Translated by Lester Somera
Hop On The Red Osaka Landmark, HEP FIVE's Ferris Wheel
Written by Keisuke Yamada
HEP FIVE in Umeda is a multipurpose commercial complex with more than 170 shops to explore, and its roof houses an Osaka landmark, the HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel.
When strolling around Umeda in Osaka, you will come across a giant red Ferris wheel. It leaves a definite impression on any first-time visitor to Osaka, who will think “What’s a Ferris wheel doing in the middle of the city?” Actually, you can really go for a ride on this Ferris wheel, located atop the HEP FIVE commercial complex.
What Is HEP FIVE?
HEP FIVE is a multipurpose commercial complex with a great number of tenants. The name comes from the acronym for Hankyu Entertainment Park (HEP) and the Hankyu Five complex which was originally located in the same area. With three sub-levels and ten floors, HEP FIVE is replete with fashion brand boutiques targeted at teens and women in their 20s. In total, there are more than 170 shops in the building, including accessory shops, gourmet restaurants and amusement centers.
The Red Whale Greets Visitors
As you enter HEP FIVE, this gigantic whale will be the first to greet you. The red whale, suspended in the atrium area from the first to the sixth floor, is 20 meters in length. Produced by the Japanese musician Tatsuya Ishii, the whale overwhelms all its visitors with its powerful presence. Recently, more and more people have been taking photos with the whale set as the backdrop, and you could even say that it is the HEP FIVE symbol.
Take a Ride on the Red Ferris Wheel
After you take a photo together with the red whale, head to the roof and ride the Ferris wheel. Admission is only 500 yen.
Many people ride the wheel in the evening or at night so that they can see the sun setting over Osaka or the city nightscape. There is comparatively less traffic here during the daytime on weekdays, so if you want to avoid the crowds, plan your timing accordingly. The staff will bring the guests to their Ferris wheel gondola in turns, so buy your ticket and wait in line.
There are stickers affixed inside the gondola, indicating what you can see on the north and south side.
Since the HEP FIVE Ferris wheel sits atop a building, it naturally goes much higher than other Ferris wheels, which might be a little scary if you don’t like heights.
You can also see Osaka Station.
This photo was taken from the highest point reached by the Ferris wheel. You can get a sweeping view of the Osaka skyline, with its buildings lined up in rows. One rotation of the HEP FIVE Ferris wheel takes 15 minutes. We recommend going on a day with good weather, so you can see as far as possible and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Introducing Some HEP FIVE Shops
As we wrote above, HEP FIVE has plenty of tenants, and Boston Club gets many visitors from overseas, looking to buy fashionable shoes and wristwatches. The branch carries exclusive items that are only found in HEP FIVE, so check it out when you visit.
CRAFTHOLIC® has popular items for women, like hug pillows and other items to make every day fun.
Evelyn is a popular shop for young women. The robot Pepper came to greet us at the door.
The Ferris Wheel at HEP FIVE is a landmark of Osaka, so when you come to Umeda, by all means, hop on and get an unbroken view of the city.
HEP FIVE Ferris Wheel
Address: Osaka, Kita, Kakuda 5-15
Hours: 11:00 - 22:45 (last boarding)
Closed: No fixed holidays
Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi access (inbound tourism support)
Credit cards: No
Nearest Station: Umeda (Hankyu)
Access: Three minutes from Umeda
Price: 500 yen (free for children younger than elementary school age)
Homepage: HEP FIVE