Don Quixote Ferris Wheel (Ebisu Tower)
Osaka’s funkiest ride.
It’s been an iconic symbol of Osaka’s entertainment district for over a decade, and yet, for the past several years visitors to the city have beheld its towering splendor and thought, “What is that thing?” It’s the Don Quixote Ferris Wheel, of course!
Confusion turned into awe in early 2018 when the Ferris wheel, the largest (77 meters or 252 feet) and only ovular one in operation in the world, reopened. The funky Ferris wheel stands outside the popular store Don Quixote (locally known as “Donki”) but had previously been defunct for years. That’s why most tourists don’t realize it is an actual ride, not just for show.
Don Quixote shops in the popular nightlife district, Dotonbori, are usually flooded with tourists taking advantage of the tax-free goods for sale. In addition to a shopping experience that offers everything from Japanese snacks to brand fragrances to sex toys, now shoppers and visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the city in a new way.
Take a ride
The Donki store with the Ferris wheel attached to it is one of two Don Quixote in the area. Equipped with a waiting room and souvenir shop, the revamped ride has become a tourist attraction itself.
Going for a spin around the funky Ferris wheel facing Dotonbori canal takes about 15 minutes. The wheel itself has 32 four-seater round pods, and from the top, you can see the shopping district as well as some of the city’s main attractions like Tsutenkaku Tower and the tallest building in Japan, Abeno Harukas. It’s especially spectacular at night when it’s all lit up.
The Ferris wheel is also known as Ebisu Tower since it is decorated with a giant picture of Ebisu, the deity of commerce, as well as the Don Quixote brand character. Ebisu is particularly revered in Osaka, historically a merchant city. The Ferris wheel shouldn’t be too crowded on the weekdays but there may be extended wait times depending on the time you go over the weekend. It is open daily and will only close due to poor weather conditions.
Ebisu Tower is parallel to the Tombori River Walk and right nearby is the famous ramen shop Ichiran, so have a stroll and make a dinner date out of it. Famous sightseeing and shopping districts Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi are adjacent.