Best View of Osaka
Everywhere in Japan seems to have at least one observatory, where you can get a view of the city. It’s one of the requisite set of tourist attractions: an aquarium, a museum or art gallery, and an observation deck.
But this one in Osaka is probably the best I’ve been to – there’s a stunning view and the architecture of the building itself is really something special.
Umeda Sky Building
The Umeda Sky Building is in the Umeda area in north Osaka. It looks really modern, with two skyscrapers linked by the observation deck at the top. The deck is halo-shaped, with a round cut-out in the middle. You can walk all the way around, and get a 360 degree view of the city.
To make it even more unique, there are two diagonal escalators going across the gap, like a kind of slow-motion rollercoaster. They’re actually the highest escalators in the world!
There are two floors in the observatory – the lower is enclosed and the upper floor is open air. There’s also a café, a restaurant floor in the building, an art gallery (separate admission) and the basement has a collection of ramen shops.
See what it’s like at the Umeda Sky Building in my video – with views, exploring the building and what it’s like on the highest escalator in the world!
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I don’t know what it is exactly that makes the view so stunning. Whether it’s height of the observatory, the viewing angle, the gap between you and the nearest buildings or the extreme density of skyscrapers in Osaka. All I know is the view is absolutely amazing, and really seems to be coming out at you!
There’s an endless sea of skyscrapers and lights in every direction. That’s also true in Tokyo, but there was just something about this view! I’m so glad we went at night because it was so much more magical.
It’s also known as the very whimsical-sounding Floating Garden Observatory, or “Kuchu Teien”.
How high is it?
The height is about 170m, just slightly lower than the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building at around 200m. Don’t tell Tokyo but I found the Osaka view even more stunning! It’s definitely the best city view I’ve seen.
(I’m not counting the SkyTree because that’s so much higher (350m / 450m) and a slightly different kind of experience that can’t really be compared with this).
How to get to the Umeda Sky Building
The sky building’s in northern Osaka, within walking distance of Umeda Station, and the main Osaka Station. These are both major stations, accessible from several lines on both the metro and regular railway lines.
Umeda is a busy, high-rise area of Osaka with lots of skyscrapers. It feels very big city and a lot like Tokyo. Close by there’s also Hep Five shopping centre, which has a red ferris wheel on top and the Gudetama cafe!
Currently (late 2018) the upper floor of the observation deck’s closed due to typhoon damage. The view from the lower floor is just as good and I’d say it’s still worth it. You can check their website to see when the upper floor’s open again.
More Things to Do in Osaka
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You can also get a view from the ferris wheel on Don Quijote. It’s not as high, but it’s a fun experience and an unusual, elliptical-shaped wheel. You can see what it’s like in my Dotonbori video.
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