A truly classic and iconic Osaka attraction with over 100 years of history the Tsutenkaku tower is the focal point of the Shinsekai area and has very special place in the heart of the locals. Literally meaning the "road to heaven tower", the tower sits in an area first developed as an entertainment district in the early twentieth century.
Originally built in 1912 the tower stood 64 meters (210ft) tall, making it one of the tallest structures in Asia at the time and an attraction bringing in people from all over the area.
The second world war saw it damaged and dismantled due to the war efforts need for steel, but the locals wanted it back and the rebuilt structure was finished in 1956. The current tower was designed by Tachu Naito, architect for Tokyo Tower and the considered the father of earthquake proof design, and the height is listed as 108m (354ft) including the top antenna, with the observation decks and an outdoor platform just below.
It's not only the beautiful view of Osaka that is special about the Tsutenkaku tower. At night the tower is illuminated in colors that change every month to reflect the current season, for example pink in April (cherry blossoms), orange in October(autumn leaves) and white for the winter in January. The observation deck shows colors according to what the weather will be like the next day: white is for sun, orange means cloudy, blue is rain and the top half signifies early, lower half later.
The surrounding Shinsekai (meaning New World) and was originally designed to emulate the atmospheres of Paris and New York, has seen its ups and downs throughout the years. At the time of the first construction of the tower a Coney Island inspired amusement area called Luna Park was built and together with the tower drew people to the area, but the park closed in 1923 after only eleven years in business. Later on came the second world war and with that the dismantling of the tower and the area fell into poverty.
Since the 1990s Shinsekai has gone through a thorough revival and in recent years the influx of tourists to Osaka has brought back some of its old glory. People come for the tower and to try out the famous kushikatsu (deep fried skewers) that originated down here. Another place well worth a visit is Tower Knives just east the tower. Some the world's best kitchen knives can be found at this very special shop where master chefs from all continents come to purchase one of their most important tools.