Tokyo is a city comprised of a near infinite number of tall buildings. Because of this, life on the streets below can often feel cramped and claustrophobic. Luckily there is an easy way to escape the concrete jungle; simply go higher up! Scattered around Tokyo is a collection of massive skyscrapers. These huge structures dwarf all those around them. From these commanding vantage points, it’s easy to take in the sheer scale of the city. Indeed seeing it from the top of a high-rise affords a perspective that most on the ground miss.
Perhaps one of the best known of these spots is Shinjuku’s Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Despite its impressive view though, I prefer the Sky Deck atop of Mori Tower. Unlike the enclosed incumbent, the vistas from the Sky Deck are not obstructed by panes of glass. Furthermore, this open air location affords a 360 view of the entire Greater Tokyo region. I cannot think of a better way to witness the sheer scale of this megalopolis than to see it from the top of Mori Tower.
Unfortunately though, the access to the Sky Deck is at the whim of the Mother Nature. For safety seasons, the staff is oppressively vigilant with unfavorable weather. This means that they will immediately close the Sky Deck if they detect even the slightest hint of rain. When planning a visit. it is imperative that you first check the forecast and prepare to reschedule on the fly. The last thing you want is to make you way there only to find that it’s not open!
Despite this minor inconvenience, I cannot more highly recommend experiencing Tokyo from Mori Tower’s Sky Deck. The 238 meter high panoramic view is unparalleled by anything else in the city. It is an iconic, once-in-a-lifetime view that you will remember for years to come.
How to Get There
Given its location amidst the massive Roppongi Hills complex, the Sky Deck is pretty easy to get to. All you’ll need to do is take either the Oedo Line or the Hibiya Line to Roppongi Station. From there, Roppongi Hills is a few minutes walk away. If you’re unsure of train connections, be sure to consult Jorudan for the optimal route.
While you shouldn’t need it, here’s a link to a Google Map that will take you to Roppongi Hills. If all else fails, look up! Mori Tower looms over the entire area and is hard to miss. Note that the Sky Deck is only open until 8 PM with admission ending up to an hour before closing time. Be sure to get there by at least 6 PM to ensure that you are not denied entry.
Ascending to the SkyDeck
Once you reach Roppongi Hills, you’ll want to find the entrance for Mori Art Museum. Entry to the Sky Deck necessitates first buying a ticket to either the museum or the Arts Center gallery. Pick whichever of the two exhibits tickles your fancy. Entry prices vary but expect to spend around 1,000 to 2,000 yen for entry. The Mori Art Museum has some awesome works so this is by no means a waste!
With ticket in hand, you’ll be able to make your way up to the 52nd floor where all the action is. Entry to the Sky Deck can be purchased for an additional 500 yen from a set of vending machines. You’ll find these next to the escalator leading up to the Mori Art Museum exhibit. It can be a little confusing but most of the staff should have some modicum of English so ask if you get lost.
Unfortunately for the pro cameramen out there, you’re going to need to leave the tripods in a coin locker. While a handheld DSLR is OK, the staff is pretty draconian about any other gear so be sure to pick a lens first. Mori Tower’s policy also extends past photography gear and also includes normal bags. Expect to have to store your belongings whether you’re a cameraman or not!
Other Nearby Attractions
As mentioned, access to the Sky Deck necessitates buying a ticket to one of the exhibits. I’m a big fan of the Mori Art Museum and it would behoove you to not skip it. After all, you’ve already paid for entry so you may as well enjoy a quick perusal. The curators do an amazing job at showcasing some great works of art. Additionally on the 52nd floor you’ll also find The Sun & The Moon cafe and restaurant if you want a quick bite. Be warned though, they can be a little pricey.
Since you’re already in Roppongi though, there are a plethora of great bars and restaurants to try. Many of these are located in the colossal Roppongi Hills complex and don’t require too much travel time. Alternatively, you can head down to the Gaien Higashi Dori strip for an authentic Roppongi experience. Just be weary of the touts! If you need a good recommendation to start the night, try Brew Dog or Two Dogs Taproom.
Until next time travelers…