Over the weekend while attending a unique club-turned-campsite event at Club Daphnia, I decided to stop by the Tower of the Sun (太陽の塔) because it’s one of the few attractions in Osaka that I haven’t been to yet. The Tower of Sun is located in Osaka’s Expo ’70 Commemorative Park among flower gardens, museums, and other recreational facilities. There’s even a “Dream Pond” with pedal boats (much like Tokyo’s Ueno Park) and a foot bath you can use. This area is truly a unique place and feels like it’s part of an RPG map with the Tower as a dungeon surrounded by fields of flowers. It’s also far away enough from the city that you can leisurely relax here, but you can easily access it by riding the Osaka Monorail.
The tower itself is 70m tall and was designed by the artist Taro Okamoto for the 1970 Japan World Exposition. The design was a hit success and attracted millions of visitors so it still stands in the exact same place today. According to the Official ’70 Expo Website, the three faces of the tower each represent a different phase of life:
The “Golden Mask” located at its top, which shines and suggests the future, the “Face of the Sun” on its front, which represents the present, and the “Black Sun” on its back, which symbolizes the past.
From the front it looks like it only has two faces, but if you walk around to the rear of the tower you can see the black face of the past and enter the museum. Unfortunately due to the effect of the corona virus, the museum was temporarily closed. However, the gift shops and cafes were still open and there was a lot of sightseeing for me to do in the park. There is a 4th face within the tower as well as intricate sculptures demonstrating the evolution of life (from the dinosaur age until the present) so I hope to come back to see it in the future when it’s open.
This tower has become somewhat of a meme in Japanese society due to its unique design. I’ve seen a number of people cosplay it on Halloween and apparently it has somewhat of a cult-like following. Some Japanese people around me were describing it as “scary-looking” but it just looks like something out of a NieR game to me. I honestly think what it symbolizes is truly wondrous and I’m happy that they kept it as the mascot of the Expo park. The souvenirs they sold at the gift shop were hilarious too! You could buy anything from $100 action figures and plush dolls to $5 dollar keychains. I liked the design of the T-shirt too. I bought a keychain because I thought it was very cute.
On my way back I saw a takoyaki store that had Tower of the Sun action figures next to it. As I was taking a picture, the man gave me a thumbs up sign. I really love Osaka and am excited to write all about my adventures here! Despite the fear of the virus, life in Osaka seems to be carrying on as normal which is relieving.
1-1 Senribanpakukoen, Suita, Osaka 565-0826
Entrance Fee: 250 yen (the cheapest I have paid to enter a tourist attraction in a while)