• Shona McCarthy


(Photos taken by me in Dottonbori, 2017)

When people think of Japan, there are many images that would flood their mind. Samurais, Ninjas, Geishas. Palaces, anime characters, ramen. But when the average tourist lands in Japan, they may sometimes feel disappointed by how modernised and Westernised the contemporary Japan is. To those who feel this way and are visiting Osaka, I recommend a visit to Dotonbori.

(Photo taken by me in Dotonbori, 2017)

It's a strange place, where many of the restaurants, cafes and other fun places will be heavily decorated with giant mascots, foods and animals. I have yet to try the many eateries of Dotombori. But I can tell you that the two must-have dishes are okonomiyaki and takoyaki. If you want to try sushi in the area, keep your eye open for the giant moving crab that appears on the front of a restaurant you'll see as you walk towards the bridge. It has many dishes you can eat made of giant Alaskan crab. While I was there, I was lucky enough to get some photos with a man in a crab costume. But also, I learned an important lesson on Japanese dining etiquette. Believe it or not, in Japan it is considered polite to stand still and eat your food in front of the stall where you bought it. But it is considered rude for you to walk around as you eat that same food. Not only that, but many eateries will provide you with nowhere to sit and eat. Meaning you must stand and eat. And this applies to all foods. Even if they are foods we in the West are used to being portable. Like hotdogs. Or even sealed drinks. This is not a bad thing once you get used to it. But if you aren't prepared for this, it can be a great shock. I have thought that if I was in Japan just to eat, I would bring a small stool with me.

Dotonbori is a favourite place for tourists to take photographs, since everything is so vibrant and lively there. The bright colours. The unique characters.

(Photo taken by me in Dotonbori, 2017)

One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Glico Running Man. He is a mascot for the Glico candy company. But for various reasons, I've never been much interested in having my photo taken with him. I guess I just don't find him interesting enough.

(Photo taken by me in Dotonbori, 2017)

Along the river that flows through Dotonbori, the Tombori-Gawa, it is possible to take boat rides and to eat ice cream and various other dishes. A walk along it can be a good, relaxing activity both for couples and lone-travellers. The eateries that fill Dotonbori are often heavily themed. I may talk in another post about an Owl Cafe I visited in the area.

Dotonbori in general is one of those must see, must eat locations.

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