1. Abeno Harukas Observatory
    Photo: Osaka Convention & Tourism BureauAbeno Harukas Observatory
  2. Kuchu Teien Observatory at Umeda Sky Building
    Photo: Paul Cuoco/UnsplashKuchu Teien Observatory at Umeda Sky Building

3 best observation decks in Osaka for stunning views of Osaka city skyline

Get the best views of Osaka from three of the city’s tallest buildings, each looking out to a different part of the city

Lim Chee Wah
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Lim Chee Wah
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One of Japan’s largest cities, Osaka is a sight to behold, especially if you’re seeing it from high above in a skyscraper, of which there are plenty. The best part is, the three top observatories in Osaka are located in different sections of the city, each affording a unique 360-degree view. 

The Sakishima Building observatory (also known as Cosmo Tower) looks out to the Osaka Bay area while Umeda Sky Building’s Kuchu Teien Observatory looms over the bustling downtown district of Kita that’s currently going through an exciting redevelopment. The vertigo-inducing Abeno Harukas Observatory that sits on the rooftop of Abeno Harukas, on the other hand, offers a contrasting view of modern Osaka alongside the post-war town of Shinsekai.

Of course, these three top attractions have more than just jaw-dropping views. The observatories have cafés, outdoor decks, various vantage points and photo spots to boot, making it easy to lose a few hours here feeling like you’re on top of the world.

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Kuchu Teien Observatory at Umeda Sky Building
Photo: Kuchu Teien Observatory

Kuchu Teien Observatory at Umeda Sky Building

One of the most exhilarating experiences at Umeda Sky Building’s Kuchu Teien Observatory is riding the see-through, tunnel-like elevator from the 35th floor to the 39th floor Sky Lobby. It’s quite a trippy ride that primes you for the jaw-dropping views from the top.

The light-filled 39th floor houses a restaurant and bar as well as shops. One floor up is a gallery and a café where you can relax over coffee and waffles while taking in the scenery from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The Sky Walk on the rooftop at 173 metres above ground is the highlight. The circular walkway lets you enjoy a full 360-degree panorama of the Osaka skyline.

Here you get to see the Yodo River flowing into Osaka Bay, a sight that’s especially stunning come sunset. On clear days, you can even spot Awaji Island and Mt Rokko in the distance. Immediately around you is the downtown district of Kita and Umeda, whose modern architecture makes for a mesmerising nightscape when the lights come on after dark – a sight you can enjoy to your heart’s content as Kuchu Teien Observatory opens late into the night.

Sakishima Building Observatory
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

Sakishima Building Observatory

The tallest building on the man-made Sakishima Island in the Osaka Bay area, the Sakishima Building (also known as Cosmo Tower) houses Osaka prefectural government offices as well as one of the city’s best observation decks. Here you’ll get an unobstructed 360-degree view of Osaka from the 55th floor, 252 metres above the city.

The artificial island of Yumeshima, the site of Expo 2025, can be seen to the west. Squint at the far distance and you might spot Awaji Island along with Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the world’s second-longest suspension bridge. The windows to the north offer a quintessential view of Osaka’s waterfront, including the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel, Universal Studios Japan and, further away, the Umeda Sky building. The modern skyline of Osaka stretches out in the east while aeroplanes take off and land at Kansai International Airport to the south.

Come in the evening for the spectacular sunset, which can be enjoyed seated and with a drink in hand at the facility’s café. One thing you will appreciate about Cosmo Tower Observatory is that the all-glass windows are slanted to reduce glare and reflection – perfect for photos.

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Abeno Harukas Observatory
Photo: Bennymarty/Dreamstime

Abeno Harukas Observatory

Occupying the three uppermost floors of Abeno Harukas, this observatory atop Japan’s tallest building offers views that stretch all the way towards the horizon. Interestingly, from 300 metres above ground, Osaka looks more like a diorama than an actual city.

You can spot the city’s historical landmarks including Osaka Castle, Shitennoji Temple and Tsutenkaku Tower nestled among modern skyscrapers. You can also look out across Osaka Bay and even catch sight of aeroplanes taking off and landing at Kansai International and Atami airports. The latter scenery is particularly mesmerising after dark with all the flickering lights.

Your time at Abeno Harukas Observatory, however, involves more than just taking in the panorama. The elevator, which transports you from the 16th to the 60th floor all-glass indoor gallery in just 50 seconds, has interesting light effects that make the journey feel like teleportation. The open-air wooden deck on the 58th floor offers lots of space for you to linger. Here you’ll also find an indoor café plus a heart-shaped photo spot designed specifically for loved up couples.

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