Cheap places with the best views of Osaka

Osaka is well known for its neon lights and pretty cityscape, both of which are best enjoyed from places that offer great views! Many tourists end up paying lots of money in search of the best views, but when travelling on a budget, every dollar saved is a dollar earned. Finding the best views in Osaka doesn’t have to be an expensive affair, and there are quite a few places that offer amazing views for under 1000 yen! Here’s a list of the best observation decks and Ferris wheels Osaka has to offer, all under 1000 yen.

Osaka Castle Tower 

Osaka castle is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks and is a symbol of Osaka itself. This is one of the first places people visit when travelling to Osaka as the castle is surrounded by impressive circles of defense, large moats and pretty gardens. A mere 600 yen gives you access to the castle tower, and the observation deck within it.

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The main castle tower sits above an elevated platform, which traditionally served as a deterrence against assassins since the nearly vertical smooth wall is very difficult to climb. Now this elevation means that the tower functions wonderfully as an observation deck, offering a nice view of the city. 

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While the tower’s height of 50 metres is not particularly high, it gives fantastic views of the beautiful surrounding castle gardens, which is particularly gorgeous in spring. For an additional 200 yen, you can explore these surrounding gardens. I’ts is open from 09:00 to 17:00. Location

Kanku Observation Hall Sky View (Kansai International Airport)

If you’re going to Kansai International airport and have some time to kill before your flight, this is the perfect place to relax and take a couple of amazing photographs. Called Sky View, this observation deck allows you to watch aeroplanes taking off and landing up close, giving a stunning an unique viewing experience.

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The sky view can be accessed through a shuttle bus from bus stop 1 outside the Passenger Terminal Building. Its proximity to the runway means that you get front row seats to watch the planes fly overhead from the rooftop park on the 5th floor.  There is also an observation deck on the 4th floor. The best part- it’s free!

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For those interested, the building also hosts the Sky View Museum on the 3rd floor, which can be accessed for 500 yen. It showcases the history of Kansai international airport and has fun facts about planes. It’s great for those with children, or those who love planes. This is open from 08:00 to 22:00. Location

Osaka Prefecture Sakishima Observatory (Cosmo Tower)

Cosmo Tower is one of the tallest towers in all of Japan, boasting a height of 256 metres, with a total of 55 floors above ground and 3 floors under ground. It primarily serves as the center of trade information of Osaka, and is linked with 282 cities all around the world. 700 yen is all you need to access to the observatory on the 55th floor.

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One of the coolest aspects of this observatory is the see through elevator, which will take you directly to the 52nd floor in just 80 seconds. You can then make your way up to the 55th floor where a 360 degree panoramic view of the city and sea nearby awaits. The tower allows you to see as far as Awaji Island and the Rokko Mountains!

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This is also the perfect place to view the gorgeous sunset, after which you can enjoy the illuminated night skyline with the lights of the towns nearby and the ships offshore. On the same level as the observation deck there is also a bar and retaurant. The observatory is open from 11:00 to 22:00. Location

Hep 5 Ferris Wheel

HEP 5 is a shopping complex with trendy shops catered towards teenagers and college students. Easily the most recognisable part of HEP 5 is the giant, bright red Ferris wheal poking out of the complex, known as the HEP 5 wheel. This one always comes up as one of the best bargains for those looking for great views.

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The gondolas take you to the top of the wheel, which is 106 metres high, giving wonderful views of downtown Osaka, the harbour nearby and on clear days, even Mount Ikoma. This attraction is really popular among young couples and families!

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HEP 5 is also a fantastic place for shopping and entertainment in general. It is especially great for an evening out, if you have a free day. It is very conveniently located and costs only 500 yen per person, which is why it is so popular among young people. The wheel operates from 11:00 to 23:00 with last admission at 22:45. Location

Sakai City Hall Observatory Lobby

This is a 21 story government building where the top most floor is open to all and serves as on observation lobby. The idea was to have a space for residents to enjoy and appreciate their city, all for free! There are resting places and restaurants on the same floor, and the observation deck is 80 metres from the ground floor.

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Sakai city hall remains popular among locals. The observation windows face all directions for a pretty 360-degree view of the cityscape. The building, being just in front of the tomb of Emperor Nintoku, gives great views of the world’s largest keyhole-shaped tomb, and other surrounding scenery.

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On clearer days, you can see as far as Mt. Ikomato the east, the Kansai International Airport to the west, and Osaka Castle to the north. Its open every day, all year round, so there’s no need to worry about unexpected closure. It is open on weekdays from 09:00 to 21:00, and from 10:00 to 21:00 on weekends and holidays. Location

Tempozan Ferris Wheel

Japan sure loves its Ferris wheels. Known for being a prime shopping area, Osaka Bay is also home to the massive Tempozan Ferris Wheel, which was once the biggest and most technologically advanced observation wheel in the world, before being overtaken by the London Eye. 

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At 112.5 metres high, the ferris wheel gives amazing views of sea and ships passing nearby, the surrounding mountains, and of course the city of Osaka. The night view of the illuminated city is very famous and like HEP 5, has become a popular date spot. It is located right next to Osaka Aquarium, and many like to visit the two spots together.

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Everyone knows Osaka loves its flashy lights. The wheel also boasts the world’s first “skyrocket fireworks” lighting pattern with illuminations 100 metres in diameter. It costs 800 yen per person, a bit more expensive than the other places on this list but still fairly reasonable. It operates from 10:00 to 22:00. Location

Tsutenkaku Tower

Last but certainly not the least we have a landmark of Osaka that has appeared in several movies, the Tsutenkaku Tower. With a height of 64 metres, it was the tallest structure in the East Asia at the time it was built. Its name means ‘Building leading to heaven’ because of this..

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The tower now stands at 103 metres after reconstruction. With an observation deck on the 5th floor, at 91 metres, it offers a bird’s eye view of Osaka in a particularly eccentric part of the city, Shinsekai. The neon sign at the top presents weather forecasts (white for sunny, orange for cloudy, and blue for rainy) through flashy lights. 

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At the basement of tsutenkaku is a theatre, offering rakugo (comic storytelling), manzai (comical conversation), and enka (ballad) singers on weekends. The admission fee for  the tower is 600 yen for adults, 500 yen for university students, 400 yen for students and 300 yen for children. 
It is open from 09:00 to 21:00, with last admission at 20:30. Location

As you can see, finding the best views in Osaka doesn’t have to be expensive after all. There are many places where you can find great views for under 1000 yen, in many different parts of Osaka. I hope this is useful for your planning. Happy Travels!

[adapted from my now missing odigo page]


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