Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower?
There are many places in Tokyo where you can admire the incredible panoramic views of the city. People usually head to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower. Otherwise, you can go to other sites which include Roppongi Hills, Tokyo World Trade Center, Bunkyo Civic Center and Sunshine 60.
As beautiful as the view might be, I wasn’t that keen to pay for it. After a while, I realised the views in different cities are more or less the same. Put the photos of the night views together and I wouldn’t be able to tell which city is which, though my eye is sharper for day views.
BUT if it’s free, I wouldn’t mind going high up. :P Find out the two places we went for free!
Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) stands at 333 m, 33 m taller than the Eiffel Tower where it got its lattice inspiration. Moreover, Tokyo Tower was Japan’s tallest structure from 1958 until 2012 when Tokyo Skytree surpassed its height.
Other than being a observation tower, Tokyo Tower is also a communications tower that broadcasts signals for Japanese TV media outlets. However Tokyo Tower’s height was not enough for Japan’s transition to digital television and hence a taller Tokyo Skytree was built for digital broadcasting.
Unlike what you see, Tokyo Tower is not painted in red and white but international orange and white. It was painted in such colours to comply with air safety regulations. And when you are there at sunset or night, you will see the tower light up in warm orange during cold winter months and in cool white during hot summer months.
Tokyo Tower has two observatories with 360 degrees panoramic view:
- Main Observatory at 150 m. You can get to the main observatory either by elevator or a 600-step staircase that’s open on weekends and PH.
- Special Observatory at 250 m.
We got up the Tokyo Tower for free because we had JCB cards :) There’s a JCB complimentary entry to the main observatory when you present your JCB card at the ticket office (1st floor). We remained at 150 m because we didn’t want to pay extra to get to the Special Observatory. :P
Even at 150 m, there were still some interesting views from the main deck. Furthermore, there are a few look-down glass panels on the floor. So, look out for them and stand on them! Though I had this inexplicable fear of the glass cracking and me falling through. Hence I only squatted at the side and peeped down. Anyway, it wasn’t crowded at all during that Monday we went and so we had the whole glass panel to ourselves for photo taking. Hur hur.
As we were walking around the deck, we spotted two funnily dressed guys and assumed Harajuku fashion has descended on Tokyo Tower. Then they started talking to people and taking photos with them! Later we realised, they’re “Noppon Brothers”, Tokyo Tower’s mascots who were “born” in 1998 to celebrate the tower’s 40th anniversary.
- Main Observatory Hours: 9:00am – 11:00 pm (Last admission 10:30 pm)
- Special Observatory is closed for renovations and expected to complete in summer 2017.
- Purchase ticket at 1st floor:
- Main Observatory: ¥900, S$11.30 (Adult), ¥500 (Children), ¥400 (4yo and over), check website for group discount.
- Special Observatory: TBC but it will be additional fee to the main deck.
- JCB complimentary entry to the main observatory: Eligible only for the name on JCB Card. Offer applies for all JCB brand card issuing companies, except those issued in Japan. (http://www.global.jcb/en/consumers/travel/welcome-to-japan/tokyo-tower/)
- Area: [Near to Ginza] 4-2-8 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Getting There:
- Akabanebashi Station (Oedo Line), Akabanebashi Gate: 5 minute walk
- Kamiyacho Station (Metro Hibiya Line), Exit 2: 7 minute walk
- Onarimon Station (Mita Line), Exit A1: 6 minute walk
- Other train lines and means of transportation: www.tokyotower.co.jp/access/en.html
Don’t leave just yet! At the foot of the tower, there’s a Foot Town where you can find the tower gallery, an aquarium gallery, a runner salon and a food souvenir shop to buy a variety of Tokyo Banana. Use your JCB card at participating Tower’s official shops to get 10% off.
Tokyo One Piece Tower
One notable place you’ll find at Foot Town is the Tokyo One Piece Tower. So if you’re a fan of One Piece, be sure to visit this “theme park” with exhibits, live shows, shops and restaurants within.
Otherwise, available to public is the One Piece Mugiwara Store that carries all kinds of One Piece goodies, from t-shirts to toys. The shop is nicely decorated and shop assistants dressed up to draw you into the world of One Piece. :)
- Purchase ticket 1st or 3rd floor, or online store:
- Package (Main Observatory + Tokyo One Piece Tower): ¥3,900, S$49 (check website for student/children rates).
- Advance ticket: ¥3,000, S$37.70 (Adults), ¥2,600 (13-18yo), ¥1,500 (4-12yo) (Reservations: onepiecetower.tokyo/ticket)
- Same-Day ticket: ¥3,200, S$40.20 (Adults), ¥2,700 (13-18yo), ¥1,600 (4-12yo) (Buy at Foot Town 3F)
- Hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (Last admission 9:00 pm)
- Area: In Foot Town at Tokyo Tower
As mentioned above, Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) is built as the new television broadcasting tower for digital televisions. At the height of 634 m, it also became the tallest building in Japan in 2012.
Tokyo Skytree has two observatories with 360 degrees panoramic view:
- Tembo Deck at 350 m and spans three levels.
- Top floor: Observation deck
- Middle floor: Souvenir shop and Musashi Sky Restaurant, which serves French-Japanese fusion cuisine.
- Lowest floor: Cafe. Glass panels on the floor to look through and down to the base.
- Tembo Gallery at 450 m.
- World’s Highest Skywalk: An upward sloping spiral ramp that circles the tower. Look out the windows at dizzying heights.
- Top of the spiral: Located at 451.2 meters, this is the highest point of the observation deck.
Tokyo Skytree is also the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida District (near to Asakusa). This town is built as a community center for business, entertainment, and culture. Evidently, Tokyo Solamachi, surrounding the base of Tokyo Skytree, is a large dining, shopping and entertainment complex with over 300 shops and restaurants.
- Purchase ticket to Tembo Deck at 4th Floor West Entrance. Then, buy your ticket to Tembo Gallery at Tembo Deck.
- Fees (Tembo Deck + Tembo Gallery):
- Same-Day Ticket: Adults (¥2060 + ¥1030) (S$25.90 + S$13.00)
- Advance Ticket: Reserve online or with travel agent. Adults for Tembo Deck is at ¥2570 (S$32.30), while tickets for Tembo Gallery can only be purchased on the day.
- Fast Skytree Ticket: Ticket for a shorter wait compared to Same-Day Ticket. Available to International Visitors only. Purchase this at an exclusive counter. Adults: (¥3,000 + ¥1,000) (S$37.70 + S$12.55).
- Visit website for fees below 18 yo.
- Admission Time (Same-Day Tickets): 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Area: [Near to Asakusa] 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan
- Getting There:
- Take the train on Tobu Skytree Line from Asakusa or Kita-senjyu Station. Then, alight at Tokyo Skytree Station.
- For other train transfers or shuttle bus, please refer to www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/access
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office
If you are not willing to fork out money for a bird’s eye view of Japan and you don’t have a JCB card, this is the place to come to! Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office is a 243 m tall twin towers in Shinjuku and each tower has an observation deck on the 45th floor, at 202 m.
Since it’s free, you can go day and night! :) If you are going during the day, head to the South Observation Deck to see the popular Odaiba entertainment district. But if you’re going at night, only the North Deck is opened.
- Fee: Free of Charge
- South Deck: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm (until 10:30 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month; Closed 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.)
- North Deck: 9:30 am – 10:30 pm (Closed 2nd and 4th Monday of each month.)
- Public Holiday: Observation deck will be opened but closed the following day.
- Area: [Shinjuku] 2 Chome-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku