A View from Above: Umeda Sky Building
Written by: Cedric（Cedric）
● Futuristic Arc de Triomphe of Osaka
Hi! I’m Cedric.
I’d like to show you the coolest building in Osaka, Umeda Sky Building! At 173 meters tall, the 40-story Umeda Sky Building is a landmark and a popular destination in Umeda. Just check your guidebook or favorite travel sites and you’ll find all sorts of praise about this building!
I got to Umeda Station around 3pm. The Umeda Sky Building stood tall in the north, walking towards JR Osaka Station. You just can’t miss the stunning presence.
Getting to the Umeda Sky Building is easy—the fastest route is to take the underpass west. The underpass was only 200 meter long and when I came out of it, I was already almost there.
The reflection of the sky on the building was beautiful.
The Floating Garden Observatory “floats” in mid-air, connecting the two towers high above. This observatory at the top shapes the building like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the reason why it’s called the “futuristic Arc de Triomphe.”
What an amazing view from below. It’s a bit like sci-fi anime I’ve seen somewhere… I see why this was the only building in Japan that made the top 20 buildings around the world selected by a renowned British publisher.
● Not An Ordinary Elevator or Escalator
Let’s go to the Floating Garden Observatory! The entrance to the observatory is on the first floor of Tower West and is marked “FUN FUN PLAZA” above the doors.
It was a quick elevator ride to the third floor where I walked over to the high-speed elevators that took me to the observatory, which by the way is called Kuchu Teien in Japanese. I was getting excited!
The made-in Japan elevator was non-stop all the way to the 35th floor. It was lightning fast. I was at 130 meters above ground in a zip!
Then I took the escalator that went up a see-through tunnel. I’d seen it on Instagram and other social media sites and was really looking forward to taking this ride. The two passages that reached into the circular observatory when I looked up at the building from the ground were these elevators. The views of the city from the escalator heading to the entrance of the observatory on the 39th floor were awesome.
This is where you purchase the tickets for the observatory. The multilingual option (English, Chinese, and Korean) was helpful.
If you’re buying a ticket here, it also means you don’t need a ticket until you get up here to the 39th floor…which means you can come up here anytime and enjoy the fabulous views of Osaka for free anytime! Grab couple of those beers from around the world and you can make it a trip around the world! Lol
● A Panoramic View at Floating Garden Observatory
Another escalator ride takes you to the observatory on the 40th floor.
The 360-degree panoramic view of Osaka is incredible. It’s definitely worth paying for♪ I’m going to call this a “sky walk” around that hole I saw from below earlier. The best of all—and the best in Osaka—this observatory is open air! I felt the celestial wind at 173 meters above ground.
Too bad it was cloudy. I hear you can see as far as Mt. Rokko in Kobe and Awaji Island in the Seto Inland Sea on a sunny day.
The south side of the building is the Umeda area—so urban, filled with buildings after buildings. And it continues to evolve every day.
On the west is Osaka Bay and Kobe. I saw a shinkansen bullet train! It went by so fast. See the airplane, too?
● A “Power Spot” for Love?!
This observatory is a famous “power spot” for love. What is a “power spot,” you ask? Power spots are spiritual places where you can connect with the nature and/or the surroundings and get recharged. You can find so-called “power spots” all over Japan.
I saw lots of girls visiting the observatory putting their wishes on the heart-shaped padlocks called “heart lock.” I hope their wishes will come true!
I think I’ll come back after dark next time and enjoy the wonderful views at night. I bet the Sky Building would look more space-like in the dark and the views would be extraordinary! The observatory is open until 10pm, but the reviews I saw online say it’s best at sunset when you can watch the sun go down and wait for the darkness to envelop the city. How romantic. The Umeda Sky Building website conveniently lists the sunset time daily for those of us romantists.
● Going Underground for A Dessert
After floating in the observatory at the top, I went all the way underground to the basement floor 1 of the Sky Building. I had a reason—I wanted to check out Takimi Koji Retro Restaurant Alley. This floor is a recreation of 1920’s Japan and I like historic townscapes of Japan.
The shop I wanted to visit was Bashoan. This confectionery studio is famous for its authentic warabimochi, a traditional mochi dessert made with warabi bracken starch. Here it is!
Interior of the shop has a historic touch. And I was greeted with a large stone mill. I’d never seen a stone mill before but, at Bashoan, diners can use this stone mill to make their own kinako powder for the warabimochi. How fun is that?
I tried it while I waited for my warabimochi and iced green milk tea. I put black beans in the 1 cm hole on top of the stone mill and turned the handle. I heard some grating sounds, so I suppose I was doing okay… Soon, I smelled the nice aroma of kinako and saw the kinako powder coming out at the bottom.
My warabimochi was served as a whole block—it looked authentic alright! I cut the warabimochi into bite size pieces and topped them with the kinako I ground. My warabimochi bite was creamy yet had texture, and was sophisticated and delicate, a very Japanese flavor. It was delicious!
You can choose your toppings from the choices of syrup, matcha green tea power, and sweet azuki beans, and enjoy different flavors. I gave it A+!
Umeda Sky Building is packed with more attractions including a movie theater, a museum, a hotel, and Chu-Shizen Forest where you can see the fireflies glow.
This building is like a city in itself and offers a whole day of fun. It definitely met all the expectations I had.
I know you are itching to go. Do you want to go with me?!
[Access] About 11 mins walk from Exit 5 at Umeda Station.
About 15 mins walk from Exit 3 at Nishi-Umeda Station.
[Hours] 9:30-22:30 (Last entry 22:00)
[Closed] Open daily
[Access] About 9 mins walk from Exit 5 at Umeda Station.
About 13 mins walk from Exit 3 at Nishi-Umeda Station.
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