Umeda Sky Building is a 40-floor 173 meters tall skyscraper and one of the most recent iconic sights of Osaka, built in 1993. It was designed by the professor emeritus of Tokyo University, Hara Hiroshi, who is also the creator of such famous buildings like the Kyoto Station and the Sapporo Dome. It is also the world’s first interconnected skyscraper, consisting of two towers connected via bridges and walkways, as well as the observatory garden on the uppermost floor.
The walkway on the 22nd floor connecting the two towers is normally off limits to visitors, however there is a special tour operating within the tower that will take you through this walkway and other usually not accessible spots.
The unusual design placed the project into the World’s Top 20 Architectural Projects. Among the many unique features, the observatory floor stands out the most, offering a 360 degree view of Osaka both during the day and after dark. Whilst impressive during the day, it’s even more popular at sunset and at night when the neon lights of the many skyscrapers of Osaka light up the night sky.
In the Umeda Sky Building you can find various shops and restaurants, as well as clinics, museums, art galleries and even a cinema. There is also a gourmet court designed to recreate the nostalgic atmosphere of the Showa Era. The Shin-Umeda area where the Umeda Sky Building is located is also home to a few spots aiming to recreate the atmosphere of the great outdoors and Japanese traditional settlements. Every summer fireflies are released here to faithfully recreate a natural atmosphere and create a little oasis of nature in the middle of the city.
Highlight 1: One of the top 20 designs in the world!
The Kuchu Teien Floating Garden with its amazing 360 degree view at 173 meters above ground is impressive, but it is not the only interesting feature of the Sky Building. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece, selected as one of the top 20 designs in the world and also the first connected skyscraper in history.
22nd floors of both buildings are connected via a suspended walkway that is unavailable to the general public under normal circumstances. The building itself is constructed with 17000 heat reflective glass panels, reflecting the blue sky as well as the surrounding cityscape on its surface, creating an illusion of the Kuchu Teien Floating Garden literally floating in the sky.
In the middle of the garden is a big circular gap dubbed the “Floating Crater” due to its appearance when observed from below.
The two bridge-like lines crossing the Floating Crater are the “SkyWalk” escalators that take visitors from the 35th floor to the garden. These escalators are also glass-paneled like the garden and create an illusion of ascending the skies whilst offering an amazing view of Osaka below. The garden was built using a new state of the art technology, used for the first time ever during the construction. Lifting and suspending over 100 tons was no simple feat and is often the topic of debate among professionals even today.
In harmony with nature
Umeda Sky Building is located in the Shin-Umeda City in the middle of Osaka. Despite being surrounded by concrete and steel, Sky Building managed to create an oasis of greenery in the middle of the concrete jungle. It offers a bit of respite to people tired of the hustle and bustle of the big city and is immensely popular among visitors. On a surface area of approximately 70 square meters spreads a small forest with over 2100 trees of more than 50 different varieties, with small hills and boulders, rivers and even waterfalls. Here you can also find thickets and rice fields, making you feel as if you were strolling through a real marshland. The silent boulders and solemn stone statues create an atmosphere not dissimilar to popular resorts.
In early summer more than 2000 fireflies are released here, making the forest one of the top romantic spots in Osaka. On the opposite side lies the Shin-Umeda flower field and settlement, recreating the atmosphere of early settlements amidst nature. Here you can encounter many different species of birds and insects as you walk through the lush nature spread over 8000 square meters. With benches installed along the walking path it’s a great place to enjoy and explore at your own pace. One of the most prominent features of the area is the “Wall of Hope”, a natural monument created by the famous architect Tadao Ando. With a height of 9 meter and 78 meters in length, the wall is made from stainless steel mesh and planters, with seasonal flowers grown on the wall so you can enjoy its beauty regardless of season. Despite being located in the middle of a metropolis, you can encounter countless species of both flora and fauna here, making it a perfect spot for all visitors that would like to take a break and enjoy a bit of nature.
Something for the grown-ups; nightly skyline
The view from the observatory deck is amazing on its own, but at night the view turns almost into a gem-filled treasure chest. The special illumination deck is decorated with LED lights and offers an opportunity to leave a heart-shaped lock on the designated spot, making the illumination deck a very popular spot especially among couples. The locks can be purchased and even engraved with your name and date on site and come in 8 different colors. They are usually removed after two years.
The deck features special seats for couples, so you can create a special private space just for the two of you in the middle of the wide deck. There is also a shinto shrine here dedicated to love and romance, with omikuji fortune telling slips available. Fluorescent stones are embedded into the floor of the walkway, making you feel like you are walking on top of the starry sky at night. With the above in mind the observatory deck has been selected as one of the top 100 night view spots in Japan, attracting countless crowds from near and far. Even the escalators leading to the observatory floor are lit only dimly to both create an intimate atmosphere and allow you to enjoy the view as you ascend to the top.
At the Sky Lounge Stardust you can enjoy the magnificent view together with over 300 different kinds of alcoholic beverages. Cafe SKY 40 on the 40th floor offers a wide range of refreshments including Sky Building Waffles and their own coffee brand, whereas those who would rather enjoy a proper meal can visit the Chinese restaurant on the 39th floor. When you gaze upon the Floating Garden from below on your way back it may appear almost like a solar eclipse. Its original concept was supposed to be the view of a launch site of an alien spaceship that flew off to space, however we highly recommend seeing for yourself and perhaps pondering its meaning on your way home.
Takimikoji Street Nostalgia
On the ground floor and in the basement of the building lies the Takimikoji. Designed in a rather nostalgic retro fashion of the Showa Era it is home to many excellent restaurants. The retro facades of shops, the typical police stations, tricycles and even shrines make you feel almost as if you got spirited away back into the Showa Era. Needless to say, this area is very popular especially among the old-timers who actually remember those days directly. The area is teeming with restaurants and stalls offering countless delicacies, like the kushi skewers, hearty Hakata hotpots and shabushabu, sushi, teppanyaki, schnitzel-like katsudon and other mainstays of Japanese cuisine. Despite the retro appearance all restaurants are up to par and modern standards, so you can enjoy them without worrying about anything.
Whether you would like to have something light at the local cafes or something more hearty like a curry, pasta or okonomiyaki, you can find it all here in one spot. For a more hands-on approach you can try the Basho-an sweets store that lets you grind your own kinako sweet powder and enjoy a wide range of Japanese sweets. With a total of 22 stores on two floors, you are bound to find a few to your liking.
Koji Kinutani Tenku Museum of Art
The Kinutani Koji Tenku Museum of Art is located on the 27th floor of the western tower. Inside you can find not only the famous works of Kinutani Koji renowned for his frescoes, but also fascinating contemporary exhibitions. Among them the 3D paintings that come to life before your very eyes are arguably most popular. Iconic paintings like the painting of a dragon celebrating Mount Fuji or the famous painting of Fujin and Raijin, the gods of wind and thunder, can be enjoyed via a 180 degree curved screen from which they seem to leap out. After appreciating the artworks you could marvel at the magnificent scenery offered by the museum located on the 27th floor. As it is facing westward the sunset view is truly splendid and worth the wait. You could for example visit the museum during the day and afterward enjoy a day of exploring, only to return back here just for the sunset as the museum permits one re-entry on the same day. The museum also houses an ulterior space and a workshop, so you can try your hand at the fine arts whilst enjoying the majestic view.
Souvenirs at UMEDA SKYBLDG GALLERY SHOP
At the 39th floor of the Umeda Sky Building is the gallery shop where you can purchase Sky Building themed original merchandise. From heart-shaped padlocks and handmade robot themed accessories by Massanova Art, to starry sky themed accessories there are many interesting products available only at the Umeda Sky Building including many unique Sky Building themed goods.
There is also a wide range of unique sweets available, including Kuidaore Taro themed pudding and dorayaki cakes, cream cookies, or the Sky Building star spangled sponge cake manju. The 3D Sky Building puzzle is particularly popular among visitors as a souvenir to commemorate their visit.
In the vicinity
There are many points of interest in the vicinity of the Sky Building, including but not limited to the Umeda Hankyu and Hanshin malls, Grand Front Osaka, LUCUA and many more shopping facilities. Among them these malls feature shops covering pretty much every single need, so you can comfortably get your shopping done in one single area. The abundance of cafes and restaurants in the vicinity make this area an excellent choice for families, couples, friends or even solo travelers.
Venue Name: Umeda Sky Building
Business Hours: 9:30 - 20:00 (may vary due to circumstances)
Regular Closing Days: None
Address: 〒531-6023 Osaka, Kita Ward, Oyodonaka 1-Chome 1-88
Access: 7 minute walk from JR Osaka Station, 9 minutes from Umeda Station (Hankyu, subway lines)
Tour Osaka’s Sightseeing Spots with the “Osaka e-Pass” 1-Day Pass
Osaka City Kita Area(Umeda, Fukushima, Temma)
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