In the late nineties I visited Japan on two occasions. On one visit, looking out my hotel room window in Osaka, I was greeted with a sight straight out of a James Bond film. The top of a skyscraper opened from which a platform rose revealing a helicopter that flew off. The scene could only have been topped if I had elicited a glance at the beer in my hand, but alas I don’t drink.
The skyscraper in question is the Herbis Osaka building, the only skyscraper in Japan with an enclosed heliport. The replicated dome forms atop the building cleverly disguise the enclosure’s purpose. The heliport is seldom used, but if you’re ever in Osaka, keep an eye out for it.
In lieu of that, visit Gorimon’s blog for a peek at the heliport in action. His blog also includes an animated gif. Additional photos, including beautiful night shots can be viewed at Gorimon’s flickr photostream.
Further information on the building is available at Japan’s Ministry of the Environment website. A cut-away diagram reveals the helipad platform.
Architectural design is attributed to Takenaka Corporation.