Take note — the admission prices for some of these places are waived with Osaka Amazing Pass.
At 300m, Abeno Harukas is Japan’s tallest building and on a clear day offers magnificent views of Osaka and beyond. The stylish Harukas 300 observatory (1,500 yen per adult; approximately US$14) features floor-to-ceiling windows as well as several glass floor panels where you can peer straight down onto the buildings below. More thrills can be had with a new “Edge The Harukas” experience (1,000 yen per person) that takes you outside to a narrow deck from where you can peer right over the side. For a more relaxing experience, arrive in the late afternoon to watch the city light up as the sun goes down.
How to get there: Quickest access is via Osaka Abenobashi station on the Kintetsu Minami Osaka line. Alternatively, head to nearby Tennoji station on the Midosuji or Tanimachi subway line, or on the JR Loop, Hanwa, or Yamatoji lines.
If the mere thought of standing atop Abeno Harukas leaves you feeling queasy, perhaps the nearby Tsutenkaku tower, at a third of the height, is a better option. Located in the heart of Osaka’s lively Shinsekai district, Tsutenkaku’s observation deck (700 yen per adult) offers fine vistas of the local area, including a bird’s-eye view of nearby Tennoji Zoo. The deck is also home to a statue of Billiken, a kind of charm doll that’s become one of the area’s most famous symbols. Don’t leave without rubbing the soles of its feet, an act that’s said to bring good luck. Back on the ground, head into Shinsekai to feast upon the district’s speciality of kushikatsu, succulent deep-fried skewers of meat and veg.
How to get there: Nearby stations include Dobutsuen-mae on the Midosuji and Sakaisuji subway lines, Ebisucho on the Sakaisuji subway line, and Shin-Imamiya on the JR Loop line.
Be sure to hold on to your hat as you step onto the outdoor observatory (1,000 yen per adult) at the very top of Umeda’s imposing Sky Building. Acting as a bridge between the building’s two towers, the 170-m-high platform offers impressive views of Osaka in every direction. Check out the passenger jets flying close by on their final approach to Itami Airport, and see if you can spot one of Osaka’s oddest sights — an office building with a highway passing straight through the middle of it.
How to get there: The Sky Building is about a 10-minute walk from JR Osaka station or Umeda station on the Hankyu line.