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Tokyo from above; which observation towers to visit?

Tokyo from above; which observation towers to visit?

Old Feb 24, 13, 12:03 pm
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Tokyo from above; which observation towers to visit?

In doing research for an upcoming trip I'm finding there are numerous towers or skyscrapers that have observation decks and thought I would get some input on the pros and cons of each. I did read individual threads but thought I would create a new one to talk about them all in one thread.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offers free access and is very near my Shinjuku hotel and because of its locations seems to offer the best views of Mt. Fuji, weather permitting but is access easier and less crowded during the day than at night?

I had planned to visit the Tokyo Tower during a Roppongi visit but find the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower has the Tokyo City View and Mori Art Museum that I could combine together in one visit in the evening so would a trip up the Tokyo Tower still be worth it? They seem quite close together so would the view be that different or would the tower still be worth doing once?

The Tokyo SkyTree is the newest and highest observation deck but is it far more crowded because it is still relatively new? Is the area around it worth exploring?

Any input on the topic is aprpeciated.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 1:16 pm
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I have been up the Tokyo Tower main observation deck, TMGB and Landmark Tower in Yokohama. I don't think the views differed too much. TMGB is free, but the observation level has cafe and gift shop in the middle, and creates considerable reflections and glares if you plan on taking pictures. Tokyo Tower's main observation is kept dimly lit at night so you can take in the night view better. Out of these three, I liked the Landmark Tower's views the most. I liked the location right up against the Tokyo Bay, and I went there during a clear day vs evening for Tokyo Tower and TMGB.

I haven't been to Sky Tree, and after learning of the admission price, I don't feel I need to go there that badly.

Other skyscraper observations decks in the area are: Roppongi Hills (Roppongi), Sunshine City (Ikebukuro) and Tokyo World Trade Center (Hamamatsucho).
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Old Feb 24, 13, 1:17 pm
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I rather liked the viewing area of the lobby at the Royal Park Shiodome Tower, but as I last went up to it eight years ago, perhaps rights to admittance may have changed?

The most recent dedicated observation floor I visited was last December, at the 都庁 (tochou= Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building). Each tower has a viewing deck, and although they aren't nearly as high as other decks in the city, that they weren't busy (it was in the middle of the week), free admission and very good views anyway were more than enough reason to check the facilities out. You can clearly make out the Nakano station area, the SkyTree and Tokyo Tower, in addition to Mt. Fuji (should weather permit it).

I only went up to both observation floors of the Tokyo Tower in 2000, and I recall being bothered that there was a separate fee for each floor. Otherwise, the skyline has come a long way since then in that, no matter which you go up, you will be treated with extraordinary vistas, minus that of the building that you are currently in... in other words, when you're in Manhattan, go to the Top of the Rock.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 7:36 pm
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There is nothing that even remotely compares to the roof of the Mori Tower at Roppongi Hills. Sky Tree is taller, but is so far away to one side of the city that there is no panorama like with the Mori Tower.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 7:48 pm
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just got back from Tokyo. As part of a Grayline tour, did Tokyo Tower during the day. nothing to get excited about.

Electric City at Akihabara is a nice walk especially on Sunday afternoon when it is a pedestrian mall.

Shopping is more expensive than US Canada.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 10:41 pm
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After our visit to the observation deck at TMGB we didn't find it necessary to go to any other towers.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 11:04 pm
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Originally Posted by mjm View Post
There is nothing that even remotely compares to the roof of the Mori Tower at Roppongi Hills. Sky Tree is taller, but is so far away to one side of the city that there is no panorama like with the Mori Tower.
Agree. The Mori tower is more central and the view is great.

Tocho is pretty rubbish, the windows are small and at odd angles. Another free option for views to the west is the Shinjuku sumitomo building, with a bigger window. There's a few other buildings around west shinjuku with public observation decks or good views from restaurants (can be cheaper to go for a drink and get a nice view than some of the paid observation options - also true of the Landmark tower in Yokohama). Looking east, the views from the Park Hyatt are good from the bar or even the lobby, particularly night views.

I"ve not been up the Skytree yet, but not only is it expensive, you are tied to an advance ticket (so the weather might turn out terrible) and the day tickets are still busy, so a potentially long wait for a ticket slot if you buy on the day. It seems sunset is the most popular time there so hard to get a day ticket for those times.

Tokyo Tower is not that great from either deck, is expensive, and has the disadvantage that you can't see the tower itself! On that side of Tokyo, the World Trade center has a good view of Tokyo Tower and across the bay a bit (and it's cheaper). I also like the view from the Fuji TV ball or anywhere on the Odaiba waterfront - nice view of the waterfront skyline back on the mainline.

In terms of seeing Mount Fuji: views are very weather, time, and season dependent. In the winter there are clear views most cold mornings, but often it disappears quickly. E.g. first thing today, I had a reasonable view from my office, but it was gone before lunchtime and there's not even an outline now. Once it warms up, the haze takes it away and you get occasional glimpses in the Spring and autumn, but you still can get great sunsets on a good day when the sun tips just below the summit. Views are very very rare in the summer.
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Old Feb 25, 13, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offers free access and is very near my Shinjuku hotel and because of its locations seems to offer the best views of Mt. Fuji, weather permitting but is access easier and less crowded during the day than at night?
I've been in TMGB three times both day and night and never experienced huge crowds or long queues. So I'd say the question for you is whether to visit other towers too.
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Old Feb 25, 13, 6:48 am
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Best free spots in Tokyo are the Park Hyatt lobby and Mandarin Oriental lobby. And especially the bathroom of the Mandarin Oriental...that is an experience not to be missed!
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Old Feb 25, 13, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by BalbC View Post
Agree. The Mori tower is more central and the view is great.

Tocho is pretty rubbish, the windows are small and at odd angles. Another free option for views to the west is the Shinjuku sumitomo building, with a bigger window. There's a few other buildings around west shinjuku with public observation decks or good views from restaurants (can be cheaper to go for a drink and get a nice view than some of the paid observation options - also true of the Landmark tower in Yokohama). Looking east, the views from the Park Hyatt are good from the bar or even the lobby, particularly night views.

I"ve not been up the Skytree yet, but not only is it expensive, you are tied to an advance ticket (so the weather might turn out terrible) and the day tickets are still busy, so a potentially long wait for a ticket slot if you buy on the day. It seems sunset is the most popular time there so hard to get a day ticket for those times.

Tokyo Tower is not that great from either deck, is expensive, and has the disadvantage that you can't see the tower itself! On that side of Tokyo, the World Trade center has a good view of Tokyo Tower and across the bay a bit (and it's cheaper). I also like the view from the Fuji TV ball or anywhere on the Odaiba waterfront - nice view of the waterfront skyline back on the mainline.

In terms of seeing Mount Fuji: views are very weather, time, and season dependent. In the winter there are clear views most cold mornings, but often it disappears quickly. E.g. first thing today, I had a reasonable view from my office, but it was gone before lunchtime and there's not even an outline now. Once it warms up, the haze takes it away and you get occasional glimpses in the Spring and autumn, but you still can get great sunsets on a good day when the sun tips just below the summit. Views are very very rare in the summer.
At least in Tochou you can snap a shot of both the SkyTree and Tokyo Tower; seeing as this is a thread about Tokyo from above, that fact might appeal to the OP.
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Old Feb 25, 13, 10:09 am
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I'd also recommend the NS building in Shinjuku - not the tallest, but the outside elevator provides a nice ride. Observation deck on 30th floor & skybridge one below iirc. Pretty amazing Seiko clock in the lobby.
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Old Feb 25, 13, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Kallio View Post
I've been in TMGB three times both day and night and never experienced huge crowds or long queues. So I'd say the question for you is whether to visit other towers too.
Thanks and being free and so close to my hotel, Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, will definately do TMGB during the day time and likely the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Tokyo City View in the evening.

If I do the Mori Tower before end March I can opt to also visit the museum as it closes when there isn't an exhibition running and the current one ends on 31st March so may combine then together.

I appreciate the input.
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Old Feb 25, 13, 1:51 pm
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Skytree is worth the trip across the river, the view is truly stunning and from one point on the highest-level observation deck you can actually see the curvature of the planet. Annoyingly, you do have to pay a separate fee to go to the higher deck it's a do-it-once-in-your-lifetime-and-then-never-again type thing. Yes it's expensive, but you're getting a totally cool experience in return. You're travelling across the world, why not see the shiniest, tallest new thing?

If you go on a clear weekday morning, they hand out reservation tickets for a specific time, usually only about 2 hours after you pick up the ticket. Then you show up and pay to go up when your time comes up. I have some photos from the observation decks if you're interested.
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Old Feb 25, 13, 1:57 pm
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Also, if you're into ramen, there's a new branch of Rokurinsha at the base of Skytree (a huge shopping complex) to kill time at.
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Old Feb 25, 13, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
Thanks and being free and so close to my hotel, Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, will definately do TMGB during the day time and likely the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Tokyo City View in the evening.

If I do the Mori Tower before end March I can opt to also visit the museum as it closes when there isn't an exhibition running and the current one ends on 31st March so may combine then together.

I appreciate the input.
The museum often has interesting things going on and the separate gallery on the 52nd floor has a separate thing entirely to see. The real fun is the roof where the clear and unobstructed views are insanely cool. If you have questions about it or need help or just want to grab a coffee, let me know. I am very local to there. :-)

Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
At least in Tochou you can snap a shot of both the SkyTree and Tokyo Tower; seeing as this is a thread about Tokyo from above, that fact might appeal to the OP.
Same at Mori Tower but with a more South to North perspective which shows the differences in height in quite a dramatic manner.
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