Osaka Area Guide: Umeda Sky Building 梅田スカイビル
The Umeda Sky Building is a distinctive high rise standing alone near Umeda and Osaka stations. The 173 meter high building is formed of two separate tower blocks connected at the top by the Floating Garden Observatory.
The original, rather more grandiose, plan was for a series of four towers all connected at the top, and part of the planned New Umeda City redevelopment, but costs forced the reduction to just two towers.
Umeda Sky Building History & Architecture
Completed in 1993, Umeda Sky Building was designed by architect Hiroshi Hara, who is probably best known for the new Kyoto Station.
The top two floors, bridging the twin towers, form the Floating Garden Observatory, and this is the main draw for visitors and from where you can get stunning 360 degree views over all of Osaka as far as Awaji Island.
From the ground floor a high speed elevator whisks you up to near the top with exterior views all the way. From here an escalator traverses diagonally across the wide open space up to the observatory. Like the elevator the escalator is enclosed in glass.
The first floor of the observatory is inside and with comfy seating facing out to the views. There is a cafe here for drinks and snacks. Up one more floor is the roof also with 360 degree views but with something other observatories don't have - views inside through the 30 meter wide circular opening down to the ground below.
The views from the outside deck are quite stupendous, and. limited by the weather of course, expansive. On one side stretches the wide Yodo River and on the other the high-rise studded landscape of downtown Osaka. The observatory stays open till late, and so glittering nighttime views can also be had. If you have a good zoom lens on your camera, or use the high power binoculars distributed around the observatories edge, there are a couple of unusual buildings to be see just east of south.
You can see what appears to be a medieval stone church protruding high up out of the glass facade of a modern building. This is the wedding chapel of the Hotel Monterey, and is an exact replica of a 14th century church in Belgium.
Looking a little to the right (west) of the hotel you can see a cylindrical, 16 storey office building with a road passing right through the middle of it. This is the Gate Tower Building, and floors 5 through 7 are given over to the road which is an exit into Umeda off of the elevated toll road.
Other landmarks to try and spot would be the tallest building in Japan, the Abeno Harukas, to the South South East and the Tsutenkaku, a 103 meter high tower with an observation deck which is an Osaka landmark.
Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum
The Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum on the 27th floor of the West Tower is dedicated to the dynamic, eclectic works of multi-media Nara-born artist, Koji Kinutani (b.1943) whose signature style is vibrantly colored, ebullient Japanese-themed paintings in the fresco mural style. Has a cafe with great views and a musuem shop.
10am-6pm (until 8pm the day before a national holiday), closed Tuesday (except when Tuesday is a public holiday, when it then is closed Wednesday).
1,000 yen for adults.
Umeda Sky Building Tower West 27F, 1-1-30,Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka 531-0076.
Eateries in Umeda Sky Building
After enjoying the views you can head down to the basement of the building where there is a selection of eateries in Takimi Koji, narrow "alleys" of restaurants done in retro early twentieth century style.
In the large open air plaza area underneath the towers there are different festivals and markets held throughout the year. German Beer Festivals, a Christmas Market, Chinese New Year, Tanabata, and Mexican festivals having been held in previous years. Right next door to the building is Chishizenno Mori, a small urban forest park with a small waterfall.
Access - how to get to Umeda Sky Building
Umeda Sky Building
1-1-88 Oyodo-naka, Kita-ku
Osaka-shi, Osaka 531-0076
Tel: 06 6440 3899
Open from 10am to 10.30 pm every day. Observatory entrance is 800 yen for adults.
Umeda Sky lies north east of Osaka Station and east of Umeda Station and is about a 10 minute walk from either. A pedestrian tunnel goes under the large open space that was once a railway marshaling yard.