Earlier in the day, we were gallivanting around the Gion District, where the book and movie Memoirs of a Geisha breathed its fiction life. Afterwards, in the afternoon, we spent it walking around the Kiyumizu Temple, where we got some heavy duty shopping done and not a lot of temple-ing. And we capped off our daytime activities with a sky high view of Osaka by shooting up to the top of the Umeda Sky Building.
That night, we were supposed to be on our own for dinner, but our guide took us out for a final stop for the day. With our hotel snuggly located at the end of Dotonburi, it made sense to scour the streets for some good grub. As we walked along the main street, where all the street signs and moving crabs were, you can see a waiting line in front of almost every single restaurant. It didn’t look like we could wrestle our way to the front of the line most especially since it was dead into dinner time.
It was at this time that our guide showed us a little local know-how, we took two turns off of Dotonburi and we fell into a restaurant that is not only significantly cheaper and less crowded (only locals when we got there) but still having that Dotonburi flair.
The tables were traditionally Japanese but with a twist. You can have the option of sitting on the floor Japanese-style, such as how the Happy Meal took. Or if you’re like me, you can stick your extra crispy legs down under the table and have your dinner in a more comfortable (for me) manner.
We were going to have an awesome Sukiyaki dinner. We had a glorious assortment of meats and veggies in front of us and we started with our meal when things have perfectly bubbled away. It wasn’t your traditional hot pot meal in Manila – this was a modest offering of cabbage, mushrooms, beef strips and some sausages. No specially designed fish balls, no marinated beef, no chicken, no assortment of vegetables- it was very basic yet very hearty sukiyaki.
So with hot soup, meat and veggies in our bellies, we were going to lazily walk back through Dotonburi and then back to the hotel.
As we walked back, we finally got to see the fun stuff. There are the small little arcades in and between the restaurants and takoyaki stands. The famous Glico man neon ad greeted us, the crawling crabs took a wave at us, the takoyaki balls seemed to smile to us. It just seemed like a happy and happening place.
Dotonburi is considered as Osaka’s food district and I can understand why. All these visual displays contribute to the whole experience that is Dotonburi. Also, expect everything to be tourist-y priced though. Just like our little Sukiyaki dinner, you can just take a couple of corners away from Dotonburi to be able to experience the same thing for a much more affordable price.
Dotonburi Favorites You Might Want to Try:
1) Takoyaki – squishy and piping hot octopus balls
2) Okonomiyaki – pancake stuffed with a lot of different things . think savory and very thick crepe
3) Udon – noodles traditional in Japan
4) Turkish Ice Cream – I guess wherever you go and there’s a Turkish Ice Cream stand, there is love and laughter