OSAKA -- A Ferris wheel built right onto the front of a Don Quijote Co. discount shop here will reopen on Jan. 19 after nearly 10 years in mothballs.
The Ebisu Tower Ferris wheel at the retail chain's Dotonbori outlet in Osaka's Chuo Ward was shut down in June 2008 after a crack was found in one of the rails. However, as the area is very popular with foreign tourists and the ride is at a prime location along the Dotonbori riverfront, calls had been growing to get the Ferris wheel moving again. Don Quijote Co. responded by spending some 250 million yen to repair the attraction.
The tower and its Ferris wheel gondolas were opened to the news media and other interested parties for a test ride on Jan. 15. The waiting room is decked out with lucky charms and replicas of snacks like kushi-katsu, or deep-fried meat and vegetables on skewers, while each of the 32 gondolas has its own decorative theme such as Mount Fuji.
The Ferris wheel tower rises some 77 meters over the Dotonbori district, and passengers can catch a glimpse of the Osaka cityscape including Abeno Harukas, Japan's tallest office building.
The Ferris wheel will run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. One ride takes about 15 minutes, and each gondola can accommodate four people. Admission is 600 yen per person.