In recent years Osaka has become one of the most popular destinations for tourists visiting Japan. You can experience historical Osaka Castle, enjoy world-class entertainment at “Universal Studios Japan”, and savor the arts at locations such as the Osaka Art Museum. Osaka is full of great things to see, and Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori are some of the must-visit locations for sightseers.
Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori are known as “eat-till-you-drop towns.” This area has vast restaurant districts, with shops offering Osaka’s famous takoyaki and okonomiyaki, ramen shops that are popular with overseas visitors, crab cuisine, sushi, and so much more. The huge 3D shop signs on each shop will whet your appetite even more. You can also “have your fill” of shopping, as there are many souvenir shops, drugstores selling makeup and daily items, and huge discount stores that sell anything you could imagine.
Japan Night Walk Tour
However, shopping and food aren’t the only things that Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori have to offer. There are quite a few secret spots that you won’t find in any guidebook. That’s where the Japan Night Walk Tour comes in; this tour was founded on the idea “We want to show visitors even more of Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori’s greatness.”
The Japan Night Walk Tour is a 45-minute walking tour that travels around Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori. The guides on this tour know everything there is to know about Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori, and will introduce you to places that most Osaka locals don’t even know about. The guides are also very proficient in English, so even people who don’t understand Japanese can comfortably join in on a tour.
How to participate in a Japan Night Walk Tour
In order to join in on a Japan Night Walk Tour, you should head to the reception counter located at the Tombori River Walk promenade along the Dotonbori River. It’s located right next to the Tombori River Cruise reception counter, another highly popular attraction.
The Japan Night Walk Tour runs 4 times per day (excluding the New Year period). The start times are at 18:00, 19:00, 20:00 and 21:00. It is requested that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour. Each tour takes a maximum of 20 people. No reservation is required so you can easily drop by in the middle of your shopping/eating trip.
The fee is 1,000 yen per person, and all participants will receive a special discount coupon for use at Dotonbori’s souvenir shops. They also have a Wi-Fi router set up, so you can conveniently access Wi-Fi during the tour.
The Japan Night Walk Tour is also particularly well-known as a point of cultural exchange. Pictures of the tour are uploaded all the time to their Facebook page, so if you’re interested why not check it out?
A brief introduction to the tour
The person who served as our guide for the tour was Ms. Hatanaka. Actually, Ms. Hatanaka is a popular guide for the Tombori River Cruise! Ms. Hatanaka says “We strive to not only guide visitors around, but create an atmosphere like you’re just walking around with friends. We’re always happy when people become big fans of Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori after one of our tours.”
The tour starts from “Don Quixote”, located along the “Tombori River Walk” promenade. Joining us on our tour this time was a lady from the state of Minnesota, and the tour started at 19:00.
The little temple at the back of a pathway
Did you know about the temple located at the very center of Dotonbori? The pathway to it is very easy to miss if you’re busy shopping, but at the back of this tiny pathway stands a small temple wrapped in silence. We were told about the way you go about visiting this shrine. It was fun to get some fortune slips as well. Because the tour takes you to the shrine after the sun has set, the paper lanterns produce a very emotional atmosphere.
Osaka’s tiny history museum!?
A tiny path so narrow that two people couldn’t squeeze past each other. This is actually a tiny “museum” dedicated to the history of Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori; this museum features exhibits such as reproduction maps of the cityscapes of Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori as they would have appeared in the Taisho Period to early Showa Period. A famous Japanese fairy tale originated in this area of Japan, so we recommend you take a good look at your surroundings as you proceed.
And there’s so much more!
We don’t want to spoil the tour for you so we can’t tell you everything, but there are plenty more of Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori’s hidden attractions to see. You may think Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori have nothing but shopping and food to offer, but why not add some sightseeing spice to your visit with the Japan Night Walk Tour?
Official website: JAPAN NIGHT WALK TOUR