Tsutenkaku is known as a symbol of Osaka that has appeared in many films. It was built in 1912 as the symbol of “Shin-Sekai” meaning a new world. The concept was very typical of Osaka: build a steel tower that can be like Eifel Tower in Paris on a building designed in the image of the Arch of Triumph. With a height of 64 m, it was the tallest construction in the East Asia at the time and named Tsutenkaku, meaning “Building reaching to heaven,” by Fujisawa Nangaku, a Confucian in the early Meiji period. After that, it was dismantled after a terrible fire but reconstructed at the request of citizens. At 103m, the new Tsutenkaku has become 39 m higher than the original one. In 2007, it was registered as a tangible cultural property of Japan.
With an observation platform on the 5th floor with a bird’s eye view of Osaka and Billiken, a deity believed to bring good luck if you rub the soles of his feet, the tower is attracting 700,000 people every year. The round neon sign on the top of the tower is displaying a weather forecast using a combination of colours (orange for cloudy, white for fair, and blue for rainy). A theatre in the tower basement is offering performances of rakugo (comic storytelling), manzai (comical conversation), and local enka (popular ballad) singers at weekends.