Kuchu Teien offers a spectacular panoramic view of Osaka and it was definitely one of the highlights of my first days in Osaka!
I’m pretty good at figuring out cities and maps, but there’s nothing that makes it even more easy than seeing a city from up high. So on my second day, it was time to visit the building that everybody that I meet recommends for their amazing views over Osaka..
The Umeda Sky Building
The Umeda Sky Building is a shiny, big building designed by the same man that designed Kyoto Station (Hiroshi Hara). Two separate towers of 173 meters, joined at together at the top by the ‘Floating Garden’ observation deck. (Little side-note, this isn’t a real garden I found out to my disappointment!).
Especially pretty when the sky turns pink and yellow around sunset, it’s very enjoyable to go up all the way to the top. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed going up almost as much as seeing the sunset at the top!
The tower consists of two 40-story towers that connect at their two uppermost stories, with bridges and an escalator crossing the wide atrium-like space in the center. Everything is designed to see, so there’s a lot of glass involved.
Awkward family photo of a solo traveler… uhm, to show the grandkids all my adventures one day right? (Follow my adventures here!)
How to get there
After whole lotta tunnels, struggles and wrong buildings I finally managed to get to the observatory.
In the basement, there is a restaurant floor but most other floors are offices and there’s nothing to see there.
What to do once you’re up
Once you’re up you can walk around and take a rest at one of the many chairs/couches. I arrived about 45 minutes before the sunset and it wasn’t busy at all, it was busier once I left at around 6.30 pm. I love the changing colors just before sunset so for me it was perfect, but I guess most people love seeing the city at night. Nevertheless, I saw both and it was perfect. There is a small cafe, so I actually just bought a drink and read a book for a bit until the sun started setting. I recommend spending some time there too, so you can take in the view and take some me’-time’ above the busy city.
How bizarre is this smoking room in the middle of the observatory? I know, I know, it’s perfectly normal in Japan to accommodate smoking areas and rooms, but since it’s banned in so many countries already it still feels strange to me as a non-smoker.
Plan your sunset visit
I usually use my iPhone to see what time the sun comes up or goes down, but in case you don’t have one, they put the sunset time up, very handy! The observatory opens every day at 10.00 am, so seeing the sunrise is no option. Therefore, make sure to plan your visit on/around the sunset to see both views, from day to night, Osaka is a beautiful city nevertheless and I’m happy I’ve seen both.
When it comes to views, I’m still not sure which side is best because they all offer something different. From the river to the city center and everything in between, so walk around to see and pick your favorite type of chair. I’d have loved to sit in one of these ‘love seats’ (see photo under this text) but unfortunately, they were all taken.
How to get there
The Umeda Sky Building is a 10-15 minute walk from Osaka and Umeda Stations and once you enter the building, go up with the escalators, follow the signs until you see the observatory staff at the elevator waiting for you. Admission is 1000 Yen (≠US$10) and you can visit the observatory from 9:30 to 22:30 (entrance until 22:00). Like I said before, I recommend going around sunset – if you arrive an hour to 30 minutes before it’s not too busy yet in my experience.
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