By Amanda Ho
Nagoya has a number of interesting and unique landmarks, such as Nagoya castle, the TV Tower, Oasis 21, the Nagoya Station Twin Towers and the most recent, and strangest of all is the Sky Boat, a 42 meter diameter Ferris Wheel with 28 glass bubble gondolas mounted on the side of Sunshine Sakae, the large shopping and entertainment complex in the very center of the CBD!
Opened in March 2005, Sunshine Sakae boasts six floors above ground and one underground floor of fun! The B1 section features a small performance space, known as the “Grand Canyon”, where local “Idol Talents” (ie, cute entertainers) perform their song and dance routines for the hoards of Otaku fans. The B1 section also hosts a Pachinko Parlor, (The national pastime that was created in Nagoya!) that also takes up part of the first floor, which it shares with a Tulley’s Coffee café. There are more quality cafés, dining areas and a bar on the second floor, including Nagoya’s version of the Ramen Museum. (Yes, it’s hard to imagine a museum dedicated to noodles in soup, however, this is the real deal!) The third floor is taken over by Tsutaya, a rental DVD, CD, comic and game outlet, more of interest to the resident than the tourist. Entry to the Sky Boat Ferris Wheel can also be found on this third level. Up market trendy men’s and women’s fashion stores fill the fourth floor, with beauty and Ikkyu relaxation massage services available on the fifth, and more restaurants including Tamura, a yakiniku (BBQ grill) and Kimura-An, an Izakaya styled open pub dining on the top floor.
Illuminated by bright, colorful LEDs at night, the Sunshine Sakae complex looks stunning! The Ferris wheel starts revolving around 11am daily, shutting down about 9pm. It takes approximately 15 minutes to make a full turn, and during the ride that costs 500 Yen, you’ll be provided with a great view of the city central. For riders at night, the view is spectacular, and there’s the added bonus of a Sunshine Sakae rooftop giant screen that can only be viewed from top of the big wheel! If for nothing else, the complex makes for an interesting photograph.
The shopping might not be so cheap, but the bars, café’s and restaurants are quite reasonable, and a ride on the Sky Boat is a pleasant way to take short break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Set aside at least half an hour, as you’ll be wanting to ride the Ferris Wheel twice, because after all, one good turn deserves another!
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Chris Glenn is an Australian born radio DJ, TV presenter, helicopter pilot, and advertising copywriter. A follower of samurai culture , he is a member of the Japan Armor and Weapons Research and Preservation Society, has black-belt in Kendo, 2nd black-belt in Chanbara sword fighting disciplines, and currently studies Shinkage and Enmei Ryu techniques. A long term resident of Japan, he is extremely passionate about preserving and promoting Japanese history and culture.