Oh, I love Dotonbori, probably my favorite part in Osaka so far. Dotonbori has everything you could possibly want in a shopping area. This is a very popular tourist attraction for food and shopping. It is always crowded with people, especially at night time. Things to do in Dotonbori:
- Takoyaki and okonomiyaki
People say you are not visiting Osaka without trying out okonomiyaki and takoyaki while in Osaka. There are takoyaki and okonomiyaki food stall everywhere. You could choose whichever you want.
If you want to try something different, there is this Takoyaki place called Kukuru that sells black takoyaki. It is basically takoyaki with black squid ink. The place is easy to find, with the huge octopus sign in front of the store.
- Ichiran Ramen
Every time I pass by Ichiran ramen, there is a long queue waited outside. I heard it is very delicious. I personally have not tried it, but I am sure it is so good. If not, people would not want to wait that long. There is also Ichiran instant noodle that you can purchase in a place like Don Quijote
- Dotombori cruise
There are 2 types of cruises in Dotonbori; Tombori River Cruise and Dotonbori Pirate Cruise. I have only tried the Tombori River Cruise. It was a pretty nice ride along the Dotonbori area. You do not need to book the ticket in advance, just come an hour before or if it is not crowded you can just buy the ticket on the spot.
- Glico Man Sign
This is a very famous sign in Osaka, if you travel to Osaka for the first time, you should take mandatory pictures with the Glico Man sign.
Next, to Dotonbori, there is Shinsaibashi Shopping Street, where you can find everything from a drugstore, Uniqlo, Starbucks, ABC mart, etc. It is within a walking distance from Dotonbori. In Shinsaibashi, I like to visit:
- Abc mart
Do you like sneakers? I am not a sneaker mania, but when I went to ABC Mart I buy a pair of shoes for my son and myself. It is like shoe heaven with different kinds of brands like Nike, Converse or sketchers. Their shoe price is quite affordable too.
I always visit the Lush store whenever I see it. My favorite Lush product is the Magnaminty mask and coffee mask as I already reviewed in this post The Must-Have Lush Mask. Their Bath bomb is also great; I bought a few of them on my last visit to the Lush store.
- Drugstore Haul
There are many drugstores along Dotonbori, the place I often go to are EditionEdion and WEGO. These stores located in the middle of Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi. It has a wide range of product options; I can find all the items I want in my shopping list there. The two stores are in front of each other. The only downside is that both places are crowded with shoppers, so the queue on the cashier is often very long.
- Baby Castella
When I walk around my hotel (I stayed in the Shinsaibashi area) I found this Castella cake place. There are 4 types of castella cake filing; cheese, custard, chocolate, and matcha green. I chose the castella set consist of plain castella one (without filling) with chocolate fondue for 500 Yen. There is also a combination of baby castella and ice cream. My son calls it “jumping cake” because when the cake is ready, the man will take it out so fast that it flies around. LOL.
I eat it on the spot, just beside the baby castella store. In Japan, you rarely find a trash can. People usually eat a snack like this on the spot then give the trash back to the store or bring it home. It is considered rude to eat while walking in Japan.
Jonathan Cafe and dining is the place I like to go to when I am in Dotonbori, they have lots of dessert menu, while I was there I tried their chocolate parfait. Jonathan Cafe and dining are located by the riverside in Dotonbori, so I can enjoy eating parfait while looking at the river.
This one obviously the most commonplace that you can visit with your children to have fun. Even for adults, Universal studio is still a great place to enjoy. It has a lot of rides, the place is really large. The best part for me got to be the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction. you can allocate the whole day to spend in Universal Studio Japan. You will have the best time with your kids there. However, in my opinion, you could maximize your time in Universal Studio Japan if your child is at least 7 years old. I explained why I do not recommend bringing a child below seven years old to Universal Studio Japan in my previous post Visiting Universal Studio Japan with A Toddler
If your kids love the museum, you should visit Osaka Castle. You could learn about Osaka history and artifact. To avoid a long queue, please come earlier around 9-10 am. After 12 pm the queue is insanely long. On a certain floor you will not be allowed to take pictures due to valuable Japan historical items, so pay attention to the warning.
Location: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan
Opening hour: 9 AM – 5 PM
Entrance fee: ¥600
There is another building beside the Osaka’s main castle. The name of that building is Miraiza Osaka in 5 minutes walking distant and located in the same area. There is some restaurants, coffee shop, souvenir shop, and illusion museum. I went to the illusion museum, it is a small museum, 30 minutes is enough to look around in this museum. It can be longer if you watch a magic show in the illusion museum, which only available at a certain time.
Location: next to Osaka Castle
Opening hour: 10 AM – 5.30 PM
Entrance fee: ¥500 for adults and free for Child under age 11
Umeda Sky Building
Location: 1 Chome-1-87 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023, Japan
Opening hour: 9.30 AM – 10.30 PM
Entrance fee: ¥500 for adults and free for Child under age 11
Similar to the Tokyo Tower, it is a high rise building in Osaka. You can see the view of Osaka from above. They sell love locks if you are interested in putting love locks in the top area of the Umeda Sky Building. It has a unique shape of a circle in the middle. For me, Tokyo Skytree is better but it is just a matter of personal preference. The top part of the building is an outdoor a circle bridge, maybe it is better to visit Umeda Sky Building at night time since in a day time is too hot.
Kids Plaza Osaka
Out of all the places I mention in here, my son’s favorite place is Kids Plaza Osaka. It is an indoor playground with 4 levels of attractions, divided into the welcome floor, creativity floor, adventure floor, and discovery floor. This is the biggest indoor playground I have ever seen so far and honestly, one of the best.
Each floor level has its own type of games; it is not only fun but also educative. My son loves adventure and discovery floor. On adventure floor there is “kids town” where kids can run around, climb and slide. Kids will spend a lot of energy here. The kids’ town design is vibrant and amusing.
Next, in the discovery floor consist of lots of scientific games, we spent more time here. So many things to explore in this area, including musical instruments, cultural play (like traditional clothing), building blocks, gravity and learning about animals.
Location: 2 Chome-1-7 Ogimachi, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0025, Japan
Opening hour: 9.30 AM – 5 PM
Spare 3 hours to play in this awesome playground, hopefully, it will be enough for your children because 3 hours seems to goes by too fast for my son. Even after 3 hours of playing around and I told him that we are going home, he cried. Then beg me to stay for 1 more hour.