Lonely Planet Writer

The famous Osaka Ferris wheel turns again after nine-year hiatus

Visitors to Osaka in Japan will probably have seen the bright, yellow Ferris wheel that sits proudly along the Dotonbori River in the city but few people realise that it’s an actual ride. For the past nine years the wheel has been knocked out of commission due to a mechanical fault but now both Osakans and tourists alike are able to take the journey once again.

Dotonbori Ferris Wheel was built back in 2005 in the front of Don Quijote – a 24 hour discount mall – but was shutdown after just three years in operation.

Also known as the Ebisu Tower – so called because Ebisu, the god of business prosperity features on its façade – the wheel has been renovated to spin again and now includes a newly-built waiting area which houses Japanese souvenirs.

More than 4000 people applied to ride the Ferris wheel during its test run this January and the renovation and remodeling of the wheel is said to have cost 250 million yen (US $2.3 million). The oblong wheel takes 15 minutes to do a full cycle around and costs 600 yen (US $5.50) to ride. It stands at over 77 metres-high and holds 32 capsules which can hold four passengers each.

Dotonbori-Ferris-Wheel
Passers-by walk in front of a large ferris wheel featuring oval-shaped, oblong-style outer track and portrait of Ebessen the god of business prosperity along the promenade on the Dotonbori River in Osaka. Image by GettyImages/KAZUHIRO NOGI

Facing the river and with views of one of Japan’s tallest skyscrapers, Abeno Harukas, the ride is open from 11am to 11pm, weather permitting. The store chain hopes that the revamped wheel will encourage more people to visit the cosmopolitan city.