Tokyo is a huge sprawling metropolis with any number of tall buildings and structures from which to gain an amazing vantage point. Due to it’s colossal size each one offers not only a different perspective an view but an alternative view into the diverse culture of one of the greatest cities in the world. Here we share 3 of our favourite views from the city we visited on our honeymoon!
We always find one of the best ways to get your head around a new city and it’s layout is to head up a tall building. However Tokyo is just so vast that you actually can’t really see it all from one specific building!! It’s almost too much to take it, but when you do, you will never forget it!
MORI Arts Centre – Tokyo City View
Probably the least well known of the city views and yet in our opinion the best. The Mori building is located in the Ropponi Hills district of Tokyo and houses not only the arts centre and observation deck but offices, restaurants and shops too on the lower levels.
At 781ft high it is the sixth highest building in the city and since being built in 2007 has become an icon of the skyline. One of the main reasons to head up the Mori tower has to be the amazing view of the iconic Tokyo Tower, it’s almost like when you choose the Rockefella over the Empire State Building just so you can get that amazing view of the later building!
From here you get an unrivalled view of one of Tokyo’s most famous structures along side a perfect perspective down on this wonderful city…not to high and not too low! Just right to see all the details but get a wider perspective of just how huge this crazy metropolis is! This was our first real view of the city and despite visiting both the iconic Tokyo Tower and shinning new beacon of the city the Sky Tree, this was still our favourite!
Once you have had your fill of the amazing view from the Sky Deck there is so much more to see around here. Your ticket includes entry to the arts museum which houses fascinating works by Japanese and international contemporary artists. The complex itself also has some amazing places to eat, we called in and had Sushi at Pintokona, which was quite the experience!
Roppongi Station (Metro) 10 min walk
1800 yen, additional 500 yen for Sky Deck
Hours: 10:00 to 23:00 (until 25:00 on Fridays and Saturdays)
Sky Deck opens from 11:00 to 20:00 when the weather permits
At 1,092ft high the Tokyo Tower is the second tallest structure in Japan, it was built with two purposes in mind; to be a huge antenna for the extended Tokyo region and also as a sign of post war progression. Built in 1958 it is the oldest on the list and culturally the most important.
The tower was built after the city was almost raised to the ground during the war, in the 13 years after the end of the war Japan had grown into the global economic powerhouse we know today. This tower, based on the design of the Eiffel Tower (it’s actually 13 meters taller than the original) the structure was built as a monument to a new Tokyo and a new Japan. It’s iconic colouration of white and international orange is to comply with air safety regulations.
We decided to take a night time trip up the Tokyo Tower to once again get a different perspective on this great city. The glow from this metropolis is almost unbelievable, a never ending sea of blinking lights, colours and sounds. Going up the Tokyo Tower was a quieter and more subdued affair that the other two, but yet it was also special for me as my Dad had visited back in 1996 and it was after seeing his photo that I began to dream about visiting Japan one day!
Akabanebashi, Kamiyacho, Onarimon (Metro)
Hamamatsucho (JR) 15 min walk
Main Observatory: 900yen
Special Observatory: 700yen
09:00 – 23:00
Tokyo Sky Tree
The Tokyo Sky Tree, the shiny new structure towering over Tokyo, built in 2012 it is the new kid on the block and still as popular as ever. Unlike the previous two vantage points the Sky Tree can be almost as busy as the trains at rush hour in Tokyo! But it does offer a vista so far that you can make out Mt. Fuji, now if there was one selling point, this was it!
At 2,080ft high the Sky Tree is not only the tallest building in Japan but the second highest in the world behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Sky Tree much like the Tokyo Tower was built for almost the same reasons, after the digital era came to the city the older Tokyo Tower could no longer provide adequate signal. The tower now gives an unrivalled coverage to the city as well as being a new landmark icon which can be seen from almost anywhere.
Getting to the top was an experience in itself, the lift was so fast it almost felt like we hadn’t even left the floor, but my was it busy up there! The view was unlike any we had ever see, the height was almost inconceivable. In someways it felt too high to really make the details out, but also was the first time we could really gain true perspective on just how huge Tokyo really is!
The high rise buildings, temples, traditional homes and ancient constructions below just seemed to go on forever into the distance. Despite a hazy afternoon we could literally see for miles and even caught that illusive view of Mt. Fuji! A truly memorable experience!
The Sky Tree is a 15 minute walk across the river from Asakusa temple so we visited both on the same day.
Asakusa, Oshiage, Tokyo SkyTree station (Metro)
The fee for the Sky Tree isn’t all that straight forward, there are several available.
You can book tickets in advance for a specific time and date or turn up on the day and queue for a ticket. On busy days this can take over 1 hour.
First observatory: 2060 yen (regular), 2820 yen (fast ticket)
Second observatory: additional 1030 yen
An additional 510 yen service fee is charged for time specific advance reservations.
08:00 – 22:00
Have you ever been to Tokyo and visited one of these vantage points, or do you have any other recommendations?
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Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.
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