Tokyo’s numerous skyscrapers mean that the city can be viewed from just about any angle. On a clear day you can see Mount Fuji, but night time without doubt provides the most memorable experience. There are several dedicated viewing decks dotted around the city (some free, some not) and many of the office blocks and commercial high-rises contain restaurants on the top floor with window facing counter seats so you can take in the warm glow of Tokyo Tower over dinner or a drink.
Bunkyo Civic Center
Described as a giant Pez candy dispenser, the Bunkyo Ward municipal building houses an observation deck on the 25th floor (150 metre) with a 330° viewing angle and sloped windows to minimise light reflection. Unfortunately, Tokyo Tower—the jewel of the Tokyo night sky—is blocked behind buildings.
|Access||1-16-21 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8555 | Tel: 03-3812-7111 | A 1-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Korakuen Station|
The New York Bar
This 52nd floor bar was made famous by Bill Murray in the 2003 film Lost in Translation. There is a cover charge of ¥2,400 after 8:00pm (7:00pm on Sundays) when live jazz performances begin (guests exempt).
|Access||2/3-7-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-1055 | Tel: 03-5323-3458|
Tokyo City View
Central Tokyo > Minato Ward > Roppongi > Tokyo City View
The observation deck on the 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower is one of the capital’s most well-known. It also has a “Skydeck” (outside, rooftop observation deck) offering 360° views of the city. Unfortunately, camera tripods/unipods/selfie sticks are not allowed on the Skydeck (and backpacks need to be placed in lockers).
Access | Map | Google Maps
52F Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills, 6–10–1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-6150 | Tel: 03-6406-6652 | Roppongi Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line and Toei Subway Oedo Line has direct to Roppongi Hills Mori Tower
10:00-23:00 (25:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, and the day before a national holiday). The Skydeck is open 11:00-20:00
Adults ¥1,800 | Students ¥1,200 | Junior high school students and younger ¥600. There is an additional ¥500 charge for access to the Skydeck (¥300 for junior high school students and younger). Advance tickets can be purchased at convenience stores for ¥1,500 (these also let you skip the queue for the ticket counter). Combination tickets for Tokyo City View and the Mori Art Museum in the same building are also available
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Central Tokyo > Shinjuku Ward > Shinjuku > Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
These twin-towers of bureaucracy have two observation decks (north and south), both on the 45th floor. The south deck provides excellent views over Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Yoyogi Park while the north deck is better for night views. The north deck also has a bar/restaurant and a gift shop.
Access | Google Maps
2-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8001 | Direct access from Tochomae Station on the Toei Oedo Line (Exit A4)
North deck: 9:30-23:00 (closed on the 2nd and 4th Monday each month). South deck: 9:30-17:30 (closed on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday each month)
Old Tokyo > Sumida Ward > Tokyo Skytree Town > Tokyo Skytree
At 634 meters Tokyo Skytree is Japan’s tallest building and was, at the time of completion in 2012, the second tallest structure in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (830m). The tower has two observation decks at 350m and 450m.
The significance of the 634 meters is a play on the word mu-sa-shi (6-3-4), a former province of Japan that enclosed the present day Tokyo Metropolis as well as some areas of Saitama and Kanagawa.
Photograph by Kentaro Ohno @ Flickr (used under CC)
Access | Google Maps
1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 131-0045 | Access via Tokyo Skytree Station on the Tobu Skytree Line or Oshiage Station on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line and Toei Asakusa Line. Tokyo Skytree Town is also a 15-minute walk from Asakusa Station
Visitors can either purchase a day ticket or an advance ticket which assigns a day and time for the observation deck.
Entry to the Tembo Deck (350m) on a day ticket is ¥2,060 for adults, ¥1,540 for children aged 12-17, ¥930 for those aged 6-11, and ¥620 for those aged 4-5 (children under 3 can enter for free). An advance ticket is about ¥500 more expensive.
There is an additional charge for entry to the Tembo Galleria (450m). ¥1,030 for adults, ¥820 for children aged 12-17, ¥510 for those aged 6-11, and ¥310 for those aged 4-5 (children under 3 can enter for free). There is no advance ticket for the Tembo Galleria (tickets are purchased at the Tembo Deck).
There is also Fast Skytree Ticket which costs ¥3,000 for those aged 12+ and ¥1,500 for those aged 4-11 (Tembo Deck only). This ticket lets you skip the queues.
As much as Tokyo Skytree might dominate the skyline, Tokyo’s most iconic structure will always be Tokyo Tower. Lit up a night, its bright red and white metal frame stands out clearly in a sea of white and yellow light from cars, office buildings, and street lamps.
Originally a broadcasting tower, the 333-metre structure was completed in 1958. It has two observatories: a Main Observatory at 150 metres and a Special Observatory at 250 metres. The former contains a cafe, a small music venue, and a glass floor section for those looking for a fright. While the views are impressive not being able to see Tokyo Tower itself is one obvious drawback.
Photography by jun560 @ Flickr (used under CC)
|Access||4-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011 | A 5-minute walk from Akabanebashi Station on the Toei Oedo Line; a 7-minute walk from Exit 1 of Kamiyacho Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; a 15-minute walk from the North Exit of Hamatsucho Station on the JR Lines (including the Yamanote Line|
|Admission||¥900 for the Main Observatory and ¥700 for the Special Observatory|