Turn Into a Virtual Bullet at the Sky Circus in Ikebukuro
If you are planning on going to Ikebukuro on your next visit to Tokyo, adding a visit to the Sky Circus observatory platform can be a nice addition to your schedule. You can enjoy a stunning view over Tokyo and experience some nerve-wracking VR attractions.
The Sky Circus observatory is situated in the Sunshine 60 Building on the 60th floor. The building can be accessed from Ikebukuro station or Higashi-Ikebukuro station. Close to the shopping center Alpa there is an elevator that takes you to the 60th floor. The observatory is open from 10 AM to 9 PM. A ticket costs 1200 Yen for adults and 600 Yen for children. If you also plan on visiting the Sunshine Aquarium there are combined tickets available as well that are a little cheaper.
A Stunning View and Art Installations
From the top you have a nice over Tokyo.
There are also some nice artistic installations you can enjoy on the platform. There is an interesting collection of mirrors that show you from a side you might not have seen yourself before and a kaleidoscope-like tunnel you can walk through. The usual souvenir shop and café where you can take a quick rest and grab something to eat can be found on the observatory as well.
Nerve-wracking VR Attractions
What I personally found most interesting about the Sky Circus are some special VR attractions you can only enjoy there. Unfortunately, these cost extra, and you have to pay 500 yen per ride. Also, if there are many visitors you might have to line up for a while.
The attractions are called Tokyo Bullet flight and Swing Coaster. When riding the Bullet Flight, you enter a gun barrel, turn into a virtual bullet and can enjoy a flight over a Tokyo set in a futuristic setting visiting popular sightseeing spots. As the barrel is moving and includes wind effects, this attraction feels quite real and could be compared to riding a roller-coaster.
The Swing Coaster is a little less nerve-wracking. On this attraction you ride a swing coaster over the roofs of Ikebukuro accompanied by some nice music, while sitting on an actual coaster. This attraction is more relaxing and less adrenaline inducing.
Both attractions use HTC Vive. The graphics look nice but there is room for improvement. I would not recommend riding them if you are afraid of heights as both create a virtual feeling of being in high places. Also, these attractions are like rides at an amusement park and do not involve any gaming aspects. If you are more into virtual gaming, you might want to check out the Marazia VR game center situated very close by in the Sunshine City Shopping Mall.
I personally liked the bullet flight as it has a unique approach that I have not seen in other VR attractions so far. If you want to combine a great view of Tokyo with unique VR experiences the Sky Circus should be on your Japan bucket list.