanical drum-playing clown doll, standing in front of Nakaza Kuidaore Building. He serves as one of the most popular picture-taking spots for tourists.
If you want to enjoy a spectacular night view of Dotonbori, try taking the Tombori River Cruise. Departing from the Tazaemonbashi Bridge Boat Dock at every half hour, the 20 minute cruise ride will take you under the nine main bridges of the area. The boat pauses beneath the Ebisubashi Bridge for the passengers to take nice photo with Glico man, the image of a runner crossing a finishing line invented by a famous Japanese confectionery company Glico. Though the guided tour is offered only in Japanese by Rakugo (Japanese style lone storytelling entertainment) comedians, but even non-Japanese visitors will still be able to get to experience the rhythm and tempo of unique humor of Osaka comedians.
Transportation: From Shin-Osaka Station, it takes about 15 minutes by subway to reach Namba Station, the nearest subway station to the Dotonbori Area.
Tombori River Cruise:
Transportation: The cruise starts at Tazaemon-bashi dock located a five minutes’ walk northeast from Namba Station on subway or Hanshin/Keitetsu Line or Nankai Line.
Hours: The cruise departs every 30 minutes’ weekdays from 1pm to 9pm and from 11am to 9pm on weekends and national holidays.
Fees: 900 JPY for adults and 400 JPY for children
Source: Japan Travel