Namba is the major entertainment and tourist district in Osaka. It is abundant in pathways and side streets of shopping, restaurants, bars, and pachinko stations. It is home to Dotonbori canal and Ebisubashi bridge. There are many bridges that cross over the canal, but Ebisubashi is the most popular for tourists. It’s the one below the running Glico man, who is a must-include in your selfies.
Covered pathways that are always full of people. Most of the tourists were Asians, including Japanese tourists. It’s a great place to go shopping.
These pathways have a PA system overhead. Guidelines for proper tourist etiquette is repeated in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. You are advised to walk on the left side of the path, don’t congregate in groups and block the middle of the path, don’t litter, etc.
There are gigantic posters hanging from the ceiling when you are about to approach Ebisubashi. It will tell you that you are 250 metres away, etc. If Ebisubashi is what you seek, just keep walking straight when you see these signs.
On my first outing in Osaka, I walked to Ebisubashi as if under a spell. I mean, that’s where everyone was headed. When I got out of the covered path and turned my head to the right, this is what I saw. More shops, restaurants and bars. It’s easy to find translated menus and signs here. Tourists are their business.
These humongous 3D signs tell you exactly what the shop is selling. In this case, pan fried dumplings.
This restaurant specializes in blowfish. You can tell… from the huge blowfish. I heard that this kind of signage culture was started to entice tourists who didn’t know how to read Japanese.
Got side tracked by the huge signs of food. OK, back to Ebisubashi.
Dotonbori canal, as seen from Ebisubashi bridge.
You can head down to the water by using the stairs on either sides of any of the bridges. Pictured here is Ebisubashi, as seen from the canal walkway.
The famous Glico man. Not sure why it’s so popular.
I saw a homeless man with a cardboard sign asking for money, sitting on Ebisubashi. Here were all these tourists, taking pictures after pictures of themselves, with their friends and families, doing the Glico-man pose. Selfie sticks and smiles everywhere, except for that corner of the bridge with the blank-faced homeless man. It looked like he was part of a different dimension.
I remember being really confused, because there was a young guy who was clearly not homeless, idly holding up the cardboard sign, while the homeless man sat beside him, looking very, very homeless. They looked unrelated in every way. The next few times I saw the homeless man, the young guy wasn’t there. Was he just a nice guy that was temporarily helping out, by holding the sign? I will never know.
Snacking on a cro-taiyaki. It’s taiyaki with croissant dough and there are several flavors of filling available. I had heard about this craze that started in Korea, but I prefer the classic taiyaki.
I explored some smaller streets in the area until it got dark. There are lots of businesses in these streets as well, but they are smaller and not as many English translations.
Dotonbori in the night. Taken on a less popular bridge.
Beer goggle shot from Ebisubashi
When you’re sober.
You come across some shrines when you explore the area. But I doubt anyone comes to Namba for shrines.
More streets near the canal area.
Circling back to Ebisubashi
The boat ride is quite popular. You can purchase tickets at a booth on the canal.
The running Glico man. He stays immobile, but the background changes with different scenery and the road moves ahead, to give the illusion of the man running on the road.
Holy crap, there were turf wars because people wanted to take selfies with this guy. You really had to wait, and squeeze in between cracks of people on the bridge to get a nice shot with him.
I didn’t see the big deal with this, but I am guilty of taking a few casual selfies with him. Herd mentality.
You don’t need street lights when you have commercial signs that illuminate the streets.
This is what happens when you disable your browser’s ad blocker.
Another shot of Dotonbori, because it’s so pretty at night.
Where there is beauty, there is…erm…non-beauty. It’s not rare to see puke puddles at night. I also saw some drunk people fighting. In the case I saw, they weren’t fighting seriously, just playfully wrestling each other, but they were clearly drunk.
Taken while I was on the stairs to get down to the canal walkway.
Larger-than-life store signs. This one replicated an amusement park ride.
As seen through the window of a fish-catching place by the canal.
The canal was my favorite part.
Line-up for Ichiran ramen, a chain of ramen shops. Customisable ramen. Famous for having one-person, library-style cubby hole booths where you don’t get to see the employees that serve you. There is always a wait. People will line up in the rain and wait an hour and a half!
I came back to Dotonbori again and again. I remember fantasizing about Japan while looking at colorful pictures of Dotonbori posted by other tourists, along with some other pictures that used to fuel my desire to go to Japan. And now, I was here.
Dotonbori and Ebisubashi in the morning can be a depressing sight. There is garbage strewn everywhere because some people don’t bother to clean up after themselves.
So much food nearby. Waiting in line for takoyaki.
Freshly cooked takoyakiiiiiiiii (octopus balls).
5 for 350 yen, 10 for 650 yen. There are lots of places that sell takoyaki. Price, size and quality differ quite a bit, but many claim to be the “best takoyaki in Osaka” or “No. 1!”. Some of them must be lying.
Back on the canal. Sitting on a bench with a beer and takoyaki. Public drinking is legal in Japan.
I wish these signs had translations. What is up on that 9th floor?
Funny snacks featuring popular comedians. I’m sure the snacks are legitimately delicious; it’s the packaging that gets you the laughs. I don’t even know these guys and I was entertained.
Sure looks different at daytime.
It was really common to see students out and about on school trips.
They ate at Chibo lol
Manga book store! So old school. Most people read manga on their phones now. I guess if you’re a fan, you’d want physical copies. I loved Ebisubashi and Dotonbori and all, but I also liked the quieter streets that had a more everyday-life vibe.