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Visiting Sotenbori!

Sotenbori in Real-Life
Sotenbori in Real-Life

Photo excursion to Sotenbori (蒼天堀)! I didn’t encounter any mad dogs, regretfully.

Ah, Sotenbori. “Renowned” Osaka entertainment district. Prized turf of the Omi Alliance. Former prison of the Mad Dog of Shimano, Majima Goro.

Oh wait. Wait a moment! I didn’t really … visit Sotenbori, of course. Where I went to, instead, was Dotonbori (道頓堀), the real-life downtown Osaka district that Sotenbori is based on.

As for details, I made two visits. The first was during early evening, right after I touched down at Kansai Airport. The second visit was two nights later, after returning from a hectic full day in Kyoto.

By the way, these visits were hardly my first trips to Dotonbori. I go to the area whenever I’m in Osaka. They were, however, my first Dotonbori visits after playing the Yakuza game series. Because of that, and especially because of Yakuza 0, every sight carried additional meaning for me. I’m not ashamed to admit I broke into a silly grin at every corner.

All screenshots belong to the Omi Alliance. And by extension, their big boss, Sega.

Sotenbori in the Yakuza Games

Before all else, Sotenbori screenshots from the Yakuza game series for comparison purposes. All except one are from Yakuza 2 Kiwami.

The main thoroughfare of Sotenbori. With the signature animated restaurant signs.
Er … Brawling weapons? Conveniently located all over Sotenbori!
Dragon ramen! Golden dragon ramen!
The tourist mascot of Osaka: The (somewhat creepy) Kuidaore Taro. (His name means Eat-Till-You-Drop Eldest Son. A play on Osaka’s reputation as the gourmet capital of Japan)
Our superbly handsome Brother Kiryu doing a selfie at Sotenbori’s famous electronic billboards.
The riverside broadwalk. Loads of encounters, secrets, training, cut scenes here, in the games.
Montage of other Sotenbori sights. 1: Dayshot. 2: Kukuru Takoyaki Stand. 3: A mysterious Shinto shrine (from Yakuza 0). 4: A nearby covered shopping street.

From My Visits! Sotenbori in Real-Life (I.E. Dotonbori)

Dotonbori! Cash cow of Osaka tourism!
Brawling equipment were all over. I felt a strong urge to seize and bash something with one, each time I walk past.
The actual Golden Dragon Ramen. Some travellers consider this a must-dine-at when in Dotonbori.
The number-one selfie spot of Dotonbori. Or should I say, of all Osaka? The world famous running Glico Man sign!
The number-one selfie spot of Dotonbori. Or should I say, of all Osaka. The world famous running Glico Man sign!
Sorry, can’t resist! Here’s a doctored one featuring everyone’s favourite Mad Dog of Shimano.
The riverside promenade. Known formally as the Tombori Riverside Walk.
Montage of real-world Dotonbori sights. 1: Dayshot. 2: Kukuru Takoyaki Stand. 3: Nearby Hozenji Temple. 4: A covered shopping street.
Montage of other sights that should be of interest to Yakuza game series fans.

To end …

View from Ebisu Bridge. In Y2 Kiwami Clan Creator, this was the location for one of the toughest and longest fights. Can you imagine brawling under those signs? Would you, er, be distracted?

Check out my Kamurocho visit too!

Read my other Video Game Tourist posts.

Article Name
Visiting Sotenbori!
Revisiting Osaka’s Dotonbori District. The exuberant entertainment district known to gamers as Sotenbori in the Yakuza game series.


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