Tower Reaching Heaven

From wikipedia:


Tsūtenkaku (通天閣), lit. "Tower Reaching Heaven", owned by Tsūtenkaku Kanko Co., Ltd. is a well-known landmark of Osaka, Japan and advertises Hitachi, Ltd. It is located in the Shinsekai district of Naniwa Ward, Ebisu Higashi 1-18-6.


Its total height is 103 m: the main observation deck is at a height of 91 m.


The current tower is actually the second to occupy the site. The original tower, patterned after the Eiffel Tower, was built in 1912, and was connected to the adjacent amusement park, Luna Park, by an aerial cable car. It quickly became one of the most popular locations in the city, drawing visitors from all over the area. The Japanese government dismantled the tower in 1943, believing that it would serve as a reference point for American bombing raids on Osaka: the iron in the tower was melted down and used for war material.


After the war citizens lobbied to rebuild the beloved tower. A private company, the Tsūtenkaku Kanko Co. Ltd. was established and on October 28, 1956, the second-generation tower was opened.


On the fifth floor observation deck is enshrined Billiken, the God of Happiness or "things as they ought to be." Billiken, a popular American charm doll that came to Japan in about 1910, was enshrined within Luna Park when it opened. When the park was closed in 1923, the wooden statue of Billiken went missing. As a part of an effort to revive the tower, a copy of Billiken was made from an old photograph and placed inside the tower in 1979. The statue of Billiken became closely associated with the tower and is a popular symbol of good luck. Each year thousands of visitors place a coin in his donation box and rub the soles of his feet to make their wishes come true.


The tower is also famous for its neon lights, which change every few years (they were shut off during the oil crisis of 1974-76). Hitachi has sponsored the tower since 1957, and the light designs usually spell out Hitachi advertisements, although one side of the tower is usually occupied by a public service announcement. (The picture here shows the south side of the tower, which translates to "Hitachi Information Technology Solution")


Explored, highest position: #43

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Taken on January 20, 2009