Shibuya sky vs tokyo skytree vs Tokyo Tower Which one has the best views
by Coco Tran On September 19, 2023
Tokyo is a huge, sprawling metropolis with no shortage of amazing sights to see. But to truly appreciate the sheer scale of the city, you need to view it from above. Tokyo has several observation decks that offer stunning bird’s-eye vistas, but three, in particular, stand out as must-visit attractions: Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and Shibuya Sky.
In This Article: Table of Contents
BEST FOR THRILLING VIEWS
- Tallest structure in Japan at 634m tall
- Iconic triangular architecture
- Highest observation deck at 450m
- Futuristic Skytree Town mall at base
- More dated surroundings in Sumida area
- Usually busiest observation deck with longest lines
- Skip-the-line tickets recommended
BEST FOR FAMILIES AND KIDS
- 333m tall with retro 1950s design
- Nostalgic old-school Tokyo views
- Feels most “fun” with carnival atmosphere
- Shiba Park surroundings more peaceful
- Often shorter lines than Skytree
- Romantic nighttime illuminations
Shibuya sky vs tokyo skytree vs Tokyo Tower Summary
Shibuya sky vs tokyo skytree vs Tokyo Tower Information Overview
comparing Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and Shibuya Sky:
|Metric||Tokyo Tower||Tokyo Skytree||Shibuya Sky|
|Height||333 m (1,093 ft)||634 m (2,080 ft)||250 m (820 ft)|
|Highest Observation Deck||249.6 m (819 ft)||450 m (1,480 ft)||250 m (820 ft)|
|Opened||December 23, 1958||May 22, 2012||October 4, 2019|
|Opening hours||9:00 am–11:00 pm (main deck),|
9:00 am–11:45 pm (top deck)
|8:00 am–11:00 pm||10:00 am – 10:30 pm|
|Number of decks||2||2||2|
|Visitors per year||About 2.5 million||About 4.2 million||N/A|
|Time from Shinjuku Station||About 25 minutes||About 40 minutes||10 minutes|
|Time from Tokyo Station||About 20 minutes||About 30 minutes||30 minutes|
|How much time should you schedule?||90 minutes–2 hours||2–3 hours||1-2 hours|
|Price||Check Tokyo Tower pricing||Check Tokyo Skytree pricing||Check Shibuya Sky pricing|
Which Has the Best Views: Shibuya Sky vs Tokyo Skytree vs Tokyo Tower
If having the most stunning, jaw-dropping views is your top priority, Tokyo Skytree wins for views hands down. At 634m tall, its views from the 450m observation deck are unparalleled, allowing you to see Mount Fuji on clear days. The views are truly panoramic.
However, some may argue Tokyo Tower offers more intimate, close-up views of the cityscape and landmarks like Tokyo Dome and Roppongi Hills. And Shibuya Sky’s vantage point right above the famous Shibuya Crossing is an iconic view you can’t get elsewhere.
So while Skytree is tallest and objectively has the widest views, Tower and Shibuya still have unique, stunning vistas. It just depends what type of views matter most to you.
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Overall Best Tokyo Observation Deck to Visit Shibuya Sky vs Tokyo Skytree vs Tokyo Tower
If choosing the single best observation deck in Tokyo, I would recommend Tokyo Tower for its central location, retro charm, festive atmosphere, shorter lines, and balance of epic views without extreme heights.
That said, Tokyo Skytree can’t be beaten for record-breaking views and height thrills as Japan’s tallest structure. It also has great shopping/dining options.
And Shibuya Sky takes the cake for iconic Shibuya Crossing views and trendy sights like its mirrored escalator. The open-air rooftop bar is also a highlight.
Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with any of these three observation decks. They each offer amazing, only-in-Tokyo experiences from their own unique vantage points high above the city. Conveniently, they are all accessible within central Tokyo.
Shibuya sky vs tokyo skytree vs Tokyo Tower overview
|Tokyo Skytree||– Iconic city views from 450m height |
– Anime/manga fans
– Futuristic architecture
– Thrill of Japan’s tallest tower
|Tokyo Tower||– Nostalgic old Tokyo charm |
– Carnival atmosphere
– Romantic illuminations
– Shorter lines
– Central location
|Shibuya Sky||– Views of Shibuya Crossing |
– Open-air rooftop at sunset
– Trendy mirrored escalator
– Sophisticated rooftop bar
– Instagrammable spots
Tokyo Skytree: The Tallest Structure in Japan
If sheer height is your top priority, Tokyo Skytree cannot be beaten. At 634 meters tall, it is the tallest structure in Japan and second tallest in the world after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper. Skytree’s slender triangular shape makes it eye-catchingly modern while still inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetics.
The panoramic views from Skytree’s two observation decks on the 350m and 450m levels are unrivaled. On clear days, you can see all the way to Mount Fuji. The dizzying glass floors also make photos more thrilling. And for anime fans, the Skytree’s surrounding mall called Tokyo Skytree Town has its own Pokémon Center.
However, the Skytree’s incredible height does mean that views lack finer details visible from shorter towers. It’s also farther from central Tokyo in the more working-class Sumida district, though Asakusa’s Senso-ji Temple is nearby.
Being Tokyo’s newest and tallest tower, the Skytree is extremely popular. Unless you book skip-the-line tickets in advance, expect long queues, especially on weekends. Sunset is the busiest time when queues can take hours.
Tokyo Tower: Retro Tower with Carnival Atmosphere
What Tokyo Skytree has in height, Tokyo Tower makes up for in retro charm. Completed in 1958 and inspired by Paris’s Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower exudes cheerful 1950s Googie architecture.
At 333 meters tall, Tokyo Tower offers closer, more intimate views of Tokyo compared to the distant panoramas from Skytree. You can spot key landmarks like the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Dome, Roppongi Hills, and more.
While not as tall, Tokyo Tower feels more exciting to visit. The lively FootTown mall in the base has food stalls, souvenir shops, and fun attractions like the One Piece Tower anime theme park. Inside the tower itself is a small Shinto shrine and postboxes to send Tokyo Tower postcards. The atmosphere is carnival-like.
Surrounded by the peaceful greenery of Shiba Park and Zojoji Temple, Tokyo Tower has a more neighborhood vibe than Skytree. Its location is also more central near the business districts of Roppongi and Hamamatsucho.
Queues are usually shorter than Skytree, except during special nighttime illuminations when Tokyo Tower lights up romantically in different colors.
Shibuya Sky: Right in the Heart of Downtown Tokyo
The newest observation deck on this list is Shibuya Sky, opened in 2019. Unlike utilitarian towers built for broadcasts, Shibuya Sky was designed purely for tourism and Instagrammable views. Located right in the middle of Shibuya, Tokyo’s youth culture hub, the deck sits atop Shibuya’s tallest skyscraper at 250 meters.
The big appeal of Shibuya Sky is the deck’s open-air rooftop design with glass walls, allowing you to look straight down on the iconic Shibuya Crossing intersection and surrounding cityscape. You’ll also get great views of Tokyo Tower and Skytree in the distance. Photo ops here are unbeatable, especially at sunset when the city lights up.
The dazzling mirrored escalator to reach the rooftop and glass-walled elevator facing huge floor-to-ceiling windows also make Shibuya Sky feel distinctly modern. And it’s the only deck here with a swanky rooftop bar.
However, Shibuya Sky’s popularity means you absolutely must book tickets online weeks in advance to avoid long lines or being turned away at busy times like sunset. It’s also the most expensive observation deck in Tokyo.
Which Tokyo Observation Deck is Best For You?
To summarize, if sheer height and record-breaking views are your top priority, go with Tokyo Skytree. For old-school Tokyo charm and carnival vibes, visit Tokyo Tower. And for trendy almost open-air vistas in central Shibuya, check out Shibuya Sky.
Tokyo Skytree is best for: Iconic city views, anime fans, and excitement of Japan’s tallest tower.
Tokyo Tower is best for: Nostalgic Tokyo vibes, cute souvenirs, shorter lines.
Shibuya Sky is best for: Trendy sights like Shibuya Crossing, sunset views, and rooftop cocktails.
No matter which you choose, you’re guaranteed breathtaking views and an unforgettable Tokyo experience. Your only problem will be deciding which amazing observation deck to visit! With some advance planning and skip-the-line tickets, you truly can’t go wrong.
Here are H2 sections comparing the views, Instagrammability, pricing, and overall best option between Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and Shibuya Sky:
Which Tokyo Observation Deck Has the Best Views?
If sheer height is most important for epic views, Tokyo Skytree wins at 634m tall. You’ll see Fuji on clear days. Tokyo Tower’s views feel more intimate at 333m while showing key landmarks. Shibuya Sky’s open rooftop creates unobstructed street views below.
Overall, Skytree offers the most jaw-dropping vistas from 450m up. But Tower and Shibuya still provide stunning sights, just from lower elevations.
Which is the Most Instagrammable Observation Deck?
Shibuya Sky is designed purely for stunning Instagram photos, especially the rooftop. The escalator and glass elevator are also very grammable. Tokyo Tower and Skytree have observation decks added to functional towers, so lack standalone ‘wow factor’ spots.
However, all three make amazing backdrops for images. For iconic shots, nothing beats Shibuya Sky’s downward views of neon Tokyo streets.
Which Tokyo Tower Offers the Cheapest Admission?
Tokyo Tower is generally the most affordable option. Admission starts under $10 USD. Tokyo Skytree costs $20+ for basic tickets. As the newest observation deck aimed at travelers, Shibuya Sky is priciest at over $18 USD.
However, Tokyo Tower and Skytree sell fast-track tickets to skip long lines. And Shibuya Sky requires booking ahead online during peak times. So factor in total costs.
Which is the Best Tokyo Observation Deck Overall?
It depends on your priorities! Tokyo Skytree is best for record-breaking views and height. Tokyo Tower offers old-school charm and carnival vibes. Shibuya Sky provides trendy sights like Shibuya Crossing.
If choosing just one, Tokyo Tower hits a sweet spot between epic views, affordability, and fun atmosphere. But all three deliver amazing, only-in-Tokyo experiences from their unique vantage points.
Now get out there and start planning that Tokyo trip! This bustling capital is waiting for you. Whether you ride to Skytree or Tower first, the cityscape panoramas from atop these towers will take your breath away. Now get climbing!
Here is some additional information comparing the restaurants at Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and Shibuya Sky:
Restaurants and Dining
In addition to observation decks, all three towers offer a variety of dining options if you get hungry during your visit.
Tokyo Skytree has the most extensive selection of restaurants, along with many causal eateries in the Solamachi mall at the tower’s base. Standouts include Musashi, a gourmet Japanese restaurant on the tower’s 35th floor, and Tapas & Bar Milonga, offering Spanish cuisine with skyline views. For a unique experience, Sorakara-Chan Sky Restaurant has kawaii mascot character decor.
Tokyo Tower’s FootTown area features all types of Japanese fast food like ramen, udon, and tempura. Visit Rinku Gate Tower Building’s Tokyo City View observation deck on the 28th floor for the upscale La Vista cocktail lounge. Nearby, you’ll also find fine dining at Benkei, famed for its traditional beef sukiyaki.
At Shibuya Sky, stopped at the Magnet by Shibuya109 food court for udon noodles and matcha parfaits after visiting the observation deck. While the eats are more casual, you can always head to the open-air rooftop bar once it opens at night.
Overall, Skytree probably has the most dining choices, but you’ll find plenty of tasty options at all three tower complexes to refuel during your visit. Trying the observation deck restaurants is a great way to enhance the experience. Just be sure to make reservations in advance since they are popular.
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