When I reached Osaka I wanted to do something different, I don’t want to see the castle or shrines or temples anymore as I have seen quite a few in Kyoto and Nara. So I choose to visit Umeda Sky Buiding. It is one of the unique modern building in Japan which was completed in 1993; consists of two 40 story towers. The architect is Hara Hiroshi who also designed Kyoto Station. So you may find some similarities for these buildings.
Entering Osaka with Our Rental Car
When we arrived in Osaka city, I thought it will be very congested but to my surprise, there weren’t many cars at all near Unemda Sky Building.
Approaching the Umeda Sky Building
Glass Domed Elevator
The Elevator will bring you to Level 35 then you have to switch to the glass-domed elevators up to level 39 to purchase the entry ticket. This glass domed elevator is super unique and super long, feel like boarding a spaceship.
If you don’t want to pay, you can go up to the 39th floor, it is free but there is no 360-degree unblocked view. Part of the view was blocked.
Purchase your ticket from the machine
- 1500 yen USD 13.40 for adult
- 700 yen USD 6.30 for children (up to primary school)
Floating Garden Observatory
According to the British newspaper The Times, Umeda Sky Building is one of the “Top 20 Buildings Around the World”. The two towers, East and West are connected at the top by the circular Floating Garden Observatory.
Inside, you will see the panoramic view from the top of Yodo river, bridges, the sunset of Osaka city. The Osaka city skyline is incredibly stunning. What amazed me the most is the countless bridges connecting both sides of Yodo river.
Why there are so many bridges in Yodo River?
Osaka’s waterways are very important in the city’s economic history. Until about 1925 there were more than 1600 bridges in Osaka but only 850 bridges remain now, no wonder Osaka has the nickname of “Venice of Japan”
I spent some times counting the bridges from far left to the right. So many of them side by side in one river. Do they need that many? Japan has one of the best infrastructures in the world and their bridges (600,000 in whole Japan ) and tunnels can be seen everywhere in the whole of Japan. Question is do they really need that many?
Much of the road infrastructure, such as bridges were constructed in the 1960s and 70s. Maintaining this infrastructure is a big challenge.
Open Air Rooftop
You can also go out to the open-air rooftop, it is an observatory deck where you can walk outside. Please be warned of strong wind but with no glass window at all. Due to typhoon Jebi, the open-air rooftop was closed during my visit.
Spotted an area for helicopter deck. (below picture)
Cafe Sky 40
There is a cafe to get some drinks and snacks. There are plenty of spots to sit down or look out in a different direction.
There is a small exhibition room to show you the little model of Umeda Sky Building structure.
The little model of Umeda Sky Building
This is how it looks like from the top of the Umeda Sky Building.
19th Tallest Building in Osaka
At 173 meter high, the Umeda Sky Building is the 19th tallest building in Osaka, I am quite surprised it is not the tallest. However, it still has one of the most stunning skylines of Osaka. The building is used for office space.
Umeda Sky Building Gallery Shop
Get your souvenirs here if you need to buy something.
Catching the long capsule down to the 35th floor then switch to lift and go down to the parking lot at the basement.
Parking at Basement
I thought the parking cost a bomb in Umeda Sky Building but it is not at all. We paid 500 yen (USD 4.50) for slightly over an hour. The fee is 15 mins for 100 yen (USD 0.90).
If you wanted to check out the skyline of Osaka city, Umeda Sky Building is a good choice. Go up to the 40th floor and enjoy the open-air sky garden. The wind can be very strong so please be prepared. Oh yes, the “glass domed elevator” is an interesting ride up too.
What do I like about Umeda Sky Building?
I have a good look at the infrastructure from the top and most importantly it made me wonder why there are so many bridges in Yodo river? Seriously I think there are overbuilt.