Osaka Quest:Dotonbori and Hozenji
Ebisubashi (Ebisu bridge), Dotonbori (Doton moat)
Dotonbori and Ebisubashi are well-known as bustling areas. There are many famous things like a large neon sign of the Glico running man and a huge moving crab on the front of the crab restaurant called “Kani douraku”(literal translation is “Crab indulgence”).
[The neon sign of Glico]
You may probably have already seen it in a travel guide or something. The present sign is going to be removed on August 17 in 2014 and replaced by a new one in the autumn. The initial sign was constructed in 1935, and since then, the sign has been quite popular for tourists and locals as a kind of an icon of Dotonbori. The present one is the 5th.
The Glico running man image was modelled after a Filipino sprinter named Fortunato Catalon. He won the race at the 5th Far Eastern Sport Championship Games in 1921. When he crossed the finish line, his face was beaming with a big smile which gave favorable and healthy impressions. Having seen his smile, Glico decided to adopt it for the image.
(History Glico running man)
The first sign : 1935-1943
The second : 1955-
The third : 1963-
The fourth : 1972-
The fifth : 1996-
Photograph on the official website(Glico official website)
[The moving crab]
This one is also very popular. In 2003, when Hanshin Tigers (a professional baseball team which is famous for its crazy fans) won the pennant, their fan(s?) climbed up the crab, took an eye from it and stuck a flag of Hanshin Tigers instead. I once saw the crab with one of its claws missing.
Now the river is cleaned and the riverside is improved. The esplanade along the river was constructed a few years ago.
He is a mascot of a Japanese snack named “Karu” produced by Meiji company.
These are the popular spots of the area.
Hozenji (Hozen temple)
In the same areas, there is a good old-fashioned alley just a little bit off the main street. I love the atmosphere of the alley and often visit there when I come to the area, so it’s a pity this alley is much less known, even to Japanese people, than the main Dotonbori street. The alley is called “Hozenji yokocho” (Hozenji alley) or just “Hozenji”.
From Ebisubashi, walk to the east for one block. Then, head for south. After you walk for about 50 meters, you’ll see the sign of “Hozenji yokocho” on the left.
Keep walking for about 10 meters, then there is the temple, “Hozenji”.
Mizukake-Fudo at Hozenji is thickly covered in green moss due to the water constantly splashed by visitors and pray for good fortunes for business and love.
It’s such a narrow stone pavement, so there is only enough width for three people.
You would feel the good-old atmosphere like Kyoto. You also could experience the traditional Dotonbori at Hozenji and would forget the noise of the city.
How about visiting the temple? You can also visit there at night where you may get to experience its magical ambience.
Where to eat at Hozenji yokocho
This is the first restaurant who served “Katsudon”.
(The names of the restaurant and the dish have the same pronunciation, but the characters are totally different)
It’s small place and there are only 10 seats at the counter but many celebrities visited here.
You should give it a try!
I’ll write about the new Glico sign when it gets replaced.
So, don’t miss it!
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