Dōtonbori

Dōtonbori is an area in Osaka near Namba station and the Nippombashi station. It’s a couple streets of bright lights, food, shopping and entertainment that tends to be crowded. There are famous spots for photos such as across the Ebisubashi bridge where the famous Glico sign of a running man is. Note that it doesn’t light up until later in the evening, so even if it’s dark out and other signs are lit up give it some time. It took me too long to find the bridge and where it is, since I had assumed it was on the main street and wasn’t sure where the river was, which ran parallel to the street I kept walking on.

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There’s a ton of little shops too, you can do some souvenir shopping at Dōtonbori. You’ll find a ton of takoyaki themed items since that is what Osaka is famous for/loves. I suggest Little Osaka, it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Don Quixote which was an absolute nightmare and they have a mini Glico sign outside.

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Food is something that can also be easily found at the Dōtonbori, however it’s a bit overwhelming. A lot of people suggest getting Osaka specialties like street food Takoyaki to snack on while you’re walking, which I did.

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I went to the Dōtonbori Kukuru Konamon-Museum. Where you can make your own takoyaki or have it made for you. You can eat it there or take it to go. I got it to go. I bought their number one seller, a 6 piece “big cut” takoyaki set which cost 650¥. This was the worst choice I could have ever made.

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I loved this idea of meandering around the Dōtonbori while snacking on takoyaki. The line was insanely long and as a single person I didn’t want to take up too much space in their shop. But there’s this thing that I always forget about with takoyaki. They’re molten. In the picture above the bottom of the cardboard was too hot for me to touch and I had to balance it between my purse and hold onto the lid in order to get a picture and not burn myself. The other instrument into my ruination was that it was raining. Not some nice romantic rain but a downpour. Near the takoyaki shop there were seats outside under the lamps but these were just areas of sitting water.

I did what you’re suppose to do. I popped holes in all of them with my disposable chopsticks and waited a bit before tossing one in my mouth. Which instantly brought tears to my eyes. There was nothing I could do. In one hand I had my takoyaki, in the other my umbrella. It took me forever to figure out a way to get my water bottle out of my bag and open it. By which point I was already severely regretting my choices. So I headed for shelter. There’s a maze of covered shopping areas so I went there, put up my umbrella and tried to use it too cool off the bottom of the takoyaki box so I wouldn’t burn my hands and dropped my chopsticks. I’m sure I could have run into a convenience store and gotten another set but at this point I was defeated. I also couldn’t find a trash can for the life of me and ended up popping into a cafe for a cup of tea and threw out the takoyaki and rather gross chopsticks there. Takoyaki isn’t good cold, you have to eat them at the right temperature so they were ruined. It was such a waste.

Long story short, eat at the restaurant/museum, don’t take it to go.

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Rather hungry but still somewhat miserable I decided I was done with Osaka’s favorite snack, takoyaki, and that it was time for some okonomiyaki. I ended up just joining a line in the shopping center where it wasn’t raining at お好み焼「美津の」 or Mizuno.  Mizuno is a popular okonomiyaki restaurant with quite the wait. While you wait in line they pass out menus, though they waited to re-pass out menus until I was nearly ready to go in. I was a bit confused by the wording of their menu since their number 1, most popular item was seasonal/ winter only.

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Turns out seasonal (winter only) meant just the single ingredient in front of it. I ordered their Yamaimo-yaki, which is made with yams. You’re suppose to select two ingredients (meat) to go in it. I picked pork loin and scallops. It was about 1,620¥. A staff member took my order before letting me in, allowing me to skip everyone in front of me because I was by myself. This put me at the bar where it took me awhile to figure out which okonomiyaki was mine and that it was done. They cooked the meat first off to the side so it was ready whenever they added the mayonnaise and sauces.

When you are done with your meal they’ll give you a little bunny. It’s full of toothpicks. If you don’t need it don’t worry. Just grab your bill and head off to the front table to pay your bill. It was pretty good, though I wish I had picked pork belly instead which might have been easier to cut through with my little spatula. The shop is two floors with more seating upstairs for groups. It’s open from 11am until 10 with last order at 9pm.

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