For the last leg of my Japan trip, we visited the Umeda Sky Building, which was just a short distance away from our area in Namba. Now, not everyone finds it worth their time visiting a ‘building’ when there are so many other things to do in Japan. However, you might want to hear me out first before deciding whether or not you want to forgo a trip to its peak.
SO WHAT MAKES THE UMEDA SKY BUILDING WORTH VISITING?
It is an iconic landmark in Osaka, so I guess for the same reasons you would visit the KL Towers in Malaysia, or the Empire State Building in New York – a chance to get a good view of the entire city. Although they also call it the ‘Floating Garden Observatory’, there is no garden up there, other than the sky, the horizon and the panoramic view of the city.
WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE?
The open air observatory is a unique circular-shaped construction, that is quite unique and inspiring (especially for those who like architecture) – and it connects two skyscrapers together, giving it another name of ‘skyscrapers connected in midair’, translated from Japanese. The observatory is also home to the Yumi Katsura Lover’s Sanctuary – where lovers can purchase a set of heart-shaped locks to lock their eternal love there at the top.
CAN WE DINE UP THERE?
Unfortunately, food is not allowed up at the observatory. However, you can head down to the basement level, where you will find the Takimi Lane of Restaurants. There are quite a few selection of dining options there, and the decor of the entire area is an imitation of the street in Naniwa during the Showa era.
OKAY. HOW DO WE GET THERE?
From my location at Namba Nankai Station, take the Midōsuji Line to Umeda’s Osaka City Subway. It’s an 8 minute ride, with a fare of JPY240/MYR7, one way. Once there, you need to get directions from the station master or tourist centers for walking directions. It’s quite difficult to explain and you will need to go through an underpass to get there, so ask for directions.
As always, for my other posts during my time in Japan, please refer to my first Osaka post which has all the relevant links, as well as some practical travel tips.
Upon exiting the Osaka Station, take some time to explore the surrounding area as there are quite a number of nice eateries and sceneries to enjoy. We had a great weather that day, cool and sunny at the same time with a perfect amount of clouds in the sky. I observed quite a few outdoor dining establishments being set up and even an area to enjoy a nice mug of beer. The Japanese are very well-known for their way of enjoying life as best as they can.
Like I mentioned, getting to the Umeda Sky Building can be quite confusing, unless you ask locals to direct you. It’s across the highway, so you need to walk a little further down from your exit at the station, where you will find a crossing that leads you to an underpass tunnel. It’s pretty easy to go from thereon, as you exit the underpass, you will find yourself at the foot of the massive building (or should I say buildings).
The tickets cost JPY700/MYR20 per adult, but they have different rates for children and senior citizens as well. At this point, you can also opt to buy a Love Lock at the Yumi deck for about JPY1,000/MYR28 per lock – and have your names engraved on it. I didn’t get any since I was here with my mom and sister, and our love is eternally bound by blood anyways. 😀
After having our fill of the city’s sights, we stepped down from the observatory and headed straight for the basement to where the Takimi Lane of Restaurants is at. As mentioned, the area is an imitation of the street in Naniwa during the Showa era – nostalgic relics, stone-paved alleys and lattice doors are some examples of what you can find there. I found quite a few beer girl posters here, and they look very much like the vintage ones, remade on lacquer. The food around there seems quite standard, I had ramen and it wasn’t mind blowing or anything.
Now that our little adventure is coming to an end, we had to have one more thing before heading back and departing for the airport – Japanese crépes! This particular store is hidden near an exit in Umeda’s Osaka Station (where we arrived at). Look for this little place called Crépes de Cocorico. They have a nice selection of crépes with assorted fillings – but I love none other than their Strawberry Cheese Cream. The chocolate ones are not too bad either. See their menu here.
The crépes are amazingly soft and fluffy, and the cream is just heavenly! I swear you can find no other crépe this good here in Malaysia. So when in Japan, have a Japanese crépe!
That was probably the last photo I took for the day. After finishing our delicious crépes, we dashed off and headed back to Namba again where we perused our last few hours in Osaka to shop around Dōtonbori and a nearby mall.
Sayonara Japan, until we meet again! 🙂