Japan Atlas: Communities 


Location: Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture



A bustling entertainment area for the masses then and now

Dotombori is an entertainment district along the southern bank of the Dotombori River in Osaka, the largest city in western Japan. The slowly flowing Dotombori River at night reflects the neon lights, creating a unique atmosphere.

The name Dotombori was given to praise Doton Seian, who began excavation of this canal. The Dotombori neighborhood has flourished since the Edo Period (1603-1869) as a theater district. At one time, the sound of shamisen (Japanese traditional three-string instrument) and drums could be heard both morning and night, and houseboats carrying theater-goers could be seen going back and forth along the Dotombori River.

Even today, there are many entertainment halls and movie theaters in Dotombori. Still, the most thriving businesses in Dotombori are eating and drinking establishments. It is said that the food in Osaka is so good that people drive themselves into poverty by spending too lavishly on dining. Dotombori, always brimming with energy, is the center of Osaka dining.

The area is versatile enough to meet anyone's taste in food. The most common are restaurants that serve inexpensive and good-tasting everyday dishes in large portions. There are also restaurants that serve unique dishes prepared by creative chefs, restaurants that serve expensive and deluxe cuisine, and others that specialize in unusual ingredients.

Not only do these restaurants strive to offer good-tasting food, but they have also created eye-catching displays and signs, another indication of how much they want to please their customers. With enormous moving crab signs, neon signs of people, and mechanical clowns that invite people inside, it is fun just to look around in Dotombori. 

Photos: Dotombori (Osaka City)

Unauthorized reproduction of the photos in this page is prohibited. 

Related Links:


Web Japan