The Highlights of Dotonbori in Osaka

ByJustin Hanus
Oct 25, 2022

The Highlights of Dotonbori in Osaka

Named for the canal it runs alongside, Dotonbori is one of the most famous streets in Osaka. Located in the Namba district in the Chuo ward, it is particularly popular with visitors to Osaka for its shopping, street food, and nightlife. As an indication of what to expect, you should know that a word associated with the area is “kuidaore,” which means to go bankrupt spending money just on food.

Here are some highlights of the area you need to check out.

Billboards, Including Glico Running Man

A defining feature of Dotonbori is the billboards, the most famous of which is the Glico Running Man. You can view the billboard from Ebisubashi Bridge, where you’ll likely encounter tourists taking pictures of themselves with the billboard — often with their arms raised like the running man himself.

Kani Doraku

You may already know the restaurant chain Kani Doraku. However, the branch in Dotonbori is extra special because of a billboard. The front of the building has a giant moving crab, representing that the restaurant specializes in crab dishes. It’s worth visiting to see the crab, but if you also want to grab a meal, try the famous kanisuki: hot crab pot.

Kuidaore Taro

Another great place to eat is the Nakaza Kuidaore building, which has many restaurants, izakaya, and souvenir shops. The main reason to visit, though, is the famous mascot of the building: the Kuidaore Doll, which dates back to the 1950s. The doll is a clown in striped clothing that beats a drum. If you want to take a picture with him, you’ll likely need to join a long line of people.

The Konamon Museum

To make your own food, head to the Konamon Museum — a bit of a misnomer because it’s actually a restaurant rather than a museum. It’s easy to find because of the huge three-dimensional octopus on the front of the building. The establishment offers courses in preparing edible and wax samples of takoyaki: an octopus snack popular as street food in Osaka. If you want to visit during the weekend, make a reservation to avoid disappointment.


Once, Dotonbori was a theater district, but today the only kabuki establishment remaining is Shochiku-za. The building contrasts sharply with the bright lights and modern architecture of the rest of the area.

River Cruises

If you want a break from the crowds, take a river cruise. A cruise is a great way to experience all that Dotonbori offers — from sights along the banks to the bridges you’ll pass under. It’s imposing at night when the lights from the billboards and buildings reflect on the water.

Since you won’t actually go bankrupt in Dotonbori (hopefully), it’s definitely a place to visit if you’re looking for a good time. It’s worth coming both day and night to see how the atmosphere changes and enjoy everything Dotonbori has to offer.

Schellack, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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