Japan Journal: Happiness in Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi

Leaving the cold city of Nagoya, we went to the even colder Osaka. It seemed like there was no winning in the battle against the cold; I left Nagoya all bundled up and somewhat comfy, I arrived in Osaka freezing. With our destination for the day Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi-kita, food trip and shopping centrale of Osaka, I remained under-layered for our outdoor adventure. Two heat packs notwithstanding.

Read more: How the heat in Tokyo could make you underestimate winter in Japan.

Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Dotonbori: Food Mecca of Osaka

From our hotel in Osaka we took the nearby JR Line at the Shin-Imamiya Station. We got off at the JR Namba Station and followed the crowd walking to the famous Dotonbori food district. Needless to say we were overwhelmed by the choices of restaurants and the crowd that awaited us there.

Namba Hips Osaka Japan

Namba Hips. Check out this outdoor wall climbing facility on your way to Dotonbori. Must be one wicked view from there!

Dotonbori Sign Osaka Japan

Here we go! Here we go!

Crowded Dotonbori Osaka Japan

So many choices, so small stomachs!

Giant Gyoza of Osaka Ohsho in Dotonbori, Osaka, Japan

The giant gyoza display of Osaka Ohsho in Dotonbori. I would’ve insisted in eating here had gyoza not proven itself in Tokyo.

But if there was one thing I needed to check off from my list, it was this: eat okonomiyaki and takoyaki in Osaka. I had tried both in the Philippines and I must say that, although lots of people rave about them, I hadn’t been impressed. So I made it my mission in Japan to try these two at their birthplace. I was not disappointed. I immensely enjoyed the takoyaki we had at Konamon Museum and the okonomiyaki at Takohachi. I just loved how the onion shaving would unceasingly wave back and forth, beckoning me to have some and have some more.

Giant Octopus Sign of Konamon Museum Dotonbori Osaka Japan

The giant octopus sign of Konamon Museum signifies the main ingredient. 😉

Takoyaki in progress at Konamon Museum Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Yummy takoyaki in progress.

Takoyaki Display Konamon Museum Dotonbori Osaka Japan

The expected outcome. Builds up anticipation.

Plain Takoyaki Konamon Museum Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Plain Takoyaki (650 JPY) – made with octopus. Clean tasting with no fishy undertones.

Shrimp Takoyaki Konamon Museum Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Shrimp Takoyaki (750 JPY): Yummy. Yummy. Yummy.

Bacon and Cheese Takoyaki Konamon Museum Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Bacon and Cheese Takoyaki (750 JPY): The best. So creamy. Eat it while it’s hot!

TakoHachi Dotonbori Osaka Japan

The chosen venue for the okonomiyaki taste test.

Okonomiyaki at TakoHachi Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Pork and egg okonomiyaki (880 JPY) – Thick grill-it-yourself pancake specialty of Osaka.

Two meals would not be enough if there’s no dessert. And what better dessert was there to have in winter than ice cream? We raided the nearby Family Mart for some only-in-Japan ice creams and I totally made a great choice with my ice cream. It was like cold chocolate in its creaminess. Its blend of sweetness and bitterness was just right and I was sad to see the container empty.

Family Mart Ice Cream Dotonbori Osaka Japan

The best winter companion. 😉

Read more: How to apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa.

Shinsaibashi: Shopping Center in Osaka

After having our fill with food, we walked towards the Shinsaibashi shopping center, hoping to score some great deals and maybe find a cinema. We found this Moca Store that was having a sale and we joined in the fray of the mostly Japanese crowd. I bought earmuffs, thereby ending my ears’ sufferings.

A few steps away from the Moca Store I suddenly noticed a very welcoming sight: Toho Cinemas. We had been talking about catching Star Wars in Japan, what with my penchant for watching movies in foreign countries. We got so lucky because Star Wars had just opened in cinemas and it was already available in Japan! According to my friend, Hollywood movies are usually shown late in Japan. I guess it’s because they have to translate it and/or dub it first before releasing it.

Toho Cinemas Osaka Japan

Eureka! We’re watching a movie!


True to the vending machine spirit of Japan, getting tickets at Toho Cinemas also entailed transacting with a machine. We were all surprised though that 3D glasses were to be bought together with the ticket (100 JPY), unlike in the Philippines where you just borrow and return them. No more scratched and oily glasses!

Toho Movie Theater Osaka Japan

Star Wars Tickets Toho Cinemas Osaka Japan

We remained updated even though we’re in Japan.

We still had a bit of time before the movie so we checked out Uniqlo first which was located on the lower levels of the building (I think we were in Miura). We were no longer transferring hotels so we were all excited at the idea of shopping. However, since I had to think of luggage space (which I ran out of because of my purchases in Tokyo), I only ended up buying heat tech socks. Yeah, I built my winter wear in Japan. Haha!

Popcorn Toho Cinemas Osaka Japan

What is a movie without popcorn?

Ninja Moves Toho Cinemas Osaka Japan

Stealth photo of what the insides look like.

Star Wars Osaka Japan

Just in case you don’t know the letter behind me. Hahaha!

Read more: The wild deer of the Nara Park.

It was cold and getting colder still as the night came and we all wanted some ramen. Ramen at night? Why not! We had been doing it almost daily during our entire stay in Japan. And for our ramen needs, we heeded the advise of Honey and ate at the Kinryu Ramen, across the Konamon Museum and distinguished by a green dragon on its roof. The line was looong! And the best thing about the line was that we were the only foreigners there! We were pretty confident that we were in good hands.

Giant Displays Dotonbori Osaka Japan

More giant displays. More formidable at night.

Long line at Kinryu Ramen Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Check out the line at Kinryu Ramen.

Vendo for Ramen Kinryu Ramen Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Ordering is done via vendo – nope, the ramen does not flow from there.

Cooks Kinryu Ramen Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Order is ready!

Two types of ramen Kinryu Ramen Dotonbori Osaka Japan

There are only two types of ramen here: the regular amount of meat and the more meat.

More meat ramen Kinryu Ramen Dotonbori Osaka Japan

Of course I ordered more meat. 😉

Read more: Nabana no Sato: The best winter illumination in Japan.

Thus our day ended with our stomachs full, our hands or shoulders heavy with shopped items and our pockets just a wee bit emptier. And for me, that constitutes a really good day. ^ ^

Dotonbori Canal Osaka Japan

Dotonbori Canal

Bye Dotonbori

Bye, Dotonbori

Read more: My winter adventures in the land of the rising sun.

December 19, 2015

***Photos were taken using iPhone 6 and GoPro Hero 4 Silver

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Jayce Cairo

Jayce is a linguaphile who speaks four languages and currently works as a translator to finance her various interests. Scoring very high on “Openness to Experience” on the Big Five Personality Test, she is an avid globetrotter who aspires to retire at 35 and travel for the rest of her life.

One Comment:

  1. Pingback: Japan Diaries: Dotonburi & Shinsaibashi | this is me

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