A long-time favorite and popular tourist attraction is the iconic Tokyo Tower which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year by renovating the observation floor at the 250-meter level and renaming it the Top Deck on March 3, 2018. Here’s an in-depth look at the Top Deck!
What is Tokyo Tower’s Top Deck?
The columns and ceilings of the deck are covered in mirrors and the windows afford a 360-degree panoramic view of Tokyo. Before you go up to the Top Deck you receive a voice guidance tablet before proceeding to its dedicated entrance. In addition to displays showing how Tokyo looked at the time Tokyo Tower was constructed, there are also a drink service and professional photograph service making this a tour you really should take. After arriving at the Top Deck you can move about freely and enjoy the view to your heart’s content..
1) Advance reservations make check-in a breeze
Top Deck tours run at 15-minute intervals between 9:00 AM and 10:15 PM. Tours are limited to 11 people each. It is possible to participate without an advance reservation if there is space available, but we recommend making a reservation in advance to be safe. You can make reservations on the Tokyo Tower website (English, classical Chinese, simplified Chinese, and Korean) and tickets will be issued to your smartphone or tablet in QR code, so you do not need to go through the trouble of getting a ticket when you arrive but can instead proceed directly to the Top Deck lane. However, if you are not in the Top Deck lane at the appointed time, your ticket will automatically be cancelled, so please take care not to miss your appointed time. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance.
2) From the Top Deck lane to the secret small room
The Top Deck lane is to the right of the entrance and leads to the special entrance for the Top Deck Tour. Show the QR code that you had downloaded on your device ahead of time and pick up a voice guidance tablet. It provides explanations in 13 languages including English, Chinese, and Korean.
The first elevator takes you up the Main Deck at the 150-meter level. While you can of course get a view of Tokyo from here, first proceed on to the Top Deck gate. The area beyond the gate is restricted to participants of the Top Deck Tour. Please note that you will need to again show the QR code here, too.
After you pass through the Top Deck gate, you will enter the Tower Gallery that displays scenes of Tokyo 60 years ago when the Tower was built. Tokyo was just beginning its meteoric economic rise and television was beginning to become widespread, so the need for a transmission tower led to the creation of Tokyo Tower. It stands 333 meters tall and became a symbol of Japan’s economic growth.
Move on to the Secret Library. To find out what lies behind that door you will definitely need to participate in the tour.
From the Secret Library you will move further on to the floor platform where you change to the elevator that will take you to the Top Deck. On the platform you will be greeted by Tokyo Tower’s own original “Tokyo Tower Fragrance” and here also there is a professional cameraman available to take commemorative photos and complimentary drinks are also served. If you have a commemorative photo taken, it will be waiting for you at the exit when you leave. The postcard size photo card (black and white) is free. For 1,500 yen you can also get a 2L size (color) photo mounted in an original panel. Also, you are free to keep the cup in which the complimentary drink was served as a souvenir.
3) Reaching the Top Deck
The elevator at the platform will take you up to the Top Deck 250 meters above ground. You can either move about with the other tour participants in your group or freely on your own. The view is really spectacular.
4) The mirrors on this floor are quite extraordinary!
One of the special features of the renovated Top Deck is the placement of geometrical mirrors throughout the whole area. They give the area a more spacious feeling and make you feel as though you are floating and wherever you look there is a fantastic view. They have been carefully places so that reflections double the views from the windows producing a mysterious effect.
5) On a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji!
The points of the compass are shown above the observation windows so it is easy to know in which direction you are looking. To the north, looking towards Hibiya, you can see the Imperial Palace and the newly constructed Tokyo Midtown. Looking eastwards you can see Tokyo Bay and beyond it Chiba Prefecture and the Boso Peninsula when the weather is good. To the south you can see the double-tiered Rainbow Bridge and if the air is clear the Izu island chain floating in the Pacific Ocean in the distance. In the west are the cluster of skyscrapers in Shinjuku and beyond them Mt. Fuji.
Mt. Fuji, the Izu island chain, Boso Peninsula, and other distant points are visible when the air is clear, but that is a matter of luck! Early morning in winter is when the air is clearest. Try picking a time when the conditions are best.
The voice guidance tablet also has the unique feature of displaying the names of buildings and places on it when pointed in a certain direction. This will help you recognize the hotel where you are staying and buildings you have visited. In addition, the voice guidance system also explains the history of the areas and buildings.
The night view is especially romantic, the mood accentuated by the reflection of city lights and the colored lights on the floor. There is no time limit for the tour, so a visit in the evening is recommended for viewing the sunset. Keep in mind, however, that once you descend to the Main Deck, it is not possible to go back again to the Top Deck.
After you have enjoyed the view from the Top Deck you can next proceed to the Main Deck. The elevator has limited occupancy, so to avoid having to wait your turn, you can ask the staff to notify you when you can board the elevator as they will give you a paging device for that purpose. This will enable you to further enjoy the view until it is your time to board the elevator. You can return the device before you board the elevator and once you get off the elevator you can return the voice guidance tablet to the staff there.
6) The Main Deck has many more attractions
After enjoying your visit to the Top Deck descend to the Main Deck. Renovation of the Main Deck has been underway since the fall of 2017 and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2020. Only one direction is closed for viewing, but the other three sections are open. There are observation glass panels at your feet, handrails, and minimum obstructions in the glass frames thus enabling an even more dynamic view. The deck is expected to be completely open in 2020.
7) The “Skywalk Window” will freeze you in your tracks
Don’t forget to check out the Skywalk Window measuring 160 cm by 60 cm located on the Main Deck. These reinforced glass panes embedded in the floor are about 5 cm thick and offer a thrilling view of people and cars directly beneath your feet. Even though the glass is built to withstand the weight of one and a half tons, it still requires a bit of courage to stand on it. Be sure to try it yourself.
8) Check out the cute limited edition souvenirs!
The Sky Galaxy official shop is a place you really must visit. It sells an array of delightful items, such as mineral water bottles in the shape of Tokyo Tower, and confections. There is another official Galaxy shop located in Foot Town at the base of the tower, but only The Sky Galaxy has items that are only sold here.
After you have finished looking at the views and selecting souvenirs on the Main Deck, take the elevator down to Foot Town. Here you can pick up the photo you had taken on the platform. There is also a food court and character shop.
“Tokyo One Piece Tower” is located on the third floor of Foot Town. The set ticket for admission costs 2,900 yen for adults. From here it is also easy to access such fashionable sections of town as Roppongi and Azabu Juban, so after visiting Tokyo Tower we recommend you visit these areas for dining and shopping.
Hours: 9:00 AM ~ 11:00 PM (Top Deck until 10:15 PM; times vary according to shop)
Closed: Open daily
Top Deck Tour: Adults (16 and older) 2,800 yen; Junior (7 ~ 15) 1,800 yen; Children (4 ~ 6) 1,200 yen
Main Deck: Adults (16 and older) 900 yen; Junior (7 ~ 15) 500 yen; Children (4 ~ 6) 400 yen
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