Retro Japan: Clock tower that survived WWII air raids, quakes keeps watch over Osaka
OSAKA -- A building in this western Japan city designed to look like a pendulum clock, with an actual clock on the top, has survived World War II air raids and earthquakes, and keeps watch over the city.
The Ikoma Building was constructed in 1930 in the art deco style, and served as the head store of clock and watch importer Ikoma Shoten, now known as G.Ikoma Ltd., along the Sakaisuji Avenue office district in Osaka's Chuo Ward. It is still in use today.
The structure was designed by Hyozo So, a leading figure in the Kansai architectural world. The exterior walls are covered with tiles with a parallel scratch pattern and decorated with terra cotta. Seven granite eagle sculptures are placed at the entrance and above the show windows. During WWII, the area was repeatedly bombed, but thanks to its solid concrete walls, the building survived the war. As its foundation uses about 500 pine logs staked into the ground, the structure was apparently not damaged in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
Its space is now leased commercially, featuring concierge services, making the most of its luxurious feel. The building's symbol, a clock tower on the roof, still ticks away, watching over the ever-changing city of Osaka.
(Japanese original by Tatsuya Onishi, Osaka Photo Department)
* * *
The Japanese version of this article was originally published on June 14, 2020.
* * *
This series explores Japan's architectural wonders and secrets of yesteryear. Read more Retro Japan articles here.