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August 1997

World's Tallest Ferris Wheel in Osaka

The world's tallest Ferris wheel opened in July at an amusement park in the city of Osaka. It measures 112.5 meters (369 feet) from the ground to its apex, and the wheel has a diameter of 100 meters (328 feet).

This huge wheel at the Tenpozan Harbor Village in Osaka's Minato Ward is 4 meters (13 feet) higher than the Ferris wheel in the city of Otsu, Shiga Prefecture; the diameters of the two wheels, though, are the same.

Osaka Waterfront Development Corporation , the company that built the wheel, says it's going to submit an application to get the ride mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records.

It's got 60 cabins that seat eight people each, with two of them designed to accommodate wheelchairs. One revolution takes about 15 minutes.

Another big attraction of the huge wheel is the way it's lit up at night. The patterns were created by an internationally famous illumination designer, Motoko Ishii, and can be seen until 10 o'clock every night. One of the patterns, which change every hour, resembles a fireworks display.

The illumination is not just pretty; it's also quite useful, showing temperatures and the weather forecast for the following day.

It's possible to see as far away as the Kansai International Airport and even the Akashi Ohashi Bridge from the Ferris wheel on a clear day.

Photo: Tenpozan Harbor Village and its Ferris wheel. (Osaka Waterfront Development Corporation)