Favorites English(US) USD

Sail underneath the 9 bridges on this unique cruise of downtown Osaka

Sail underneath the 9 bridges on this unique cruise of downtown Osaka

2021-07-30 Management office

Basic Information

Tombori River Cruise is a compact and efficient river cruise on the famous Dotonbori River, on which you can experience all the iconic sights and symbols of the popular Naniwa area in mere 20 minutes. The flashy yellow cruise boats “DOTON” will take you down the river and under the many famous bridges connecting the riverbanks. Even though the boats have a total capacity of 60 passengers, on the busy and popular weekends there are special departures added with a capacity of 20 and 40 passengers respectively. The sight of the Osaka Minami area from the river surface is truly a memorable one, especially as the boat rises and sinks almost like a submarine to pass underneath the low bridges. The passenger seats are also equipped with tables, so you can enjoy drinks or other refreshments whilst cruising. The “Dojima” cruise boat comes equipped with a free space and is often used not just as a cruise boat, but also as a floating stage and for various promo events. The Echizen and Doton boats are not only open-roof but also open in the sides so you can enjoy the unobstructed view together with the river breeze.
The boats set sail approximately every 30 minutes, however in case of bad weather raincoats are mandatory. Due to the safety hazard they pose on board, umbrellas are not permitted.
As mentioned the cruise focuses on the Dotonbori area also nicknamed “the jewel of Minami Osaka”, a popular tourist spot known for its flashy neon signs and animatronic store signs.
The tickets are available for purchase at the designated ticket stand on the bottom floor of the nearby Don Quijote store and can be used only on the same day. The Don Quijote store is easily recognizable by the big Ferris wheel connected to the store building, so finding the ticket booth should not be a problem. The boarding point for this cruise is not the same as the Tombori River JAZZ Boat so it should be easy to avoid any misunderstandings.

Perfect snapshots of all the popular tourist spots

The bright and flashy yellow boats became somewhat of an iconic tourist attraction on their own, however the Dotonbori area is teeming with popular spots like the Glico Running Man, Don Quijote Ferris Wheel, Kani Doraku crab restaurant with the giant animatronic crab statue at its front and more. The cruise adjusts its pace so you have a chance at a snapshot of the famous spots, so you don’t need to worry about missing out.
The Don Quijote store would not be complete without the Ebisu Tower, the only oval-shaped Ferris wheel in the world. One ride on the Ferris wheel takes approximately 15 minutes, with up to 4 passengers per cabin. It offers an excellent view of the Minami area, slightly different to what you might see from the river surface. On the other hand the cruise takes you on a trip under several of the famous bridges connecting the riverbanks of Doton River, a rare sight on its own. As you hop on board you will be given detailed explanations about the popular Dotonbori area, a great help if you want to explore the area further on your own after the cruise without unnecessarily wasting time.

More fun with the guide

The Tombori River Cruise comes with a local guide, who really brings the cruise to life. Osaka is famous in all of Japan for its unique character and culture, with a strong dedication to comedy and humor. There is even a special way of closing events that originates from the most popular and famous festival of Osaka, the Tenjin Matsuri. Your guide will explain in detail how it goes, so we shall not spoil it here.
The boat cruise starts at the boarding point in front of the Don Quijote store, before making two U-turns at the Nipponbashi bridge and the Minatomachi River respectively. During the 20 minutes as the scenery around you changes gradually the guide will provide interesting bits of information about the area, laced with the iconic Osaka dialect and sense of humor.
As you sail down the river the riverside promenade and bridges will be full of tourists and passer-bys, who might even smile and wave at you as you sail by. Even though the cruise can be enjoyed perfectly fine during the day, it is a night when it truly shines, illuminated by countless neon signs and street lights.

Private charters also possible

It is possible to privately charter the cruise for up to 70 people. The booking fee is 40000 yen (VAT included). However for groups substantially smaller there are other boats available, with a minimum of 10 participants. In case of private charters it is possible to bring your own food on board, including a whole cake. If you are planning a party and would like to do something different, this just might be the option for you. Whether with friends, colleagues or just your travel groups, if you would like to enjoy a bit of freedom this cruise might just be the thing as you are free to customize your experience to a great extent. The private charter is also often used for weddings and celebrations!

Pass under 9 bridges

The Tombori River Cruise course takes you on a roundtrip of the Doton River whilst passing under 9 famous bridges. The first bridge the boat sails under is the Tazaemon bridge. Right next to it you can see the Atchichi-hompo Dotombori, one of the most famous and popular takoyaki shops in Osaka. These octopus filled balls of dough are quite hot on the inside, but they go surprisingly well with the cool river air during the cruise, especially in the colder months. Of course, stopping here before the cruise and bringing some on board is perfectly fine! Next up is the Aiau-bashi bridge, quite often mistakenly referred to as Aioi-bashi. Despite not being the correct name of the bridge, it has become so widespread that even the subway maps refer to the bridge as Aioi-bashi. There is a stairway leading down to the riverside promenade here and it is quite common to see various performances and events take place here. The next bridge the boat passes under is the Nipponbashi bridge, a part of the Sakaisuji subway line intersecting Dotonbori.Also known as the “otaku road”, in its vicinity you can find a lot of shops focused on the popular Japanese culture like manga, anime, figures and more. Next stop will be the Ebisu bridge, right next to which you can find the iconic Glico Running Man sign as well as the Kani Doraku restaurant. It is the very center of downtown Osaka Minami and as such the pedestrian traffic is arguably the most dense in these parts. After that the boat passes under the Dotonbori-bashi, famous for the countless ginkgo trees that line the streets along the Midosuji subway line. In the vicinity of the next bridge called Shin-Ebisu-bashi you can find a statue to the Bodhisattva Jizo, believed to bestow the blessing of success in life. Further up the stream you will see the Daikokuten bridge, built not far from the Amemura American Village area, full of quirky and alternative shops and appropriately quirky crowds populating them. Lastly the boat passes underneath the Fukari-bashi and as the Minatomachi River Place slowly appears before you it is time for the cruise to near its end. This area is quite popular among the younger crowds, due to its proximity to the Namba Station, Osaka City Air Terminal and Horie area. At this point the boat will take a U-turn and head back to port. It is a good idea to take small mental notes about the sights along the river on the way back, should you wish to visit them directly as well.

In the vicinity

There is a lot to see and enjoy not only along the river, but also in the vicinity of Dotonbori.
There’s no shortage of shopping arcades, like the Ebisubashi-suji or the Shinsaibashi-suji, but also charming back alleys like the Hozenji Temple side alley.
Ebisubashi-suji is famous for its game arcades, but also fashion, gifts, sweets and more. Quite often there are various events held here, attracting even more crowds than usual.
The nearby Shinsaibashi-suji is home to over 180 shops and the 580m long Daimaru Shinsaibashi mall. As with Ebisubashi the arcade invests a lot of effort into supporting local events and with so many shops it is a good place to explore for hidden gems.
Souemon arcade on the other hand is one of the most representative arcades of Osaka Minami when it comes to entertainment. There is no shortage of various restaurants and bars. A lot of nightlife in Osaka is concentrated here, so it’s one of the top places to be after dark. It is said that all visitors and tourists walk down the Dotonbori shopping arcade at least once during their visit, due to the sheer abundance of famous spots and sights located here. It is here where you can find the iconic Glico Running Man, the beloved Kuidaore-Taro or the many animatronic store signs like that of Kani Doraku crab restaurant. Excellent gourmet opportunities await in and around Sennichi-mae shopping arcade, especially for those hunting for some of the more iconic local foods like takoyaki or okonomiyaki. Some of the most popular stores like Yukari, Tsuruhashi-Fugetsu or Takoyaki-za are located here.
The famous entertainment agency Yoshimoto Kogyo is also located here, as well as its flagship comedy theater, the Ground Kagetsu.
If you feel like escaping the busy streets and all the crowds, visit Hozenji-yokocho. This quaint alley next to the temple of the same name is quite picturesque with its cobbled road and tranquil atmosphere. Before the war this path used to be a part of the Hozenji temple complex, however most of the temple was demolished during the Osaka air raids near the end of the war. Nonetheless, even here you can find a few excellent restaurants offering some of the popular Osaka foods like kushi-katsu or okonomiyaki. Taking a tour of the area once you finish the cruise is highly recommended!

<Venue Information>

Venue Name: Tombori River Cruise
Business Hours: 13:00 - 21:00 Sat&Sun 11:00 - 21:00 Departures every 30 minutes.
Regular Closing Days: None
Phone Number: 06-6441-0532
Address: 〒542-0071 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Dotonbori 1-chome 6-7
Departure point: Tazaebashi Bridge
Access: 5 minutes from Namba Station on Midosuji, Yotsubashi, Sennichimae subway lines
10 minutes from Namba Station on the Nankai Line
5 minutes from Osaka-Namba Station on the Hanshin Namba Line
5 minutes from Osaka-Namba Station on the Kintetsu Line

  • Tour Osaka’s Sightseeing Spots with the “Osaka e-Pass” 1-Day Pass

    Osaka City Kita Area(Umeda, Fukushima, Temma)

    Recommended for familiesRecommended for couplesRecommended for groupsLone Wolves Welcome!Small GroupTraveling with the GirlsTrip with the GuysTo Make MemoriesCan't Decide!Mentioned in Magazines

Management office

Author of this article

Management office

Recommended articles