The Umeda Sky Building stands 568 feet (173) meters tall in Osaka’s trendy Shin Umeda City in Kita Ward, and it’s the best place to enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Osaka’s stunning skyline. The building is famed for its breathtaking views and unusual architecture, specifically the two separate towers that are connected by the open deck of the Floating Garden Observatory.
If you’re visiting Osaka for the first time or returning to this much-beloved tourist destination, a visit to the Umeda Sky Building is a must!
With its Floating Garden Observatory, spectacular two-tower architecture, and trendy restaurants, bars, and cafes, it’s an amazing experience from the depths of the basement to the heights of the observation deck.
What is the Umeda Sky Building?
The Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル) is one of Osaka’s most recognizable buildings. And in a city of skyscrapers, that is no easy feat!
With two 40-story towers that are connected at the top, it resembles a glass-like Arc de Triomphe. The building boasts offices, showrooms, events halls, restaurants, cinemas, and shops.
Its most popular attraction is the Kuchu Teien Tenbodai, an observation platform known in English as the Floating Garden Observatory.
From the top, which is a staggering 568 feet (173 meters) above the ground, you can feel the strong Osakan winds and have your fill of the panorama of Osaka. On a clear day, you can see as far away as Awaji Island.
How Do I Get to the Umeda Sky Building?
It is located at 〒 531-0076 1-1-88 Oyodonaka in Kita-ku, Osaka. Most visitors to Japan prefer the cleanliness and efficiency of the railways.
It is a nine-minute walk from any of the following stations:
- Osaka Station on the Japan Railway line
- Osaka-umeda Station on the Hankyu Railway line
- Umeda Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji line
- Higashi-Umeda Station on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi line
- Nishi-Umeda Station on the Osaka Metro Yotsubashi line
The History of Umeda Sky Building
The building was first conceived in 1988 as part of the City of the Air project which aimed to create four interconnected skyscrapers in Osaka. The plan was eventually approved but with just two towers instead of four.
The building was designed by renowned Japanese architect Hiroshi Hara, who also designed Kyōto Station, the Yamato International building in Tokyo, and the Sapporo Dome in Hokkaidō.
It was built by the Takenaka Corporation in 1993 and, until 2008, was mainly owned by Toshiba Corporation. At that point, it sold a 65% stake to Nomura Real Estate. Toshiba still owns 35%.
There are hundreds of tenants in the building including Mazda, which has an office in the eastern tower. Its neighbor includes the Consulate-General of Germany.
What Can I Experience in the Building?
The Umeda Sky Building is not Osaka’s tallest building, but it certainly has much to offer. Here are some of the highlights that you can enjoy:
Take in the Views From the Floating Garden Observatory (Kuchu Teien Tenbodai)
From the sky lobby which offers shops, a touring base, restaurants, and a bar, you head up to the rooftop skywalk to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience of the unknown world above the clouds.
When you’ve had your fill of glorious views of Osaka and beyond, you can head back down to the sky lobby and choose a souvenir from the gallery shop and enjoy a delicious meal at the Sangu Chinese Restaurant, Stardust Sky Lounge, or Sky 40 café.
Before you leave, just remember to take a look at the Floating Crater for yet another perspective of Osaka.
If you visit at night, you can participate in the Lumi Sky Walk, where the stones in the floor emit a beautiful and subtle glow.
Take a Step Back in Time at the Showa Retro Shopping Street (Takimi Koji)
From the clouds to the basement, this building has it all! The basement floor is where you’ll find Takimi Koji, a recreation of a traditional Showa-era street complete with over 20 food and beverage shops that are beloved by tourists and locals alike.
Make sure you pass by Osaka’s popular okonomiyaki restaurant called Okonomiyaki Kiji, where you can satisfy your appetite with a delicious Kushinobo.
For those of you who are less adventurous in your eating, there are several western-style food outlets as well.
Enjoy a Movie at the Cine Libre Umeda
With four screens and an ambiance that can’t be beaten, why not catch a movie at the Cine Libre Umeda, which shows blockbusters and independent films from around the world.
Take in Some Culture at the Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum
Located on the 27th floor and surrounded by stunning views, the state-of-the-art museum welcomes visitors from around the world to experience the inventiveness of Kinutani’s art.
Koji Kinutani is one of Japan’s most renowned contemporary artists.
With multi-dimensional, mixed-media, sculptural, and fresco artworks, the museum encourages visitors to immerse themselves in an unforgettable visual experience.
There are even playful workshops and atelier spaces, boasting something for everyone.
Satisfy your culinary and shopping cravings at the shops and restaurants
Here are some of the restaurants and shops you can visit during your time in the building:
- Willer Express Café
- Koji Kinutani Tenku Art Museum Tenku Café
- Pound House Umeda Store
- Bar ; Café Lago di Ciero Parco
- Mazda Brand Space Osaka
- Jesus Diamante
Go Behind the Scenes With a Guided Tour
For those who like nothing better than to get a glimpse of the unseen, the guided tour is perfect for you, and with a personalized guide in English, Chinese and Korean audio, no one will miss out on what the guide has to say.
You will learn that the ‘Machine Zoo’ is the name for the machine room that supplies electricity and thermal energy to the whole of Shin-Umeda City, including the building.
You will also have the chance to cross the Sky Bridge, located 285 feet above the ground. It is usually only used during an evacuation, but you get a chance to cross the floating bridge and experience the unique views it has to offer.
You will also learn some of the rare and unusual facts about the building’s construction.
Experience the Intricate Gardens at the Base of the Tower
Before you enter the building, why not take a moment to enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens of the Naka-Shizen no Mori, with its 2,100 trees, waterfall, and peacefully quiet walking paths.
If you’re there in June, make sure you visit at night so you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful fireflies.
The Shin-Satoyama landscapes to the north of the building also let you experience the traditional Japanese landscapes of crops and rice fields.
The highlight is the Kibou Kabe, the concept of architect Tadao Ando which comprises a ‘wall of hope’ made from plants of flowers.
What is the best time to visit?
The building is open to the public each day of the year. However, your experience of the Floating Garden Observatory might be more enjoyable during the warmer seasons, where you can view the city’s skyline in the clear warm weather, and marvel at the tree blossoms below during spring.
Is there anything else I need to know?
If you like the personalized experience, why not try a guided tour by a professional guide who will give you fascinating building history and trivia and let you see places that are normally off-limits to the public.
Your experience will be curated according to the purpose of your visit, from tourism to business or education.
The tour costs 3,000 yen (although children are free) and will proceed in groups of two to nine people. It runs between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm.
You won’t be able to take a tour if you visit on Tuesdays or Sundays, as the tour service is closed on those days.
You can enjoy the building between 9:30 am and 10:30 pm throughout the year, although each individual facility will have its own hours of admission.
The Kuchu Teien Observatory is open between 9:30 am and 10:30 pm.
The building is open throughout the entire year.
Cost of admission
Adults will pay 1,500 yen to enter the building and access the observation deck.
Children (4-12 years old) will pay 700 yen.
Don’t forget to check out the official website on the day of your visit to know the exact time when sunset occurs. Copyright by TankenJapan.com