Friday, 27 November 2015

Tsutenkaku - A Building Leading To Heaven

When I first saw the tower, I actually thought it was really nothing special. Tsutenkaku (or what some of us tourists call the Hitachi Tower) isn't that tall. Rather, it's location in Shinsekai (New World) that caught my interest and later I leaned about the interesting history of the tower itself.
While Shinsekai has the meaning of "new world", it is not "NEW" in today's current view. The area was developed during the pre-war era and was neglected for decades.
Patterned after the Eiffel Tower and with its surrounding; the Arc De Triopmhe, the original Tsutenkaku Tower was the highest structure in East Asia at the time it was built in 1912 at 64 metres.
The original structure suffered a fire in 1943 and was severely damaged and the tower's steel was used for war effort.

After the war, citizens and shop owners in the area of Shinsekai (New World) lobbied to rebuild the tower in order to regenerate the area. An NHK documentary showed how shop owners of Shinsekai bought shares of the tower, when the effort to rebuild the tower started and funds were needed for it.
The current Tsutenkaku tower stands at 103 metres, with an observation deck located at the height of 91 metres and where one can see "Biliken", the Japanese God of Things As They Should Be.
As Hitachi as its sponsor, visitors to the area can see Hitachi name displayed prominently on the tower.

The tower is famous for its neon lights, although it was shut down during the oil crisis of 1974-1976. The neon lights is now replaced with LED lights showing different color sets every two months.

Walking around the surrounding area of Tsutenkaku can feel a bit surreal. For me, at least.
There were shops that seems to have no business at all, with old, sunlight-worn merchandises on display. Shops selling used electronic items. Hubby and Son relished stopping at a shop selling old computer games, both consoles and cartridges.
There were the shops that target tourists, with plenty of items sold for souvenirs and of course feature Biliken. There were performance artistes holding a show at one corner, with old ladies selling snacks seated directly opposite them. A mime at the entrance too. Then, we get to see some quaint cafes selling coffee and sandwiches tuck amongst it all. And of course, long lines at shops selling kushi-katsu; deep-fried skewered food that seemed to be hugely popular with everyone.

We visited the area during the day which was really packed with people.
Then later at night, Hubby and I enjoyed a quiet and lovely view of the area and Tsutenkaku in peace. At 3.00am, to be exact. ^^

At that time, the tower indeed looks romantic and a sight to behold.

11 comments:

  1. I love the idea of a god of things as they should be! And how peaceful it looks at 3 AM.

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    1. Yup. It was really peaceful after midnight. :)

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  2. One of the iconic symbols of Osaka. I hear that Shinsekai was modeled after parts of both New Year and Paris.

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    1. I wasn't all that impressed at first, before knowing the history of the tower itself. Hihihi

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  3. Did you take any photos of the used electrical items, the old game consoles? Would love to see them. It looked much more nice at 3am, no crowds with lots of space to walk

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    1. No.

      Didn't want to annoy the shopkeepers. Hahaha

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  4. Hi! I enjoyed your explanation about Tutenkaku tower. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Hi! I enjoyed your explanation about Tutenkaku tower. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I agree that it looks romantic at night. I must pay more attention to all the towers in Osaka on my next trip.

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