A city within a city, Abeno Harukas anchors the urban core of Osaka

Osaka, Japan

Abeno Harukas (a name that means “to brighten”) galvanizes Japan’s second largest city, serving as the southern gateway to Osaka. Situated above the busy Abeno-Tennoji railway station, this sweeping tower attracts visitors to Japan’s largest department store, a museum showcasing Japanese art, a hospital, university, offices with stunning views, and a hotel and dining. Natural light fills soaring atria and a cascade of rooftop gardens offer tranquil spaces for relaxation. The three-level public observatory on the tower’s upper floors offers panoramic views of the city, historic landmarks including Osaka Castle, and the spectacular natural beauty of surrounding the mountains and bay. 

Sited in a high-density urban area, the shape of the large volumes comprising the tower were determined through various factors, including wind impact, relation to the scale of the surrounding community and circulation of occupants. 

Elegance in complexity

Among Japan’s tallest towers, the envelope and profile of Abeno Harukas effortlessly integrate the diversity of uses into one elegant and coherent gesture representing a true vertical city. The tower’s asymmetric structural megatruss, optimized to the wide-ranging scales of program, seamlessly incorporates a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces. Open to the sky, the glass-enclosed roof top parks, terraces, interior patios, and numerous atria, provide serene areas to relax, live in community, and enjoy the outdoors. In the lower underground levels, Abeno Harukas integrates the bustling metropolitan railway network, which handles up to 70,000 passengers per day. 

CO2 emissions reduction compared to similar buildings

Future-thinking, integrated design for environmental sustainability, comfort, and safety 

The tower’s advanced sustainability features include Japan’s first urban biogas system, which transforms wet refuse into energy. Energy-recovery systems draw in and utilize wind and cool fresh air for storage and circulation throughout the building, via carefully located and sized fresh air shafts.  The system is also designed to use exhaust heat from air-conditioning to provide hot water. Together these systems reduce CO2 emissions by more than a third. A truss frame installed on the upper levels, inspired by the central pillar design of traditional Japanese pagodas, stabilizes the tower to withstand a 2,000-year earthquake. These cutting-edge structural and mechanical systems are efficiently integrated into the architectural expression of the tower through innovative use of glass louvers, shadowboxes, and glass technologies. 

The 360-degree panoramic view stretches from Mt. Ikoma to Kansai International Airport and Osaka Bay and all the way to the Rokko Mountains and the islands of Shikoku and Awaji. Dramatic views from the observatory are enhanced using glass-floor construction and open corners. 
Above the office levels, the hotel occupies 20 floors on the high-rise portion of the tower and rises to be Osaka’s highest hotel. 

More About the Project

Principal Collaborators

  • Architect of Record: Takenaka Corporation
  • Local Architect: Jun Mitsui & Associates

Project Information

  • Location: Osaka, Japan
  • Client: Kintetsu Railway Co.
  • Size: 2.3 Million sq. ft. / 212,000 sq. m.
  • Completion: 2014
  • Certification: CASBEE S
  • Firm Role: Design Architect
  • Photos courtesy of Kintetsu Railway Co.
  • Diagram courtesy of Takeneka Corporation