|Fanciful Dotonbori Street|
Our first stop in Osaka was Dotonbori. In fact, we purposefully selected a hotel that was near to this famous street and the plan was to visit it whenever we had the opportunities. Dotonbori is famous for it's countless restaurants and the interesting and life-like mechanized billboards and neonlights that adorned their facade. It is known as a gastronomic street for great reasons. Just name any Japan delicacy, they will surely have it- Ramen, Takoyaki (Octopus balls), Okonomiyaki, Kushikatsu, Gyoza, Tonkatsu-don, Sushi, Sashimi, Udon, Unadon and the list continues on. We were spoilt for choices when our stomachs groaned for food and the usual complaints were the limited capacities they held.
|Mascots of Dotonbori|
The Glico Man (aka The Running Man)
This was our first stop at Dotonbori. Located near the always busy and crowded Ebisubashi bridge, the Glico Man billboard was stationed here since 1935. For those who do not know, the Glico group is the Company which produced the famous Pocky stick snacks. There are flavors which are unique to Osaka stores only. They will serve as good souvenirs for your loved ones back home . We would take photos with this "celebrity" in similar running posture which earmarked the commencement of our interesting trip. I personally feel this is a "Must"for everyone that visit Dotonbori :-) !
|The Glico Man|
Kani Doraku (The Giant Moving Crab Restaurant)
There are in fact three of these at Dotonbori. One was situated near the start of the street, one in the middle and the last the end. The famous and prominent one is the restaurant at start of the street with the largest mechanized crab. It is just opposite the Glico Man and I strongly recommend you have at least a meal here during your visit. Kani Doraku serves one of the best and freshest crab cuisine in Japan. It is not cheap but worth every cents that you will be paying. We certainly enjoyed ourselves here and the crabs were certainly one of the best that I have tasted. One tip here is that you have to reserve early (at the counter near the entrance) in order to get a place in this famous restaurant.
|Kani Doraku Moving Crab Billboard|
The Ramen Restaurants (Shi-ten-noh 四天王, Kinryu 金龍, Ichiran 一蘭, Kamukura 神座)
Your visit at Dotonbori will not be completed without tasting at least one of the famous Ramen here. I had in fact tasted all the above mentioned and it was a struggle to decide which is the best. After a democratic family poll, we decided our favorite is Ichiran! The average price of the Ramen is about 800 to 1000 Yen per normal bowl. They tasted especially good during the cold weather period and our family had at least 1 Ramen meal everyday when we were here. All the mentioned Ramen restaurants are actually clustered together somewhere in the middle of the street and you will have little problem finding them. The most easily recognizable Ramen restaurant is Kinryu with it's formidable looking Dragon above their outlets.
|The Ramen Restaurants|
|Charlotte and Alison feasting on Kinryu Ramen|
Osaka Ohsho Restaurant (大阪王将)
The store famous for it's Gyoza (dumplings with pork meat) is easily spotted with it's big succulent looking mammoth Gyoza above it's facade. Osaka Ohsho has actually expanded their presence in other countries and we have tried the Gyoza back in Singapore and Hong Kong. But nothing beat trying the real McCoy in Dotonbori, Osaka. We gave two thumbs up for these delicacies and agreed unanimously it tasted better than the ones we tried elsewhere before. The price was around 210 Yen for 5 Gyoza.
|Osaka Ohsho Restaurant|
|Queue to buy my favorite Gyoza|
|Can you resist the succulent Gyoza?|
Acchichi Honpo Takoyaki
|Acchichi Honpo Takoyaki in the background|
|Waiting for the sizzling hot Takoyaki|
|Be Careful! They are HOT!!!|
|Tombori River Cruise|
|River view during boat ride|
|Family Photo in boat|
As mentioned before, one article was too limited to cover Dotonbori. I just stated on those that I felt you must try if you plan a visit here. This will serve as a good guidance when you are mesmerized and wondered where to start in the maze of restaurants and shops.