JAPAN: Tsutenkaku Tower, Naniwa Tanken Cruise and Namba

Osaka Japan Tsutankaku TowerOne attraction in Osaka that Osakans are really proud of is the Tsutankaku Tower. It is probably the architecture in Osaka Japan with the most history behind it.

The current Tsutenkaku Tower is not even the original one. The original Tsutenkaku Tower is a tower on top of an arch. Its design is actually inspired by combining Paris' Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. That old Tsutenkaku Tower was dismantled during World War II so it can supply iron to be used for the war. When the war is over, the citizens of Osaka have made an effort to rebuild Tsutenkaku Tower. This is a part of Osaka's history that every Osakan is proud of. For us tourist, we should be thankful that there is still a Tsutenkaku Tower that stands in Osaka for us to stare and marvel at.

Osaka Japan Tsutankaku TowerJapan Osaka ShinsekaiThe Tower is easily accessible from Ebisucho Station of Osaka Subway's Sakaisuji Line. One of the exits from the subway lead you straight to the entrance of Shinsekai.

Shinsekai is the neighborhood around Tsutenkaku Tower. It is full of shops and restaurants that cater to both locals and tourists alike. Tsutenkaku Tower doesn't help the neighborhood by just bringing in tourists to help the local entrepreneurs but it also provides them time and weather forecasts. Right at the top of Tsutenkaku Tower is a huge neon lit clock and a neon light that produces combination of color to indicate weather.

Japan Osaka Central Public Hall
Behind the trees is the Osaka Central Public Hall
If the weather is nice, it is not a bad idea to go cruising around Osaka River. Two subway stops away from Tsutenkaku, you can hop on a cruise that goes around the rivers and canals of Osaka. There are two cruise available that takes pretty much the same route, the Osaka River Cruise and the Naniwa Tanken River Cruise. The Osaka River Cruise is on a open-top boat while the Naniwa Tanken River Cruise is on an air-conditioned boat with retractable top and windows. Naniwa Tanken is three times more expensive but since it was the summer time when we were there, we went with comfort over price.

Osaka Japan Naniwa Tanken River Cruise
The boat we rode on for Naniwa Tanken River Cruise
The River Cruise starts in Minato-Machi River Place and it docks right in front of Namba Hatch. The guide only speaks in Japanese. Though we understand a little Japanese, our vocabulary is not that wide yet and the guide speaks a little bit of Kansai dialect as well so we chose to just listen to the provided audio guide in English that comes with a brochure as well.

Osaka Japan Running Glico ManThe cruise starts off passing through a flood gate and you get to see the actual opening and closing of each flood gates which is a unique experience. It also passes underneath dozens of bridges some of which seems to low that they even play a suspense background music as you pass through them.

Japan Osaka DomeOther than the history you learn from listening to the audio guide, the best thing about this cruise is being able to see a number of Osaka's attractions and architectures in a single ride. Some of which are Osaka Central Public Hall, Dotonbori's Running Glico Man, and the Osaka Dome.

Japan Osaka River
View of the river with the Naniwa Tanken cruise boat passing by
While we were already in the place, we went ahead an walked around Namba after the cruise. There are a number of interesting architecture around Namba. Other than the bridges that cross the rivers, the most notable architecture is the Namba Hatch.

Osaka Japan NambaNamba Hatch is the spaceship looking building that stands above the parks of Namba. It is a venue for special events and movie premieres. When we were there, there was a long line of people all dressed-up in kimonos and we found out that they are actually there to watch a movie premiere.

Osaka Japan Namba Hatch
Namba Hatch