Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Japan's Spectacular Architecture

Photo: Antonio Tajuelo on Flickr

Japan's Spectacular Architecture

Asil Zaher

So you may have heard about, or read about the many observatory decks in Tokyo – some even for no fee entrance. The dozens of skyscrapers and their dazzling colorful lights in areas such as Shinjuku and Shibuya hold a strong reputation to anyone who imagines Tokyo.

However towards the more world record spectrum of towers, some would argue that Tokyo’s Sky Tree tower has one of few world record observatory decks open to visitors to gaze down at the concrete jungle before them. However, that is far from the case.

Japan’s endeavor to build upwards has lead to influences far and wide throughout the country, making Tokyo only one spot for world record tower phenomena. Here are five towers and skyscraper buildings to visit for Japan’s world record observation spots!

1. Tokyo Skytree


Flaunt its well-known reputation as you may, Sky Tree still made it to this list. Famous for its title as the highest tower in the world, its presence highlights Japan’s obsession with tall, dark and handsome; structures that is. Its enormous metal frame shining down on neighboring Asakusa, making it an impossible landmark to miss, dazzles tourists who arrive in Japan for the first time. Nonetheless, Sky Tree is no normal observatory deck. Its high-speed elevators take you to the 350th floor in 50 seconds, allowing you to observe the spectacular elevator lights and floor count in real time. If you are still unsatisfied with the Tembo Deck, the highest point open to the public is 451.2 meters above the ground, the Sorakara Point and Tembo Galleria. The curvature shape of these spaces, coupled with ornamental dim lighting and soothing music creates a floating in the air experience, turning the night atmosphere to a delicate warm vibe for romantics.

2. Tokyo Tower

tokyo tower
Photo : Ben Christian on Flickr
Iconic, striking and red, Tokyo Tower has been the symbol of Tokyo since the late 1950s. Inspired by the Eiffel- like lattice structure, Tokyo Tower stands at 333 meters, making it Japan’s second tallest structure. Painted in a dark orange hue with three white stripes, its presence as part of Tokyo’s skyline compliments to the metropolis’s futuristic and eclectic appeal. Tourists can enjoy a 360 birds-eye view of this far-reaching skyline from the tower’s top observatory deck. A classic choice for the first timer experience, Tokyo Tower situated in the heart of the concrete jungle will give you an embedded view of the everlasting dynamics of Japan’s most vigorous city.

3. Abeno Harukas 300


So we all hear and know of Tokyo’s remarkable skyscraper skyline, but does Osaka portray a similar impression?

Forced to reckon with, the Abeno Harukas 300 located in Tennoji, Osaka is classified as the tallest building (not tower) in Japan. Giving visitors an overall view of Osaka’s vast landscape, Harukas 300 observation deck has an open spaced area perfect for an early morning breakfast or lunch. With several floors open to visitors to explore the various angles of Osaka through their floor length windows, Harukas 300 certainly has a unique atmosphere unlike skyscraper decks elsewhere. Its open-air layout and wide spaced restaurant and deck give you a bird’s eye view of Osaka and a relaxing up in the air experience rolled into one. Although not the most well known observatory, Harukas 300 will sure impress you even after seeing Tokyo’s vast sky-high towers.

4. Umeda Sky Building

Umeda Sky Tower

If visiting an observatory tower for its height isn’t quite your thing, Umeda Sky Building is a more low-key, yet unique architectural alternative to explore. Situated in Shin-Umeda, the Umeda Sky Building is 173 meters tall, consisting of two towers that are connected by a mid-air walkway. This uniquely structured piece of architectural artwork has a half-mirror glass exterior with a “floating garden” on the top floor. A favourite with local visitors, Umeda Sky Building has a 360-view observatory on the top floor and allows spectators a glimpse into the brilliance of Japanese engineering.

5. Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower

Known as Japan’s old capital, this elegant city offers more than the spectacular natural scenery and mystical temples across town. Becoming increasingly popular for its night view, Kyoto Tower shines like a lit candle illuminating Kyoto’s mountains and cityscape. The observation deck not exceeding 100 meters, Kyoto Tower’s appeal lies in its minimal ring-like structure overlooking the relatively quiet ancient capital. Surrounded by Kyoto JR station and a spectrum of ancient temples and shrines on all ends, the tower certainly gives a more tranquil alternative to the observation decks of Tokyo’s fast paced lifestyle.

So there you have it. Towers in Japan exist beyond the borders of its capital. However, fair warning, this only scratches the surface of Japanese skyscraper engineering. The possibilities here are indeed vast and endless!