Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
Roppongi is well known for its shopping and being a hub for foreigners, but what you may not know is that at the top of this massive complex is an observatory tower that puts all other observation points to shame. Yes that’s right, I said it. Roppongi Hills’ observation deck is better than the MGB, Tokyo Tower, or even SkyTree. That is a pretty big statement to make, but I’ve got my reasons.
Roppongi Hills History
Standing in the center of the infamous Roppongi district, Roppongi Hills is one of the city’s tallest and most lavish buildings. The center opened in 2003 and houses apartments, high end shopping, offices, restaurants, and of course an observation deck. The building’s offices are home to some of the country’s leading IT companies and has become something of a symbol for the Japanese tech industry. Brains, beauty, and money. Roppongi sure is something. The centerpiece for the complex is its 54 story tall Mori Tower, which cost over four billion USD and 14 years to build.
Roppongi Hills Attractions
The observation deck, found at the top of Mori Tower, offers you a full 360 degree view of the city at roughly 218 meters high. When you enter the deck you will get to walk along the circular glass wall and take in the view of the city. You start off looking down at the nearby Tokyo Tower, and eventually work your way to a distant view of Mt. Fuji. Depending on the visibility of the day, your view can be absolutely spectacular.
Inside the deck there is a snack station where you can enjoy the view with some coffee or a light meal. There is even an art museum that is free with your admission into the observation deck. However, this Mori Art Museum is not open year round. Check the website here for details.
Once you are finished with this indoor observation deck, you have a choice. You can either head back down and move on with your day, or go up one more level to the outdoor observation platform. This is where the real magic happens. Before you can set foot on the roof though you will have to pay an additional ¥500 and put all of your belongings in a locker. You can take your camera, but the security is pretty strict that you won’t take anything that has even the slightest risk of getting caught in the wind and plummeting to the ground.
Once you’ve paid admission and dealt with the lockers, you can move on up to the roof where you can experience a view like never before. Something about being able to see the city from nearly 240 meters without the glass barrier makes for an amazing time. If by chance you have a crippling fear of heights, this may not be for you, but if you want to see the city from the sky this outdoor platform is absolutely perfect. Once again you get a 360 degree view of the city, but unfortunately are pretty limited to a narrow walkway and a few waiting areas.
Roppongi Hills may not quite reach the height of Tokyo Tower, and is dwarfed by the new Skytree, but the view from the outdoor “SkyDeck” is one that cannot be ignored. On top of being the best view in the city, Roppongi is considerably cheaper then these two alternatives. If you are going to the top of SkyTree you can expect to pay over ¥3,000, Roppongi only asks for ¥2,000. How’s that for a deal? Cheaper, better view, and has an outdoor deck. These three aspects alone are enough to claim Roppongi Hills king of Tokyo’s observatory towers, but let’s add the cherry to this already towering cake. Roppongi Hills’ windows are actually clean. You do not have to worry about smudges in the glass showing up in your pictures, the glass is clean. That’s more than I can say for some other towers in Tokyo.
If you are in Tokyo and want a fantastic view, check out Roppongi Hills. Just be careful if you come at night. The place can get a bit seedy.
What You Need to Know
- Admission: ¥1,500 for the first observation point, ¥500 for the SkyDeck
- Hours: 10:00-23:00 for first deck, 11:00 – 20:00 for SkyDeck
- Directions: Just a 5 minute walk from the Roppongi Station via the Oedo or Hibiya Subway Line
For More Observation Towers in Tokyo