• Tania Wee

The Towers of Japan

A new towering structure has just been added to the Tokyo’s already stunning city skyline and that is the Shibuya Scramble Square. This massive tower located at the heart of Shibuya itself (as its name indicates), has been the talk of the town ever since the start of its construction and at 230 meters, claims the title of tallest structure in the district. Naturally, this means it also boasts its own observation deck known as Shibuya Sky and an unobstructed view of Tokyo.

Towering buildings with an observation deck are plentiful across many of Japan’s major cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido and are major tourist attraction. Whether you’re a sunset chaser, a photographer or just someone looking for something to do in Japan, these towers are definitely a must-add to your itinerary. Here is our list of the most prominent towers across Japan with stunning views of the cities.


1. 230 meters - Shibuya Scramble Square, Tokyo

Since we’ve already opened with this announcement, let’s talk more about Shibuya Sky. With an observation deck spanning 2,500sqm, Shibuya Sky features a vantage point called Sky Stage that offers one of the best aerial views of the famous Shibuya Scramble down below and the rest of Tokyo. On a clear day, you will be able to spot Mount Fuji if you look hard enough. There are ample spaces to relax amongst grassy turfs and get this – hammocks (!) to give you sensation of drifting into the skies. Tickets to Shibuya Sky can be purchased online or at the counter but we hear they sell out fast.


2. 170 meters - Umeda Sky Building, Osaka

The Umeda Sky Building is Osaka’s most recognizable landmark. Located in the business district of Umeda, this building blends business, nature and architecture skills into two towering wonders that is connected by the donut shaped bridge at the top. That bridge makes up the Kuchu Teien Observatory that offers a beautiful 360-degree view of Osaka. At 170 meters off the ground, you would be able catch the stunning sunset in the evenings and watch the night lights come alive. If you’re fortunate, you can not only see all of Osaka but as far away as Awaji Island. The basement of the building houses the Takimi-Koji gourmet street with old fashioned images of Osaka from the 1920s.


3. 131 meters - Kyoto Tower

In a city famously known for its history, ancient temples and shrines and natural wonders, the Kyoto Tower is a rare modern iconic landmark that first opened in 1964. For those arriving from other parts of Japan via train, it will mostly be the first thing you see as you exit Kyoto Station. Its viewing platform is indoors and despite only standing at 100 meters above the ground, it still provides a complete view of Kyoto in all directions. It is one of the best places to spot the iconic mountain bonfire symbols charred into the city’s mountainsides as part of the ancient ritual Gozan no Okuribi.

4. 234 meters – Fukuoka Tower, Fukuoka

Japan’s tallest seaside tower sits in Fukuoka at 234 meters and its highest observation deck is 123 meters above the ground. The Fukuoka Tower was built alongside the Seaside Momochi waterfront district in 1989 to celebrate the city’s 100th anniversary. What sets it apart from other towers is the over 8,000 one way mirrors that adorned the outer side, reflecting the views of the sea and sun. Apart from its three observation decks, a restaurant and a souvenir shop on the ground floor, there is nothing else occupying the inner structure of the tower. As a result, visitors are in for a scenic treat as they ride the see-through lift to the top as they look out on the seaside view. At night, the tower will light up with a changing illumination theme each season.


5. 147.2 meters - Sapporo TV Tower, Hokkaido

What truly sets this tower apart of its counterparts in other parts of Japan is the view it offers in winter – a city completely blanked in pristine white snow. At 147.2 meters, it is not the tallest building in the city but it is the only one that offers a bird’s eye view of Odori Park, Sapporo’s own Central Park. Odori Park cuts straight across the city with its pockets of greenery and the main site for many of Sapporo’s seasonal events. Regardless of the events held, the Sapporo TV Tower makes for an amazing backdrop and the city views in winter from the 90 meters observation deck, simply breath-taking.


Without doubt, Japan is a stunning country with postcard perfect views, up-close and afar all year round. But to truly witness the widespread reach of Japan’s sprawling metropolitans blended with the touches of nature, take a ride up to any one of these towers and simply bask in the magnitude of it all.


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