Dotonburi Day & Night
Dotonburi was one of those places where I had my 'WOW' tourist moments. The neon signs and brightness of the lights, the bold colors of the advertisements on the backdrop for the dark night sky, was such a stimulating experience. It made me think about Hong Kong and Kowloon, and maybe a bit of Bladerunner. The amazement really comes from the size of these signs and the proximity between you and the gargantuan neon bombs.
The sheer amount of people that are amassed in this area is mind boggling, and kind of stressful. Everyone is trying to fight for space for a selfie snap, or that one perfect photo. People are constantly shifting past you, with a push every now and then. Luckily there was no shoving but no matter how courteous you or they were being, people were always getting in between everyone.
Dotonburi is one of those areas where starting from a certain time in the day, it will just get mad crowded. I went at night and early in the morning, and in my opinion you can get the best experience at night, as long as you are willing to fight the crowd. Speaking of crowds, I remember writing about the theme of lines in one of my previous posts. Well this place is where lines are very prominent. People, or generally tourists, are constantly lining up, especially in front of restaurants. This is one of those 'tourist traps' that I would like to advise people against doing because most of the restaurants that the people line up for are actually very common eateries that you can find around the city. Of course, as a tourist who has limited time, how can you resist a line and the possibility of good food. If you have the internet you can do some research on the popular local eateries, or you can just scope out the type of people in the line. If you see tourists, walk away. If you see the locals, line up.
Besides a few photos and dining, there isn't much exploring to do in this area. It's definitely a great place to have a night out with your buddies. I didn't spend any time on the night life while I was there in Japan because I was trying to maximize my time on the daytime activities so I had to be up early in the morning. However I am still very curious about the local night life because I only hear good things about it.
From Namba station, there is a long indoor arcade, which is like a long corridor of stores and vendors. These arcade corridors are very common throughout Japan, and there were plenty of them in Osaka. This neon sign for a pachinko parlor was really striking, especially for being a brightly lit up neon sign within an indoor area.
I couldn't resist the line being formed in front of this store. Of course the line consisted of mainly foreigners, including me. There was only one choice of ramen and to be honest it wasn't really worth the wait. Plus, you can find this place elsewhere around the neighborhood and beyond where no one is lining up for the food. There is one ramen place that is worth the hype and it's a place called Ichiran. I'll make a post on the food that I had later on and I'll include some information on Ichiran.
I had a snack here for some gyoza, which are basically fried dumplings. They were sub par, but they were cheap.
This chain store. My god, this chain store is one of the most ridiculous places you could go to. You can think of it as a giant, super thrift store, that sells all kinds of goods from electronics, clothing and groceries. It's a great place to pick up souvenirs but you might want to get ready before you enter because this place is hectic. They literally pack the store with aisles all the way down to the teeth, with decorative hand made signs, and constant sales. There is also a repetitive theme song that repeats over and over again until it drills into your soul! I still can't get that song out of my head. Plus, once you enter, the exit is almost impossible to find.