Umeda Sky Building
With its unusual profile and epic views, the Umeda Sky Building is the coolest tower in town.
In the heart of the Umeda business district, the Umeda Sky Building makes its presence known with a distinct silhouette: it is comprised of two 40-story buildings connected at the top by a circular roof from which you can see the entirety of Osaka and beyond.
Designed by Japanese architect and author Hiroshi Hara, who also designed Kyoto Station, the Sky Building was originally intended to be four buildings connected at the top when first conceived as “The City of Air” project in 1988. However, after the economic bubble of 1980s Japan burst, it was cut down to two towers which were finished in 1993.
At 173 meters high, the Sky Building is only the 19th tallest building in Osaka but still has one of the most popular views in town. Predominantly an office building, its main feature is the Floating Garden Observatory, or Kuchu-Teien Tenbodai. The trip to the top is not for the faint of heart. Take a glass elevator all the way to the 35th floor, from which you can take a glass-encased escalator to the 39th floor. Here you will find an inside observatory from which to take in the view away from the elements. On this floor you can also find Sangu, a Cantonese-style restaurant, as well as the Sky Lounge Stardust, both of which feature premium views of the city.
The 40th floor features an outdoor observation deck from which you can get a 360-degree view of downtown Osaka and its surroundings (some say you can see all the way to Awaji Island on a clear day). Of course the view is epic at any hour, but it’s especially magical at dusk and after sunset, when the lights of the city twinkle around you. Stop by SKY40 Cafe for an assortment of drinks, alcohol, and sweets.
The basement of the Sky Building contains the Takimi-Koji gourmet market, which features built-in alleyways that replicate the retro streets of early Showa-era Osaka. Outside is a carefully landscaped urban garden with a flowing river, waterfall, flower beds, and walking trails.
Various festivals and markets are open throughout the year at the base of the Sky Building. Each year from mid-November until Christmas, a German Christmas market features German food, drinks, and crafts.