The Best Spots To See Tokyo From Above

An endless sea of colours, lights and buildings, Tokyo looks distinctive and electrifying from above. I tend to feel small when looking high up at monumentally large buildings or high Rocky Mountains. For the first time, I had the same sensation when I found myself high up, looking over Tokyo from above. The vast city expanding way beyond the horizon was a reminder of the real size of the world’s biggest metropolis. When walking around the small markets of Asakusa or discovering the dark and narrow side streets of Shinjuku, Tokyo seems a normal-sized city like any other. To appreciate the magnitude of Japan’s capital, you must find the best spots to admire Tokyo’s true proportions.

I now live in Tokyo, and I’m forever in search for the best spots to capture the best views of the capital. I’m sharing with you the best locations to photograph Tokyo’s vastness.

Views of Tokyo from Ebisu Sky Lounge and unobstructed views of Mount Fuji in the distance
Views of Tokyo from Ebisu Sky Lounge and unobstructed views of Mount Fuji in the distance

Yebisu Garden Place Tower

Entrance Fee: Free

Garden Palace Tower is a skyscraper located in Ebisu which offers unobstructed panoramic views of Tokyo from its 38th and 39th floors. There is a dedicated observatory called Sky Lounge, which you can access free of charge via the main elevators in the building. Both the 38th and 39th floors have several posh Japanese restaurants, which also offer seats with views.

The Sky Lounge is free to access and on clear days, you will see Mount Fuji. Of course, the best time for photography is during sunset.

Tokyo From Above photographed from Roppongi Hills, Sky Deck at night
Tokyo From Above photographed from Roppongi Hills, Sky Deck at night

Roppongi Hills and Skydeck

Entrance Fee: 2000 yen

Roppongi Hills hosts the Mori Tower, a 54-story skyscraper featuring a sky deck accessible to visitors for a 2000 yen fee per adult. To save up to 200 yen and bypass the queues, I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time, especially since it’s a well-frequented tourist attraction. Allow sufficient time to soak in the stunning Tokyo views.

There is an indoor observatory and an outdoor observatory called Sky Deck. Note that the Sky Deck is not always open to the public, so make sure to check this in advance on the official website. The tower also houses a chic bar and restaurant for those wanting to dine with a view, but note that prices are on the higher side here. My visit was at night to capture the illuminated essence of Tokyo. If you don’t have a professional camera with which you can take decent night photos, I strongly suggest visiting the Roppongi Hills during daylight.

Tokyo from above Tokyo Met Gov Building
Tokyo from above Tokyo Met Gov Building

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Entrance Fee: Free

Located in the Skyscraper district in Shinjuku, the Government building allows you free admission to its 45th floor, where you can enjoy epic views over Tokyo. There is no outdoor sky deck here.

At first, I found it a bit difficult to photograph the city without the reflection being visible, but the closer you get to the window, the easier it gets.

Japan Rail Pass

The optimal way to explore Japan is with a rail pass that is available for durations of 7, 14, or 21 days, offering unlimited travel across the country. Shinkansen included!

Before heading to the top, you will have to leave your belongings in a locker, so have a few coins handy. The lift will take you straight to the 45th floor, where you can enjoy a bit of shopping and a nice dinner and drink.
Although not as tall as the Roppongi Hills, it’s a great compromise if you find yourself on a tight budget, wanting to save 2000 yen.

Tokyo buildings seen from above from the Sky tree
Tokyo buildings seen from above from the Sky tree

Tokyo Skytree

Entrace Fee: 2700 yen
Purchase Tickets Online: Klook

To truly be in the highest building in Japan and world’s tallest tower in the world, head over to Tokyo Skytree, located in the Sumida district. Being 634m, the tallest free-standing broadcasting tower, it got its well-deserved entry in the Guinness World Records in 2011.
In terms of tickets, you have two options here, you can either get as far up as the Tembo or pay a little extra and make it to the Tembo Gallery at 450m.

Although the prices are a bit steep, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views. If you wish to make the most out of your visit, I recommend checking the sunset time so you can arrive just on time for a beautiful vanilla sky and outstanding colours painted over Japan’s capital.

Tokyo from above with its iconic Tokyo Tower
Tokyo from above with its iconic Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower

Entrance Fee: 1,200yen

Although it is only the second-largest building in Japan, many prefer seeing the views of Tokyo from the Tokyo tower. This is because it has become a representative icon to Tokyo, the same way the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The tower measures 332.9 m in height and the observatory is located 150m up. There is also a special observatory (250m) if you really want to catch a glimpse of Tokyo’s rooftops. The fee is 900 yen for the main observatory and another 700 yen if you wish to go up to the special observatory.

Views from Shibuya Sky on a clear and sunny day
Views from Shibuya Sky on a clear and sunny day

Shibuya Sky

Entrance Fee: 2200 yen
Purchase Ticket Online: Klook

Shibuya Sky is a relatively new addition from which you can see impressive views not only of Shibuya Crossing but of Tokyo as a whole.

This modern landmark offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the city from its 229-meter-high (about 751 feet) outdoor observation deck, known as the Sky Gallery.

Don’t miss the Shibuya Sky Stage where you can feel the breeze 230 meters above ground, making it a unique photo spot. Not going to lie, the best part is seeing the vastness of Tokyo while going up an open air escalator.

Views from Omohara Forest Tokyu Plaza Omotesando
Views from Omohara Forest Tokyu Plaza Omotesando

Tokyu Plaza (Omohara Forest)

Entrance Fee: Free

This is by far my favourite spot to admire Tokyo’s skyline probably because it’s also a cool place to hang with friends. Head to Harajuku’s Tokyu Plaza and take the elevator to the 6th floor.

Voilà! A gorgeous open air rooftop garden with lots of trees, shrubs, wooden decks and fairy lights. Pretty magical, right? It’s my favourite spot to come here on a summer evening, drink a beer and admire a good sunset. And yes, on a clear day, you can see the tip of Mount Fuji from Omohara Forest.

Night view from Ginza Six
Night view from Ginza Six

Ginza Six Rooftop

Entrance Fee: Free

One of the loveliest rooftop gardens in Tokyo is right in the heart of Ginza, located on the top floor of Ginza Six. Ginza Six is a fancy department store with one of the most incredible rooftops I’ve ever seen. Although it’s fairly new, the trees and shrubs are perfectly matured, making you feel like you’re walking in a botanical garden. On top of Tokyo. Ah, this city never ceases to amaze me.

It’s free to visit and quietest in the morning. At night, you can get views of the Tokyo Tower and see the vibrant Chuo Dori from above.

Other epic places for panoramic views of Tokyo

Azabudai Hills 33F Observation Deck

Entrance Fee: Free

Azabudai Hills Observation Deck is located on the 33rd floor and was only just opened in November 2023. It’s free to visit and admire the bird’s-eye view of Tokyo. My tip? Head to the southeast side so you can see the Tokyo tower right in front of you.

Night view of Tokyo from Andaz rooftop bar Toranomon Hills
Night view of Tokyo from Andaz rooftop bar Toranomon Hills

Toranomon Hills

Entrance Fee: Free (although you need a drink from the bar)

While there is no observation deck open to the public, head to the Andaz rooftop bar and enjoy a cocktail with one of the coolest views of Tokyo. You can see as far as the Tokyo bay and beyond. Now, this is a popular spot, so make sure to get a table in advance.

Bird's eye view of the Shinjuku Train Station
Bird’s eye view of the Shinjuku Train Station

Suica Penguin Plaza

Entrance Fee: Free

Suica Penguin Plaza is located on the South Gate exit at Shinjuku Station. There are seating steps that overlook the busiest train station in Tokyo. From this vista point, you will be surrounded by skyscrapers and get to see all the trains coming and going. Or you can make your way to the Busta bus terminal which offers an ever cooler view of the area.

Shibuya Crossing at night from Hikarie building Tokyo
Shibuya Crossing at night from Hikarie building Tokyo

Hikarie Sky Lobby

Entrance Fee: Free

If you don’t fancy paying for Shibuya Sky, I have you with another option. I recently discovered the Hikarie Building, which has a really cool indoor observation area. It’s called the Sky Lobby and it’s located on the 11th floor. You can get a pretty good view of Shibuya and all its surrounding skyscrapers.

Shibuya Crossing

It’s hard to pick just a favourite spot, as there are new rooftops and sky lobbies that open every year. I guess if I really had to pick, I would say that my favourite remains the Sky Deck on Roppongi Hills because that’s the first ever spot I got to see the vastness of Tokyo from above. My second favourite is the Omohara Forest, simply because it’s a cozy spot my husband and I always go to. Finally, the Yebisu Garden Place Tower has to be the best one for unobstructed views of Tokyo. Plus, not many people know of it, which makes it a lot of fun to visit and photograph.

Accommodation in Tokyo

For your first time visit to Tokyo, why not pick a tall hotel with epic views of the city? Shibuya has many cool hotels with views over the famous crossing.

Whether you are a budget, midrange or luxury traveller, I curated our favourite accommodation in Tokyo to make sure you are comfortable and enjoy your stay. Alternatively, please check where to stay in Tokyo for more options.

Grids Tokyo Akihabara Hotel&Hostel
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Grids Tokyo Akihabara Hotel&Hostel offers dormitory type rooms with free wifi throughout the property. The hostel is located just 10 minutes away from the Akihabara station. With a 24-hour front desk, GRIDS AKIHABARA TOKYO offers free luggage storage and a shared kitchenette equipped with a fridge, a microwave and kitchenware. The communal lounge is ideal for socialising with other guests. Guests can enjoy a coffee from Streamer Coffee Company situated on the ground floor, run by a latte art world champion. Prices start from £19 per night.

Click here for prices and book Grids Tokyo Akihabara Hotel&Hostel

APA Hotel Hanzomon Hirakawacho
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

APA Hotel Hanzomon Hirakawacho is located just minutes walk from various different subway stations right in centre of Tokyo. You can book your stay in a smoking or non-smoking room in the hotel, each of them featuring free wifi and toiletries. All rooms have have private bathrooms which come with a bathtub. The hotel is very well priced for its location and star rating, with rooms starting from as little as £39.

Click here for prices and book APA Hotel Hanzomon Hirakawacho

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo is a 5 star hotel located in Shinjuku Skyscraper district. This can only mean one thing: amazing views over Tokyo. The comfortable rooms all come with free wifi and 21 dining options. You can enjoy a fitness centre, swimming pools, convenience stores and even a business centre. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to Tokyo Disney Resort. Unlike other luxury Tokyo hotels, Keio Plaza is actually really well priced, with rooms starting from just £150 per night.

Click here for prices and book Keio Plaza Hotel Tokyo

Which skyscraper did you visit during your Japan itinerary? Tell me all about the amazing views you experienced in the comment section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best observation tower in Tokyo?

It’s difficult to pick just one, as there are so many awesome spots to see Tokyo from above. Tokyo Skytree remains the most popular, being the tallest building in Tokyo and the tallest broadcasting tower in the world. I prefer the Sky Deck at Roppongi Hills and the Yebisu Garden Place Tower.

Is Mount Fuji visible from Tokyo?

Mount Fuji is visible from Tokyo, especially when you make your way to a tall observation deck. You can see it on a clear day from all main Sky Lounges in the city, but it’s also possible to spot its snowy peak from a low building like the rooftop of Tokyu Plaza which is on the 6th floor.

Is Tokyo Tower or Shibuya Sky better?

I prefer the views from Shibuya Sky because not only can you see the Shibuya crossing but the whole of Tokyo and, on a clear day, even as far as Mount Fuji. The outdoor escalator is super cool as you get to feel like you are really on top of the city.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory is a published travel writer and award-winning photographer. She travels full time with her husband and is passionate about creating in-depth travel guides. Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan. She has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries. Cory is multilingual and an alumna from The University of Manchester.


One response to “The Best Spots To See Tokyo From Above”

  1. Shania Irish - Downes Avatar
    Shania Irish – Downes

    Hi Cory, I love your blog it’s so relatable. I’ll never forget watching the lightening at night whilst being at the top of Tokyo Skytree it was so cool I didn’t want to leave.

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