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Guide to Tsutenkaku Tower
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Guide to Tsutenkaku Tower

Set to open a new 60m-tall slide in 2022, Osaka’s iconic Tsutenkaku Tower is set to become even more of an attraction this year.

Table of contents:
A Brief History of Tsutenkaku Tower
Where Is Tsutenkaku Tower?
Exploring Osaka
Bonus Recommendations 


Originally based on the famous Eiffel Tower, Osaka’s Tsutenkaku Tower may not be as well-known as its French cousin but has been an iconic landmark in Japan for over 100 years. This year it is set to become even more popular with locals and international visitors alike with the addition of a 60m-tall slide to the tower. Yes, you did read that right. A huge fun park-style slide is being installed to the tower to create a thrilling and unique new attraction at this already iconic landmark. If you’re brave enough to have a go, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible and unforgettable view of Osaka’s skyline, and it is estimated it will only take 10 seconds to slide from the top to the bottom. Talk about breath-taking! In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Tsutenkaku Tower and the lively Shinsekai district of Osaka where it is located, how to get there with the JR Pass, the lowdown on the new attraction, and much more. Get ready for the slide of your life! 

A Brief History of Tsutenkaku Tower

This famous tower has more than 100 years of history and looks set to take on new life in 2022. Tsutenkaku literally means ‘tower reaching heaven’ and was built in 1912 to emulate Paris’s Eiffel Tower. The original tower was taken down during the Second World War, but rebuilt in 1956 by Tachu Naito, the man behind the Tokyo Tower and Sapporo TV tower.  Today, it remains an iconic landmark, not just in Shinsekai but in all of Osaka. It stands 103 metres tall and has an observation deck at 91 metres. In 2015, an outdoor viewing platform was added which offers stunning panoramic views of Shinsekai and wider Osaka. Tsutenkaku is open to the public and remains an iconic landmark and meeting place in the area. It’s also a stunning sight at night, as it is covered with LED lights which change colour with the seasons. With the addition of the new slide set to open this year, Tsutenkaku Tower will become an even bigger attraction for visitors to Osaka. 

New 60m Tower Slider opening 2022

Set to open in time for Golden Week in Japan (April 29-May 5), the new 60m-tall slide will feature a transparent top so you can appreciate the view as you take a high-speed journey from the tower’s observation deck to ground level. It will be officially named the Tower Slider and will feature a spiral design that wraps around the tower. Golden Week is a famously busy series of national holidays in Japan and perfect timing for such a larger than life attraction that’s sure to draw huge crowds to Tsutenkaku Tower. 

Key features of Tsutenkaku Tower: 

  • It is 103 metres tall
  • The observation deck is at 91 metres
  • The current version of the tower was designed by Tachu Naito - Japan’s ‘king of towers’
  • The tower is famous for its coloured LED lights which change with the seasons. For example, pink during the cherry blossom season
  • The lights on the top of the tower also act as a weather forecast beacon for Osaka
  • A 60 metre tall slide will open in 2022

Where Is Tsutenkaku Tower?

Located in Shinsekai, Osaka, the area surrounding Tsutenkaku Tower is an attraction in itself. Shinsekai is a gateway into Osaka’s past street life, a nostalgic glimpse of the retro glitz and glamour of early 20th Century amusements, and a unique, fun, and vibrant place to explore. One of the best things to do in Shinsekai is simply to enjoy the retro atmosphere. Shinsekai’s alleyways, adorned with lanterns, retro signage, glowing neon, amusement arcades, bars, restaurants, and more, feel like time stopped decades ago in these unique streets, and that is a major part of the area’s unlikely charm. Look out for the covered Jan-Jan Yokocho Lane, which takes its name from the ‘Jan-Jan’ banjos traditionally played by waitresses to attract customers to the tiny, hidden bars and restaurants. For a detailed guide to the district read our guide to Visiting Shinsekai: Osaka’s retro futuristic old town

How To Get There

Tsutenkaku Tower, in the heart of Shinsekai, is close to a number of train and subway stations. The nearest station to the tower is Ebisucho Station on the Metro Sakaisuji line. Dobutsuen-mae station is also just 10 minutes away. Shinsekai is within walking distance of Shin-Imamiya Station on the JR Loop Line and Tennoji Station and can also be reached from Namba (via Shin-Imamiya Station) and Umeda Stations (via Dobutsuen-Mae Station). 

Getting to Osaka itself is super easy with the JRailPass too. You can reach the city from Tokyo and Kyoto on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen. Once in Osaka, the easiest way to get around the city is using public transportation, so you’ll want to invest in a prepaid travel card such as an ICOCA, PASMO or Suica card, as well as a Japan Rail Pass for getting around the rest of the country. Check out our Top 30 Tips for Using Japan’s Metros for advice and guidance on using the city’s subway network. Osaka is huge so you may also want to invest in PocketWifi to stay connected and avoid any unwanted data charges if you happen to need directions or language advice while you’re on the move. 

Exploring Osaka

Known as Japan’s kitchen because of its famously good seafood and other delicacies, Osaka has much to offer visitors. Famous districts, landmarks, highlights, and other attractions include:

  • One of Osaka’s most famous districts, Dotonbori is Osaka’s historic entertainment district and is as famous for its neon lights (such as the Gilco Running Man and the giant mechanical crab outside Kani Douraku restaurant) as it is for its amazing street food. Read our guide to The Best of Dotonbori for more. 
  • Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s most stunning castles. Surrounded by the beautiful Nishinomaru Garden, which has more than 600 cherry blossom trees, the castle also features the latest interactive technology for visitors. Discover more in our guide to Visiting Osaka Castle.
  • Located in the Osaka Bay area, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is one of Japan’s best aquariums and one of the largest in the world, with 30,000 marine animals from across the Pacific Ocean. You can find out everything you need to know in our guide to What To See at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.
  • Umeda is Osaka's business district and also boasts an impressive tall building with spectacular views - the Umeda Sky Building which has 360-degree panoramic views of the city. 
  • Last but definitely not least - food! Osaka is famous for its food and Shinsekai - where Tsutenkaku Tower is located - has its own specialities and is packed with fantastic places to taste authentic, down-to-earth Japanese cuisine. Arguably the area’s most famous dish, Kushikatsu is essentially deep fried food served on a skewer, which is then dipped (once only) in sauce. The filling can be a variety of things from fish and meat to vegetables and even desserts, but Shinsekai is known for using seafood, chicken, beef, asparagus and even banana. You’ll find lots of kushikatsu restaurants on Jan-Jan Yokocho Lane, although the most recommended is Kushikatsu Daruma, which opened in 1929. Foodies should also check out the street food of Dotonbori and the Michelin-starred fine dining of restaurants such as Ajikitcho Horienten or Ichiju Nisai Ueno Minoten as well as food markets like Kuromon Ichiba Market. Osaka really has something for everyone.

Bonus Recommendations

If you’re a fan of tall buildings with spectacular views check out this list of bonus recommendations:

  • Tokyo Tower - the most iconic sight of the Tokyo skyline: at a height of 333 meters Tokyo Tower has been the most iconic sight of the Tokyo skyline for over 60 years.
  • Of course, Tokyo has more than one tall building (many more in fact!) and more spectacular views. Another recommendation is the 634 metre tall Tokyo Skytree, which has an incredible 360° observation deck. 

It’s not all about futuristic skyscrapers of course. Toji Temple - an iconic five-storey pagoda in Kyoto - is the tallest wooden tower or pagoda in Japan. Follow this read up with our guide to the Five Most Beautiful Pagodas in Japan for more travel inspiration.   

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