Are you entertained?
Umeda, Osaka’s northern city center, can get overwhelming, with its veritable labyrinth of malls, train stations, and eateries that intersect and overlap in sometimes convenient, sometimes utterly confusing ways. To get away from the crowds, why not change your perspective and take a spin on the bright red ferris wheel that rests smack in the middle of the madness?
105 meters from the ground and 75 meters in diameter, the popular ferris wheel sits atop HEP 5, one of Umeda’s hippest malls. The glass-walled gondolas offer grand views of the city below and the surrounding metropolitan area – you can even spot Nara’s Mt. Ikoma in the distance on clear days. However, rider beware: there’s a local legend that if you take a spin with your significant other, you’ll break up soon after!
HEP stands for Hankyu Entertainment Park, an apt name for a shopping complex that seems to have it all, including over 100 of some of the coolest shops in the area plus an array of eateries and entertainment centers. Visited by 17 million shoppers per year, the majority of whom are young women, it’s one of the most popular fashion boutique centers in the city. Floors B1 through 6F feature clothes and goods; parts of the 5th and 6th floors and the entire 7th floor house trendy restaurants; and you can find the “amusement zone” on B2 and the 8th and 9th floors, largely comprised of Joypolis, an indoor amusement park with various simulator and arcade games.