Floating Garden Observatory (Umeda Sky Building)

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3/5

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Date of travel

March, 2016

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We’re all keen gardeners and liked the sound of “Floating Garden Observatory”:http://www.kuchu-teien.com/observatory/index.html#_=_ located at the top of the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka which, at 173m tall, consists of two main towers connected by the observatory.

Having found the right entrance, a lift took us to the 3rd floor ticket booth (¥700 or £4.60) before another lift took us to the 35th floor. A sign asked people to wait four abreast when busy, but we were lucky as it was quiet and we had the lifts to ourselves. A long tube-type, see-through escalator took us to floor 39 where we climbed a final staircase up to the 40th floor (phew).

Firstly, there was a wall display of other tall buildings around the world and we took great delight in ticking off the ones we’d visited.

The open-air rooftop corridor around the building gave us an unobstructed 360-degree view of Osaka and Yodo River with its numerous bridges. We’d have liked one of those etched maps pointing out the main buildings so had to make do with trying to work them out for ourselves with the aid of our map. We could just about make out the green roof of Osaka castle which was also on our must do list.

Inside, a video (with English subtitles) showed the building of the observatory. We were amazed at the backing music – Land of Hope and Glory. We almost felt as though we should be standing to attention.

There was the usual gift shop, a small café and a restaurant which would be great at night.

Finally, we visited the basement Takimi-koji restaurant mall, a replica of a Japanese street in the 1920s Showa period where we had a drink and snack. Whilst we’d really enjoyed the views, the question on all our lips was, where did it get its horticultural name from as we’d not seen a single plant or flower.

Helen Jackson

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