Translated by Hilary Keyes
The Tower of the Sun - Osaka's Expo Park's Artistic Symbol
Written by Keisuke Yamada
Expo '70 Commemorative Park in Osaka, built in 1970 for World Exposition, is well-known for its symbol statue, the Tower of the Sun (Taiyo no to). This park offers fun and relaxation for the whole family. Let us introduce you to it!
Expo '70 Commemorative Park - Fun for the Whole Family
Curving down the left side is the entrance to the Expo Park.
The Expo '70 Commemorative Park (Banpakukinen koen) is located in Osaka. Opened in 1970 by the Japan World Exposition Association, this public park was constructed using the highest technology at the time.
The Expo '70 Commemorative Park is a place where you can enjoy open spaces full of flowers and various plants, barbecue spaces, Japanese style gardens, sports facilities, and even hot springs. Whether sightseeing at the park or stopping by to relax during your trip, while in Osaka, this is definitely a place not to be missed.
Today, we are focusing on the symbol of the Expo Park, The Tower of the Sun.
How to get to the Expo Commemorative Park
The nearest station to the Expo '70 Park is Banpakukinen Station on the Osaka Monorail line. Once you've passed through the ticket gates, head straight down along the walkway. You will soon see a large business space entitled "EXPOCITY". Turn to the left and you will find the entrance to the Expo Park.
Because the park is quite spacious, it is a good idea to carefully check the map before entering the grounds, just to confirm the way to the site you are interested in visiting.
The closest entrance to the park from the station is the central entrance. At the ticket machine, purchase your tickets and head inside. Adult tickets cost 260 yen and children's tickets cost 70 yen.
What is the Tower of the Sun?
As you enter the park, the Tower of the Sun (Taiyo no to) stands right before your eyes. It's quite impressive and many people have reported being deeply moved by the sight of this statue.
The Statue was commissioned by the 1970 Japan World Exposition Association and created by the artist Taro Okamoto.
The statue has three faces, the golden face on the top is ten point six meters in diameter and represents the future.
The sun face in the center is impressive twelve meters in diameter and represents the present.
Lastly, the painted black sun on the back of the tower is eight meters in diameter and represents the past. In total, the tower is seventy meters tall, has a base diameter of twenty meters and the total width of the arms is twenty-five meters.
It is worth taking a closer look at the detailed work found on the Tower of the Sun. The different materials used make the faces appear to change at different angles.
Check out the Main Festival Plaza's Metal Roof
Near the tower, there is a large metal object. This structure was built by the Japan World Exposition Association and once a central part of the main exposition space.
Designed by the architect Kenzo Tange, the original structure was quite fragile. In order to preserve the memory of its former glory, and to make it more stable, a metal roof section has been erected here.
A Playground to Enjoy with the Whole Family
As mentioned before, the Expo '70 Commemorative Park is very family-oriented. There are many things to enjoy here for big and small alike.
1. The Expo's Amazing Bicycle Plaza
The Expo Bicycle Plaza is a playground where you can ride unique bicycles that can't be found anywhere else in Japan. It offers about 100 bicycles in forty different varieties here.
It only offers children's bicycles and can also be a fun place for children to learn how to ride the bicycle as well. It sure will provide the little ones with good memories.
2. Yatta Ne No Ki
This is also a widely popular attraction among children. Close to the bicycle area is the Yatta Ne No Ki, a giant slide.
Standing at twelve meters tall with a total length of thirty meters, this giant slide is often overrun with children on holidays and weekends. We highly encourage to visit during the weekdays as it is much calmer and the slide doesn't require as much waiting time.
3. The Boat Playground
This is a boat-themed playground decorated with the slogan Let's head to the Expo's future!. Around the circumference of the playground, you will find many sea creatures.
Meet the friendly octopus.
How about this adorable crab slide? Don't worry, all the sea creatures here are very friendly.
Paddle Around the Pond
Inside the park, there is a pond with boats that can be freely enjoyed by everyone. The Dream Pond Paddle Boats are shaped like jets, swans, cups, tents, and whales. With this many shapes to choose from, everyone can find their favorite.
There is also a yacht called Ahodori Nisei (ahodori "albatross", nisei "the second"). It is the smallest yacht to have ever circumnavigated the globe. It is even registered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
It is only a display and you can not actually ride it but it is still worth checking out
Come for the Landmark and Stay for the Fun
The Expo '70 Commemorative Park is popular with the locals as a place to spend the weekend with family. It is a great place to relax, have fun and check out some impressive art.
Once you've checked out the Tower of the Sun, how about taking a little time to relax and see all the other wondrous spots there are in the Expo '70 Park?