Japan 2016 : Part 18 – Dotonbori & Ichiran Ramen

This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.

As of today, we’ve been here in Japan for a week, and we seem to be getting easily tired from all the walking and shopping. So today we had to take a short nap at the hotel after the morning’s long itinerary. It was evening when we went out again to for dinner and more walking. Our destination? The most popular place in Osaka – Dotonbori!

Dotonbori is a long shopping and foodie street in the centre of the city. It is situated next along a river and is surrounded by many shopping streets and landmarks.

First, we took the subway to get there, and we walked quite a distance to get to Dotonbori. Along the way you can see all the big department stores like Takashiyama and Namba Parks. We had to ask directions a few times from the many people just getting off work.

We finally found the right direction, walking through Ebisubashi Shopping Street to reach Dotonbori. The shopping streets here are super-packed and have many interesting things to see.

(Ebisubashi Shopping Street)

Ebisubashi is quite long, about 3 blocks in length. At the end it joins to Dotonbori, and across the river there’s another even more popular shopping street called Shinsaibashi.

But anyway, before that, time to eat dinner first. For dinner, we were looking for Ichiran Ramen somewhere along here.


It is located in another shopping street parallel to Ebisubashi (sorry, not sure what it is called), just off Dotonbori. Luckily for us, the queue was quite short.

(Ichiran Ramen)

To eat here, you line up to order at the vending machine, take your order chit and go upstairs. There are 3 floors of seating, so find one with empty seats. Then go upstairs, and look for the seating diagrams with lights at the entrance of the floor, denoting the available seats. All seats are booth seats, so you can’t have table to eat with your friends together like in a normal restaurant.

(first, order and pay at the vending machine)

(then find your own booth seat)

Once seated, put your order chit in front of you, and someone will open the hatch and take your order. If you ordered extras, like extra noodles or desserts, they will give you a small tray like the ones you use for condiments. For water, there are cups at your table and you fill water from a dispenser. Soon your ramen will arrive!

(the hatch will open…)

(and your ramen is served!)

So what’s the verdict? BEST. RAMEN. EVER. Seriously. I know some bloggers say that this branch is not as good as the one in Tokyo, but personally, it is so good. Too bad I didn’t get to try it more than once. The broth is thick and creamy, the meat is tasty and not too thick or thin. My daughter and I order the extra noodles and desserts, but we didn’t know we had to place the small trays in the designated spot. So we didn’t get our extras, which was a good thing, cos I was really full after the ramen. They refunded the difference in price for us, that was really nice of them.

After that, we took a little stroll along Dotonbori to take in the sights. This is really the foodie central in Osaka, all the delicacies are represented here. The competition is quite stiff, so they go all out of the way to attract customers by having fancy moving signs and young guys / girls promoters outside their shops.

This takoyaki is always featured in blogs, so its very popular. There wasn’t a queue so we ordered a plate. Watching them prepare the dish is half the fun – it takes a lot of time and attention to make it, so they need to be quick to fill the tray and flip the balls before they burn.

(a famous takoyaki stall)

(fun to watch them cook this)

Takoyaki is octopus balls topped with sauce, cheese and dried bonito flakes. The balls taste great, but I think they sauce was a little too thick for me. Next time will ask for less sauce.

(the finished product…)

My kids were still hungry (plastic stomach) so they bought gyoza from another shop. This one had a queue so I guess it should be good? (that’s a good yardstick of popularity).

(Still hungry? Try Gyoza!)

We soon made our way back and walked across the bridge over the river. From here you can see the famous Glico Man sign.

(the famous Glico man billboard)

Across from Ebisubashi you can see Shinsaibashi shopping street. Can you see the massive crowd??? All the way to the end!!! We had planned to check it out but… maybe tomorrow, during the day, when there are less people…

(Shinsaibashi shopping street. Can you see the crowds??)

But enough for today. Need to go back and sleep for our last day in Osaka tomorrow.

(Christmas lights in the streets of Osaka)

Next – Kuromon Ichiba Market.

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