Quintessentially Osaka: Dotonbori, Namba

Osakans live by the mantra "kuidaore" which translates to eat yourselves to financial ruins. We see that loud and clear especially along Dotonbori, a street that has become so quintessentially Osaka that people see it as the city's symbol. Osaka may not always be on a tourist's list of Japanese city to visit but to insiders and travelers who care about food, Osaka is too important of a city to miss. What Osaka lacks in terms of tourist attractions, it makes up for it in its food and entertainment. People go to Osaka to eat, and they should. And boy, did we have a tremendously good time in this down-to-earth city with people who really know how to live well.

Dotonbori is extremely visual and it is even more so in the evening when the colorful lights come on. Restaurant signs and billboards are very enjoyable to see. Colorful 3-D signs are the norm rather than the exception. Dotonbori is the perfect place to explore Osakan regional specialties. Yatai (street stalls) serve up fresh and steaming hot takoyaki (grilled octopus balls in batter). Restaurants specialize in okonomiyaki (grilled savory pancake) while others focus on fugu (pufferfish). Kushikatsu (deep fried skewers) is another favorite regional specialty. For those who crave kani (crab), the corner restaurant with its signature crab signboard is easily spotted. It's hard to tire of this energized street. You can return again and again yet never eat at the same establishment. Note: Among other regional specialties to look out for are yakiniku, kitsune udon, ikayaki, horumon, hakozushi.

Finish the night off with a walk along the south bank of the Dotonbori canal with more recognizable Osaka symbols such as the famous Glico Running Man. The neon lights from billboards reflect on the waters along the canal at night.

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