5 Festivals and Activities to Participate in This Summer at Dotonbori in Osaka!

  • Dotonbori is one of the popular destinations in Osaka for both local and foreign tourists. The long sidewalk of Dotonbori is where you can find different shops, entertainment facilities, and restaurants with their colorful and creative signboards which give an ordinary day a festive atmosphere when you are walking in the area.

    During the summer season, with the series of festivals happening in the Minami district, Dotonbori becomes even busier with lots of fun activities such as mini concerts, boat processions/parades, and more, making it an ideal place to visit when you are traveling in Osaka.


    The now famous area in Osaka was first constructed in 1612 by Mr. Yasui Douton. However, when he died during the war, the construction of Dotonbori canal was continued by his cousin, Mr. Douboku. To praise and to give tribute to Mr. Douton, the canal was named after him and the word “bori,” which means “moat” or “canal” in English, hence the name “Dotonbori.”

    Enjoy the summer season with these five festivals and activities that will be held in the area:

    1. Dotonbori Lantern Festival 2018(道頓堀川万灯祭)

    From July 1 until August 31, 2018, the entire 800-meter length of Tombori walk along Dotonbori river will be illuminated by thousands of lanterns during the Lantern Festival. Around 1,300 lanterns will be placed from Fukari Bridge (Yotsubashi-suji) to Nippon Bridge (Sakai-suji).

    2. Namba Yasaka Shrine Summer Festival Funatogyo(難波八阪神社夏祭り)

    With the Namba Yasaka Shrine Summer Festival to be held on July 13 and 14, 2018, there will be a colorful boat procession or “Funatogyo.” Around 20 boats will be cruising along the Dotonbori river, with the main boats carrying the palanquin and shrine parishioners. The boat procession will start at 6:00 PM and will last until 9:00 PM.

    3. Live Performances

    Music and dance performances by the river? Doesn’t that sound fun? Ribbee’s World Ukulele Championship winner, Tomoki Suzuki, will be performing on July 15, 2017. I have watched him play the ukulele on YouTube and he is really amazing. There will also be a kids’ dance and a ninja stage performance on the same day, and more live performances on July 16, 2017, so visit Tombori Riverwalk during these dates. The events will start at 10:45 AM on July 15 and at 11:00 AM on July 16, both days will end at 8:00 PM.

    4. Yukata Dress-Up

    For women, enjoy a walk at Tombori riverside dressed up in a yukata, a type of kimono worn during the summer season. During ordinary days, I don’t usually see tourists or even locals in the Dotonbori area dressed up in kimono unless there’s an occasion. So if you want to experience wearing a traditional Japanese attire on your travel, this is your chance to do it. This event will be happening on July 16, 2017.

    5. Dondoko Boats

    Another fun activity I am sure you’re going to love during your visit to Osaka this summer is the Dondoko boats that will be held on July 24, 2018. This event is part of the Tenjin Festival that will be happening in the city and it plays an important role as it marks the beginning of the festival.

    The name of the boat, “Dondoko,” was derived from the sound of the boat or the drums while cruising the river. Have fun watching the oarsmen paddle the boats in unison. There will also be children’s Dondoko boats where elementary and junior high school students will be rowing the boat throughout the river procession.

    With lots of colorful activities in Osaka this summer, whether you are traveling alone or with someone, it will never be hard to think of fun and exciting things to do in the Dotonbori area. Shopping, entertainment, food, and more can be found in just one area in the city!

    Osaka Festival Calendar Website

    Would you like to stay in Osaka? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

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