Tokyo is vast, fast-paced and exciting! It’s one of those cities that you could never get sick of, and I am lucky to call it home!
Shopping, museums and eating out can all cost a lot of money, but Tokyo doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of fun things to do which won’t cost you a thing. Many Tokyoites love to hang out at Yoyogi Park, which is open to the public 24/7, especially when the cherry blossoms bloom. In summer, there are huge fireworks shows on all around the city. And there are thousands of cultural street festivals that take place all year round!
Many of these attractions are enjoyed from ground level, but what about heading ‘up’ for a change? When you walk out of an elevator to a 45th floor observation deck, your breath is immediately taken away as you understand the enormous scale of this megacity. The people down below are barely visible and the tall buildings that amazed you when you were at streetlevel, suddenly become little lego pieces. Then, as your gaze shifts further away, you realize that the city stretches all the way to the horizon and beyond!
So, where are these free observation decks? Let me introduce you to four of the best spots!
Bunkyo Civic Center
Bunkyo Civic Center, Bunkyo ward
25th floor (105m)
Open: 9:00am ~ 8:30pm
Nearest Station: Korakuen
The Bunkyo Civic Center is a government building in the heart of Tokyo. From the 25th floor, you get a 330-degree view of Tokyo.
Tip: Bring a wide-angle lens so you can capture the famous view of Mt Fuji through the Shinjuku skyscrapers.
Carrot Tower, Setagaya ward
26th floor (124m)
Open: 9:30am ~ 11:00pm
Nearest Station: Sangenjaya
The Carrot Tower is a commercial building in Sangenjaya, just west of Shibuya. The observation deck faces west, while the Sky Carrot restaurant faces east.
Tip: Head to this observation deck at sunset to see a beautiful silhouette of Mt Fuji on the horizon.
Hikarie, Shibuya ward
11th floor (70m)
Open: 11:00am ~ 11:00pm
Nearest Station: Shibuya
The Shibuya Hikarie is a retail building, popular for shopping and restaurants. On clear days, you can see Mt Fuji in the distance. And on any day, you can look down to the famous Shibuya crossing.
Tip: See all the neon lights at nighttime, and wait for the traffic lights to change to see the famous Shibuya scramble in action!
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Shinjuku ward
45th floor (202m)
Open: 9:30am ~ 11:00pm
Nearest Station: Tocho-mae
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is located in the skyscraper district west of Shinjuku Station. There are two towers, North and South, both of which have observation decks.
Tip: Head to the bar in the North tower for a drink or two while enjoying the view.
Whether you’re travelling on a budget or are just in the area, be sure to check out these observation decks and experience Tokyo from a different angle!
Photos by Celia Knox.