Once I was done at Bentencho Station I had some time to kill before going over to the east of Osaka to visit my friend Oki so was taking the the JR Osaka Loop Line round to Kyobashi station when I noticed something interesting between Fukushima and Osaka stations. I thought my eyes were deceiving me at first but it seemed like there was a highway going right through it.
With time on my side, I got off at Osaka station and rode back one stop to investigate this building. Less than ten minutes away on foot is the 16 floor TKP Gate Tower office building (5-4-21 Fukushima, Fukushima-Ku). Sadly it was closed, probably because it was the Japanese Golden Week holiday at that time, though I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have been able to see much if anything at all had I been able to enter.
Subsequent research has shown that there are no floors five, six and seven as that is where the Hanshin Expressway passes through the building without touching the sides, so to speak! The road is suspended on a bridge surrounded by a tunnel to prevent noise and vibrations to the floors lying above and beneath it.
Anyone looking through the train window on the south side of the loop line can see this crazy building with the road sticking out either side of it. The short video below shows the journey as you pass by the TKP Gate Tower in an anti-clockwise fashion.
The reason both building and highway co-exist with one another is due to a compromise between the government and the lands right owner following a dispute that went on for a few years. It is explained better in this video from YouTuber ‘Only In Japan‘.
I’ve encountered buildings that have been built over roads but they’ve always been at ground floor level so to have one going through different floors is certainly unique and almost roller-coaster-like!
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