We compiled a list of what we think are the best Tokyo observatories for shooting urban landscapes (cityscapes). This is a non-exhaustive list as we narrowed it down to the top 3 best spots.
Keep in mind that our focus here is photography, so our only criteria when choosing the locations was the ability to take awesome shots. We chose lookouts that were loaded with photographic possibilities—not just the one obvious snaps. You can spend hours at these locations and make the most out of it. Here is our top 3 Tokyo observatories for the photographers out there.
1. Mori Tower
EYE Rating: ★★★
By far the best observatory in Tokyo. The entrance fee is on the expensive side but it is well worth every penny. The Mori tower is located in Roppongi, an area centrally located in Tokyo from which you can see the most iconic sights of the city including the famous Tokyo Tower. You can walk around the entire floor and get a full 360 degrees of possibilities. The building isn’t too low or too high, making it ideal for shooting from a variety of angles and focal lengths. The cherry on top: you can access the roof and free yourself from the ever present reflections on the windows of the indoor observation deck (there is an extra fee for access). This is very rare in Tokyo for a building of this height. The only downside: no tripods and no bags allowed—choose your gear wisely.
- Location: Roppongi
- Price: ¥1,800
- Tripods Allowed: No
- Open Air: Yes if you pay an extra ¥500 for access to the skydeck (worth it!)
- Best Time: Dusk
2. World Trade Center Building
EYE Rating: ★★
The Tokyo World Trade Center building is located next to Daimon station. It is therefore in the heart of Tokyo, an area with the highest concentration of high-rises. Shimbashi, Shiodome, Roppongi, and even Shinagawa and Marunouchi are not far away. You also get an impressive view over the Shinkansen (bullet train) route and the many elevated highways running through the city. You also secure a great view of Tokyo Tower. The lookout (about ¥600) is located on top of the building. You can walk around the whole floor and access a full 360 degree view of Tokyo. Last time we went there tripods were still allowed but you might want to check ahead. The only downside: no access to the rooftop/outside and you are stuck behind glass windows.
3. Bunkyo Civic Center
EYE rating: ★
The Bunkyo Civic Center building is a government building in Tokyo. It boasts an amazing and free observatory on the top floor. It is located right on top of the Korakuen subway station, making it a centrally located in Tokyo. The neighborhood doesn’t have many tall buildings, yet it is prime location to see the other iconic areas of Tokyo: Shinjuku, Marunouchi, Roppongi and more. Tripods are not allowed and you don’t have access to the roof, so you will be stuck behind windows. This isn’t much of a problem during daytime but at night the reflections on the glass make it difficult to shoot. You can get some amazing shots with longer focal lengths including the famous one of Mount Fuji looming over the skyscrapers of Shinjuku. It’s best to go early in the morning for great results.