HOME Kansai Osaka Namba, Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi Top 10 Fun Things to do in Dotonbori Osaka - Recommended by Die-Hard Fans!
Top 10 Fun Things to do in Dotonbori Osaka - Recommended by Die-Hard Fans!

Top 10 Fun Things to do in Dotonbori Osaka - Recommended by Die-Hard Fans!

Date published: 17 July 2020
Last updated: 30 October 2020

When considering things to do in Dotonbori, Osaka some of the first attractions that come to mind for this popular tourist spot are the Glico sign and the crazy giant crab sign!

Dotonbori is one of Osaka's most prominent downtown areas, a lively, fun, and delicious spot. There's plenty to see, and plenty to eat, but it would be a wasted trip if you just stop there! There are plenty of other attractions and entertainment that can only be found here.

Here are the top 10 things to do in Dotonbori, as recommended by a die-hard Osaka fan, from classic attractions to unique, hidden experiences.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Strike a Pose in Front of the Glico Sign!
  2. 2. Walking in Dotonbori? Look up! A Fun, Giant 3-D Signboard Tour
  3. 3. An Aerial Walk Above Dotonbori, Osaka: Dotonbori Ebisu Tower Ferris Wheel
  4. 4. Wave at Onlookers from the Tombori River Cruise
  5. 5. Make Your Own Takoyaki! Takoyaki Takomasa
  6. 6. Make Your Own Food Samples! Design Pocket
  7. 7. Become an Ukiyo-e Artist! Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
  8. 8. Hozenji Mizukake Fudoson: Splash Some Water and Make a Wish
  9. 9. Dotonbori Tsuribori: A Fishing Game Experience
  10. 10. Ichibiri-an Dotombori Honten: Lots of Unique Osaka Souvenirs
  11. Recommended Restaurants in the Area

1. Strike a Pose in Front of the Glico Sign!

1. Strike a Pose in Front of the Glico Sign!
Nonnakrit / Shutterstock.com

The giant Glico sign is one of the most popular attractions of Dotonbori, Osaka. Many people take photos with this sign in the background - it's one of the first things to do in Dotonbori for everyone!

Ebisu-bashi is the typical photo spot, which spans the Dotonbori River. However with so many people walking by, it can be difficult to time a good shot. In that case, we recommend taking your photo from the Tombori River Walk (pictured), which is down the steps and allows a front view of the Glico sign. Take photos from various angles, upload them to social media, and don't forget to take the standard Glico pose.

2. Walking in Dotonbori? Look up! A Fun, Giant 3-D Signboard Tour

2. Walking in Dotonbori? Look up! A Fun, Giant 3-D Signboard Tour
estherpoon / Shutterstock.com

Dotonbori is a gourmet town, known as the place to 'eat till you drop'. But before you are drawn in by the delicious smell, don't forget to look up at the gigantic 3-D signs. Displays of crabs, puffer-fish, octopus, dragons, and other characters abound. There is even a giant hand holding a roll of sushi. Some of these 3-D signboards even move, bringing a liveliness that is unique only to Dotonbori.

Giant signboards have decorated the fronts of shops in Japan for hundreds of years. It is a part of the culture that has remained in Dotonbori since then, where everyone from children to adults, to people who cannot read Japanese, can understand what kind of place it is.

3. An Aerial Walk Above Dotonbori, Osaka: Dotonbori Ebisu Tower Ferris Wheel

3. An Aerial Walk Above Dotonbori, Osaka: Dotonbori Ebisu Tower Ferris Wheel
Jo Panuwat D / Shutterstock.com

For a birds-eye view of Dotonbori, ride the giant Dotonbori Ebisu Tower Ferris Wheel. It is located in the Don Quijote Dotonbori store, also known as the "Gekiyasu no Dendo," or "Palace of Great Deals." The gondolas of this oval-shaped ferris wheel seat four, and rotate horizontally. Of all the places in Dotonbori, this is the closest to the sky. One lap on the Ferris wheel takes about 15 minutes. You can see the entire city of Osaka, including Dotonbori.

There is also a plan where you can experience Ebisu Tower in 360 VR video. Enjoy a magnificent view, day or night, at any time, by wearing VR goggles when you board. Get a look at places that are harder to see when sitting down, as if you were really floating in mid-air. This is one experience you do not want to miss out on.

  • Don Quijote Dotonbori
    ドン・キホーテ道頓堀店
    • Address 7-13 Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0084
    • Phone Number 06-4708-1411
    • Hours: 11:00AM-11:00PM
      Price: Regular Pass: 600 yen; VR Gondola: 1,600 yen
      Regular Holiday: Open year-round (may close temporarily in inclement weather)
      Official Site: http://www.donki.com/kanransha/

4. Wave at Onlookers from the Tombori River Cruise

4. Wave at Onlookers from the Tombori River Cruise
Source: Tombori River Cruise

The town of Dotonbori is interesting enough just walking through it, but another fun way to enjoy it is from the river, aboard the Tombori River Cruise. The cruise is 20 minutes long, but stands out amongst Osaka's most famous tourist spots. If you see people waving their hands, feel free to crack a smile and wave right back. It is a very relaxing ride.

The cruise also operates in the event of light rain, in which case it is recommended to bring a raincoat, as using an umbrellas is not permitted on board. Because it is an open boat, be careful not to wet your belongings.

Boarding tickets are same-day only, so reservations are not possible. You can purchase your boarding ticket at the reception desk on the 1st floor of Don Quijote Dotonbori on the north bank of the Tombori River Walk.

  • Tombori River Cruise
    とんぼりリバークルーズ
    • Address Soemoncho, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0084
    • Hours: Weekdays: 1:00PM-9:00PM, departing every hour and half-hour

      Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays/Busy seasons: 11:00AM-9:00PM, departing every hour and half-hour

      Price: Junior high and older: 1,000 yen (tax included)
      Regular Holidays: July 13(Mon), 24(Fri/national holiday), 25(Sat) (2020)
      Official Site: http://www.ipponmatsu.co.jp

5. Make Your Own Takoyaki! Takoyaki Takomasa

5. Make Your Own Takoyaki! Takoyaki Takomasa
Photo: Ganso Takomasa Co .,LTD

Takoyaki is a signature special dish of Osaka. There are many takoyaki shops in Dotonbori, however Takoyaki Takomasa is particularly famous thanks to its commercial. You can eat in as well as take out.

One recommendation is the 'Takoyaki making experience,' where you can grill and eat your own takoyaki. Even if you have no experience, Takomasa's staff will help you grill it to perfection. Cook them yourself, and enjoy while they are hot and delicious. Advance reservations are required.

  • Takomasa Dotonbori Main Store
    たこ昌 道頓堀本店
    • Address 1-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0071
    • Phone Number 06-6212-3363
    • Hours: 11:00AM-9:00PM (L.O. 8:30PM)
      Price: 1,800 yen (Takoyaki making experience)
      Regular Holiday: Thursdays
      Official Site: http://takomasa.co.jp

6. Make Your Own Food Samples! Design Pocket

6. Make Your Own Food Samples! Design Pocket
Photo: Design Pocket Osaka

Design Pocket is a shop where you can experience making your own food samples, located in Sennichimae Dogayasuji Shopping Street to the south of Dotonbori. Food samples, the plastic food models you see lining the front of restaurants, have long supported the development of Japanese food culture. Design Pocket is a specialty shop for such food samples.

The food sample making experience is held every day. You can make takoyaki, sushi, seasonal gelato, and tart samples. The experience takes 30 to 60 minutes. Children as young as 3 are allowed to participate when accompanied by a parent. Please check official website for details and the schedule. You can also make reservations from the site.

  • Design Pocket Osaka Main Store
    デザインポケット 大阪本店
    • Address 10-11 Nambasennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0071
    • Phone Number 06-6586-6251
    • Hours: 9:30AM-6:00PM
      Price: 2,980-3,480 yen (tax included)
      Regular Holiday: Open daily
      Official Site: https://www.designpocket.net

7. Become an Ukiyo-e Artist! Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum

7. Become an Ukiyo-e Artist! Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
Photo: Kamigata Ukiyo-e Museum

You can also experience traditional Japanese culture at Dotonbori. Kamigata Ukiyo-e Museum is a facility that displays Ukiyo-e, a popular form of Japanese art. Ukiyo-e in Edo (Tokyo) was mostly centered on beauty portraits and landscapes, while Ukiyo-e in Kamigata (Osaka) was mainly of Kabuki actors who were popular in Dotonbori. Because portraits were drawn as-is and not beautified, many of the images are familiar and recognizable.

At the hall, you can make your own woodblock Ukiyo-e prints. What you will do is called 'suri,' the final part of the process, in which you color the woodblock and copy it onto Japanese paper. You do not need prior experience, and even first-timers can enjoy. You can choose 3 to 4 colors, and bring home your finished product. Please make reservations at least 3 days in advanced. Admission is first come, first served. There are also Japanese-style accessories for sale on the 1st floor museum shop.

  • Kamigata Ukiyoe Museum
    上方浮世絵館
    • Address 1-6-4 Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0076
    • Phone Number 06-6211-0303
    • Hours: 11:00AM-6:00PM (Last admission 5:30PM)
      Price: 500 yen (tax included); Experiences as 500, 800, and 1,000 yen (3 courses)
      Regular Holiday: Mondays (Following day in the event of national holiday)
      Official Site: http://kamigata.jp/kmgt/

8. Hozenji Mizukake Fudoson: Splash Some Water and Make a Wish

8. Hozenji Mizukake Fudoson: Splash Some Water and Make a Wish
cowardlion / Shutterstock.com

Hozenji Yokocho, located in the precincts of Hozenji Temple, which has been around for 400 years, is a great place to see the traditional Japanese landscape. Unlike the busy downtown streets, it features cobblestone, lanterns, and the smell and white smoke of incense.

Within the precincts is Mizukake Fudoson, often called 'O-Fudosan' by the local people. It has a unique appearance, covered with moss. People pay respects by sprinkling water on the mossy Fudosan.

Through many fires and damage from wars, Fudosan is believed to have continuously watched over the people here. If we join hands in gratitude, we can all receive its blessings indiscriminately.

  • Hozenji Yokocho
    法善寺横丁
    • Address 1 Namba, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0076
    • Phone Number 06-6211-4152
    • Hours: No set visiting hours; Office: 8:00AM-11:00PM
      Fee: Free
      Regular Holiday: Open daily
      Official Site: https://houzenji.jp

9. Dotonbori Tsuribori: A Fishing Game Experience

9. Dotonbori Tsuribori: A Fishing Game Experience
Image Source: Dotonbori Tsuribori

There is even a fishing pond amidst all the entertainment of Dotonbori. Dotonbori Tsuribori is located in the basement of a game center. You can catch carp, catfish, sturgeon, and eel.

You can purchase a 60 or 30 minute ticket to catch carp, catfish, and sturgeon in the large pond. It includes the fishing rod and set-up, plus food. Eel fishing is unlimited, as long as the rod does not get cut or tangled. You can't eat the fish you catch nor take them home, but it is fun to play just for fun. It's something fun to do even on rainy days, and not only adults, but even children can enjoy.

  • Dotonbori Tsuribori
    道頓堀つりぼり
    • Address B1F 1-6-9 Dotombori, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0071
    • Hours: 10:00AM-11:30PM (Last entry 10:30PM)
      Price: Large Pond: 30 min, 770 yen; 60 min, 1,080 yen; Eel fishing: 660 yen
      Regular Holiday: Open year-round (Occasionally closed for maintenance)
      Official Site: http://doutonbori-turibori.com
      doutonbori-turibori

10. Ichibiri-an Dotombori Honten: Lots of Unique Osaka Souvenirs

10. Ichibiri-an Dotombori Honten: Lots of Unique Osaka Souvenirs
Image Source: Ichibiri-an Dotonbori Shop

Souvenir shopping is one of the many pleasures of travel. Next to the famous Kuidaore Taro doll, one of the beloved moving figures of Dotonbori, is the Naniwa Meibutsu Ichibiri-an Dotonbori Shop. Nearly 4,000 cute, interesting, and unusual items line the store at all times. It's a fun place, even to just look around. Enjoy shopping for unique Dotonbori and Osaka souvenirs as a memory of your trip, or as a gift for family and friends. There is even an official Kuidaore Taro shop, which you will only find here in Japan.

  • Naniwa Meibutsu Ichibirian Dotonbori Store
    なにわ名物いちびり庵 道頓堀店
    • Address 1-7-21 Dotombori, Nakaza-kuidaore Bldg. 1F, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka, 542-0071
    • Phone Number 06-6212-5104
    • Hours: 10:00AM-10:00PM
      Regular Holiday: Open daily
      Official Site: http://www.ichibirian.jp

Dotonbori is a bright, lively place with a strong sense of Osaka's hospitality. It is the center of Osaka's food culture, and known as the town to “eat-till-you-drop.” However, the most appealing factor is probably its fun-loving, people-friendly atmosphere. Once a town that was lined with a series of small theaters, Dotonbori maintains that atmosphere, even to this day.

Original Japanese by: Hifumi Isokazu

*The above article is based on information from May 2020

Recommended Restaurants in the Area

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Search