Tourism in Osaka – Doutonbori River Cruise

Ever wanted to take a 20-minute cruise down Doutonbori river in Osaka? I lived in Osaka for about 4 years and didn’t… but I tried it yesterday!

My parents are in town visiting so I was desperate to find easy touristy things for them to do. My mom would be happy just walking around a “mall” all day long, but that’s not for me. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are PLENTY of culturally interesting and much more exciting things to do in the Kansai area, but, I was with my folks, and they’re not into all of those things.

Anyway. You can catch the water cruise in a few different places in Osaka. We caught the boat at the stop right in front of Donkihoutei in Namba. The location is perfect. You can check out Kanidouraku, see Kuidaore, check out the Glico sign, eat some takoyaki, and then walk over Ebisubashi and walk down to the ferry.

The ferry has a few regular holidays, but it runs quite frequently so you don’t have to plan too far ahead. The price was very reasonable. The ride was about 20 minutes long.

You can get all the details on their official website, which is multi-lingual. Here is the English website for the Osaka sightseeing river cruise.

Our cruise had a mix of Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, and us, the Americans. The tour guide was an Osaka native, of course, and the tour was done entirely in Japanese. You can pick up pamphlets that are in English at the place where you buy tickets, but the explanations in the pamphlets do not come anywhere close to the detail that the guide provides. Having said that, the detail isn’t that amazing. They basically tell you about each bridge that you pass under, pointing out facts like more than 200,000 people cross over Ebisubashi in Namba every day, and that more than 4,000 Hanshin Tigers fans jumped off that bridge into the murky river after the team won the season. They also point out that the ferris wheel on donki houte is the first (and only?) oblong ferris wheel in the world! But, if you’re a long time reader you already know that I ALREADY KNEW THAT.

If you can, sit in the front of the boat. The back is covered so you can stay in the shade or out of the rain, but it severely limits your view, as you can see from my photographs!