Often, the best way to fully grasp the magnitude of a city is seeing it from above. There's a great article on Japan Travel featuring Tokyo-based observation decks where you can do just that, but what are the options in Osaka? This guide covers five observation decks in Japan's third-largest city.
Also known as the Osaka Prefectural Government Sakishima Building, Cosmo Tower holds the title of the second tallest building in Osaka. The observation deck here sits on the 55th floor, and provides 360 degree panoramic views of the city and beyond.
Typically, the admission to this observation deck is ¥800, but it's included for free if you purchase an Amazing Osaka Pass – if you're planning to visit several of the destinations listed on their site you're likely to save a bit of cash.
1 Chome-14-16 Nankokita, Suminoe Ward, Osaka, 559-0034
Kuchu Teien Observatory
Located within the Umeda Sky Building, the Kuchu Teien Observatory spans the 39th and 40th floors plus a rooftop level, and also includes a café serving coffee and waffles, a Chinese restaurant, and a sky lounge. There's even a gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs from your visit, including cookies with the Umeda Sky Building printed on them.
1 Chome-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita Ward, Osaka, 531-6023
Tsutenkaku Tower stands 103 meters in height, and was designed by Japanese architect Tachū Naitō – he also was the mastermind behind Tokyo Tower. The main observation deck at Tsutenkaku sits at the 91 meter mark and affords visitors great views out of the city, including glimpses of nearby attractions like Tennoji Park and Zoo.
The tower itself is seen as one of the symbols of Osaka City, and it even serves as a weather indicator – the way it's illuminated at night helps passersby know the forecast for the next day! You can find the "code" for the weather forecast illuminations here.
1 Chome-18-6 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002
Taking up the 58th, 59th, and 60th floors of the Abeno Harukas building (Japan's tallest building), Harukas 300 affords visitors some spectacular views of Osaka and beyond, including Kyoto, Kobe, and the Rokko mountain range. One unique point about a visit to the observatory is that even the restrooms have floor to ceiling windows, ensuring that you don't miss the views even for a minute!
1 Chome-1-43 Abenosuji, Abeno Ward, Osaka, 545-0052
Osaka Castle Observatory
For a little slice of history with your observation deck experience, head to Osaka Castle. The observatory is only accessible by stairs, and it provides a unique perspective since there is no glass barrier between visitors and the views of the city – there is some wire netting installed for safety purposes, however.
1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002