If I were to pick the most well-known park in Osaka, it would be Banpaku Expo’70 Commemorative Park, or Banpaku for short. Built after the 1970 World’s Fair, more commonly referred to as Expo ’70, Banpaku Expo’70 Commemorative Park is located just north of Osaka in Suita City. From the 70’s to even now, many people come to this park at all times of the year.
Many events and competitions have taken place held in Osaka, but nothing has even been as successful as Expo’70. Roughly 64 million people came during the 183 days that Expo’70 took place. Based on census data that means roughly 60% of Japan’s entire population attended the event. Compared to the Nagoya Expo in 2005, this means three times more people attended Expo’70 than the one in Nagoya.
Once Osaka became the host city for Expo’70 work began on the massive venue. The design consisted of 77 individual country pavilions that represented each country’s culture and technological achievements. This was especially exciting for the people of Japan, as many of them had never been to a foreign country, or seen people from overseas.
Not only were people excited to see foreign things, but also to experience the future. Long moving walkways connected the pavilions, and entire venue was surrounded by free automated monorail. It was as if a futuristic international city just popped up just in a few years in the middle of nowhere.
Many major Japanese companies also took part in Expo’ 70. In an attempt to advertise their products, these companies used state of the art technology. A number of products that are commonplace today also debuted in Japan during Expo’70. Just to name a few are:
- canned coffee
- electric cars
- mobile phones
- nuclear energy
- conveyor belt sushi
- fast food
Banpaku Expo’70 Commemorative Park
The entrance fee to Banpaku Expo’70 Commemorative Park is 250 yen and allows you to freely enter and exit the park, so don’t lose it! This ticket also covers admission to the Japanese Garden as well.
Once you enter the park, you will see the symbol of Banpaku Commemorative Park, the Statue of the Sun, or Taiyo no To. Built as the symbol of Expo’70 this statue is a well-known symbol of Osaka. Moreover, it is probably a Gundam.
There are a number of faces on the statue and all of them represent different points in time: The face at the top represents future, the one in the center represents present, and the black sun on the back represents past.
Exploring Banpaku Expo’70 Commemorative Park
The park is lots of fun regardless of which time of the year it is. Let us show you some the park at different times of the year!
Just after the Statue of the Sun is Omatsuri Hiroba. This area held a number of festivals during Expo’70 and still holds festivals at the park throughout the year today.
In the park, there is a museum that exhibits various kinds of things from Expo’70. Though this museum looks quite big, it only 30 minutes or so to walk through.
Banpaku Park is famous for its pretty nature all over the park.
During the fall you should check out the Sora-do. This 10m tall suspension walkway lets you walk among the colorful tree tops.
Banpaku is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms too! There are about 5,500 cherry blossoms trees throughout the park.
Don’t forget the hydrangea and rose gardens in the early summer!
Points of Interest
During Expo’70, this quiet Japanese garden served to contrast the modern atmosphere of the rest of the park. The interesting part of this garden is if you walk from west to east, you can enjoy various Japanese styles of garden from the ancient to the modern.
Information: Banpaku Expo’70 Commemorative Park
1-1Senribanpakukoen, Suita City,Osaka Prefecture
10 minutes walk from Banpakukinenkoen Station off Osaka Monorail or 15 minutes walk from Yamada Station off Hankyu Kitasenri Line. The latter option is significantly chepaer if you visit from Osaka.
9:30~20:00 (closed on Wednesday)