Dotonbori enjoys a long and rich history. In 1612, the merchant Yasui Doton invested his life savings in a project to divert the Umezu River into a canal system that would link the Umezu to the Kizugawa River.
Doton never got to complete his project, however. Work on the canal system was halted by war, and Doton was killed in the Siege of Osaka in 1615. Within a year, Doton’s cousins completed the canal and named it in honor of their fallen relative – Dotonbori, meaning “Doton Canal”.
Foodies sum up Dotonbori’s obsessive food culture in one word – kuidaore, which means “eat till you drop” or “spend so much on food that you fall into financial ruin.” Food lovers adore the rich variety that Dotonbori has to offer.
Some kuidaore fan favorites include Hariju, a proprietor of Japanese beef since 1948; Zubora-ya, specializing in the risky pufferfish dish, fugu; Kushikatsu Daruma, a favorite kebab shop since 1929; Kinryu Ramen, with three locations along the boardwalk; and Kukura, which features octopus dumplings. You’ll also find ample street food of all types and flavors.
The Dotonbori food district is also known for its famous signage. The Kani Douraku crab restaurant is famously advertised by a giant crab on the building’s storefront, complete with lifelike motion. Kani Douraku is so popular that wait times may be as long as three hours; advance reservations are recommended.