Loud and proud nightlife hub Dotonbori
Dotonbori prides itself as the most popular entertainment district in Osaka; Encompassing both sides of the Dotonbori canal, the area is home to many of Osaka’s signature nightlife destinations.
The best way to begin your adventure there is with a walk along the main streets to get to know the area; explore and take in all the noise, bright lights and people.
Be sure to snap a few pics along the way: two prime photo locations are under the massive robocrab above the Kani Doraku restaurant, and the triumphant Glico Man, thrusting his neon arms into the air above Ebisu-bashi Bridge.
Then the real fun begins; along the way, you’ll see the countless restaurants, clubs and bars, as well as clothing stores to be enjoyed. A must-try in Dotonbori is takoyaki, a ballshaped, savoury ‘cake-pop’ snack.
Their gooey centres are stuffed with octopus, and as one of Osaka’s most-loved local foods, are great fun to make for young and old. Choose your own ingredients, and cook and eat your own original takoyaki at Konamon Museum on the main street of Dotonbori. Small takoyaki grills are set up in its restaurant area – you’ll be leaving full of energy to keep exploring…
A quiet oasis away from the crowds: Hozenji Yokocho
The alley was named after the Hozenji Temple, which is located right at the end. Much like the alley itself, the Hozenji Temple is only a small establishment.
The main feature is the moss-covered Buddhist statue of Fudo Myoo, or ‘the Immovable One’. Visitors to the alley stop by to bathe it with water, and wish for success in business and love.
This quaint, narrow alley is filled with hidden gems. You can expect to find all kinds of eateries here; from izakaya-style pubs, to okonomiyaki pancake restaurants, and quiet bars.
The whole atmosphere is very old style, and contrasts strikingly with the surrounding Dotonbori area. If you’re after something a little more intimate, this is the place to be.
Oasis in the air Floating Garden Observatory
Among all of them however, one is particularly noteworthy: the Umeda Sky Building. Atop the towers of this unique structure, the Floating Garden Observatory provides one of Osaka’s most stunning viewpoints.
A mid-air, seethrough escalator will lead you to its entrance on the 39th floor; ascend again to the 40th floor, and amazing views across the city skyline. The observatory is laid out with comfortable areas to rest, chat and admire the view from, and with family-friendly dining and bar facilities, it’s always an entertaining place to enjoy during the day or night.
At sunset, the Floating Garden Observatory is perfectly romantic. However, the sunset view has nothing on what follows afterwards, when the city is lit up with sci-fi brilliance. Take the ‘Sky Walk’, which traverses 360 degrees around the rooftop, and sparkles like the Milky Way – mirroring the gorgeous view below.
The future of shopping Grand Front Osaka
Just a few steps away from Osaka Station is Grand Front Osaka – yet another monument to the vibrant, innovative character of Osaka.
Much more than your run-of-the-mill shopping centre, this place is an all-encompassing, comprehensive lifestyle centre. Before you know it, an entire day can fly by here, with ample opportunity to shop ‘til you drop. There are also futuristic exhibits to be enjoyed over at ’The Lab’, in the Knowledge Capital area. From electric cars to virtual reality fitting rooms, it’s a fun spot for people of all ages.
However you may spend the day at Grand Front Osaka, don’t miss the dining experience up on its Umekita Floor. All 16 restaurants here are open until 4 am (Sun 11 pm), and with tables set up all around, dishes can be ordered from any of them. This is a one-ofa- kind experience that your taste buds should not be deprived of.
Enjoy a tasty Japanese meal at Shirasukujira