Tsutenkaku Tower

Tsutenkaku Tower © Iry

Description

This tower is a tower that maintains an old fashioned taste while standing in a modern area. This tower called "The building that leads to heaven" has a viewing platform at 100m. It is not quite as high as the 300m Abeno Harukas however the sights at Tsutenkaku are not just about the view.

Rather, it was built as a tourist symbol for the new area in 1912 as a "new attraction of Osaka", and was destroyed in 1943 after a large fire. Volunteers rebuilt the current Tsutenkaku after that, and it remains a beloved symbol of Osaka for the people who live there.

The contrast between the low-rise buildings and the colorful advertisements around it may look peculiar but it is a distinctly modern look. It offers a 100m-up view of Nara prefecture, bordering on Mt. Ikoma and Rokko, a 360 degree panorama that might surprise you with how far you can see. If you look downward you'll see Osaka from a new perspective, and be able to see the ebb and flow of the city as if it were breathing, giving you a new appreciation of Osaka.

Billiken, Tsutenkaku's symbol

In Japan, when you climb Tsutenkaku, the first thing that greets you is "Billiken", with his pointed head and straight-line eyes. His expression is characterized by his mouth with his plump cheeks and the corners of his mouth pulled back in a grin. He is beloved as a "God of things as they ought to be", and people come to ask for his favor for their marriages, success in school, and the like. It is said stroking the soles of his feet brings luck.

What might surprise you about this beloved figure is that he was actually made by an American. Ms. Florence Pretz produced this figure from an image she saw in a dream, all the way back in 1908. It became very famous, and in the Luna Park amusement park which opened around the same time they created the "Billiken-do" temple where the original image was held.

However, after Luna Park closed he went missing, and so it was decided he should be in Tsutenkaku in 1980. The carving was reconstructed by the original copyright holder. He ended his role in 2012 when he was replaced with a new one due to wear on the one installed in 1980, and the one currently existing in the tower today is the third-generation Billiken.

The fun's not over yet!

Other than Billiken there's plenty to see in the observatory. On the third floor is the Luna Park Diorama, showing 100 years of history between Tsutenkaku and the surrounding area through videos and photos of the time, and allows you to do a little time travel back to the old days. There is also the Café De Luna Park where you can try a variety of soft creams and parfaits and take a little rest.

On the second floor there is also the Kinnikuman Museum which is themed after the popular Japanese manga Kinnikuman. There are masks and images of the characters around, and also a life-sized duplicate of the manga's main character Kinnikuman. It has become a dearly-beloved place for fans of the manga.




Image Gallery: Tsutenkaku Tower


Description: Tsutenkaku Tower

Sights Tsutenkaku Tower (通天閣)
Rating  
Address 1-18-6 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
大阪府大阪市浪速区恵美須東1-18-6
Phone / Fax Phone: 06-6641-9555 / Fax: 06-6641-9559
Website
Duration 45Minutes
Business Hours Monday:09:00-21:00 (Last entry by: 20:30)
Tuesday:09:00-21:00 (Last entry by: 20:30)
Wednesday:09:00-21:00 (Last entry by: 20:30)
Thursday:09:00-21:00 (Last entry by: 20:30)
Friday:09:00-21:00 (Last entry by: 20:30)
Saturday:09:00-21:00 (Last entry by: 20:30)
Sunday:09:00-21:00 (Last entry by: 20:30)
Closed dates 7 days open
Admission Fee Pay admission: 700yen
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+)


Map: Tsutenkaku Tower