Tokyo Views: 8 Night Views in Japan's Capital For An Illuminated Evening!

Tokyo: Top 8 Night Views in Japan’s Metropolitan City to Light Up Your Trip!

Glimmering night views in Tokyo await you!

The Japanese take their appreciation of night views really seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they have come up with a Night View Sightseeing Convention Bureau (quite the mouthful!) to verify and cherry-pick the very best nighttime panoramas across the country, and have over 3,500 “night view appraisers” to come to a consensus on each decision. That’s dedication, alright.

Unfortunately for us travellers, night landscapes are rather much harder to access, what with all the fretting about the last timings of public transports and services. This is why I’d recommend just doing away with all that, and doing it your way instead — by self-driving. The Shutoko (首都高速道路; translated as ‘Metropolitan Expressway’) services almost all of Tokyo, and is one of the best ways to get to all the glittery night views in the city. Here are our eight picks:

1. Tokyo Opera City

The Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall is a strikingly designed multifunctional complex with facilities for art and music performances. Believe it or not, the modernist-styled skyscraper is the seventh tallest in Tokyo, standing at a whopping 234 metres! The main concert hall houses a huge pipe organ with superb acoustics to boot, and plays host to many small-scale classical music performances. Even more interestingly, you might be able to catch the sculpture of the Singing Man in full performance at certain timings right in the middle of the Sunken Garden at the lobby of the compound.

Image credit: Metropolitan Expressway Company Limited

At night, the building is a great vantage point to catch Shinjuku in all its illuminated glory. With small restaurants and eateries on the observation deck at the very top of the building, you can glance down at the golden streets and twinkling headlights of the cars some 54 storeys below while catching a quick bite. 

Image credit: Morio

Even from outside, the Tokyo Opera City is a gleaming white spire rising above the rest of the shopping district into the sky, and its curvy interiors are an architecture photographer’s playground.

Tokyo Opera City

Address: 3 Chome-20-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 

Access: Take the 4 Shinjuku Line, exit via Shinjuku (404) (405).

2. WTC Building

You definitely won’t miss this building amongst the rest of the Tokyo skyline. A perfectly rectangular, copper-shaded block some 150 metres tall, the World Trade Centre Building was one of the city’s first ever skyscrapers when it was completed in 1970. There is an observation deck right at the very top, and the relative quietness of this viewpoint provides a very serene atmosphere as you gaze down at all of Tokyo’s infrastructure down below. Couple seats and sofas are also tactfully placed all around the 360° glass windows, and the interior lighting is turned down a tad after dusk for visitors to fully immerse themselves in the night backdrop.

Image credit: Reginald Penitio

What makes this particular observation point unique is the fact that it is one of the very few places where you can catch the bullet trains whizzing through the city, and the driverless Yurikamome train plying its route towards Odaiba. You’ll also be able to enjoy the Tokyo Tower in all its illuminated glory, a glowing blade shooting up from the urban nightscape.

WTC Building

Address: 2 Chome-4 Hamamatsucho, Minato City, Tokyo-to 

Access: Take the Inner Circular Route, exit via Shibakoen (19) (20) or the 1 Haneda Line, exit via Shibaura (101) (102).

3. Sunshine 60

The Sunshine 60 skyscraper is yet another one of those former-tallest-building-in-Tokyo affairs that still retains its brutalist architecture and amazing views from the top. Completed in 1978, it was actually the tallest building not just in Japan, but the whole of Asia, standing at its grand height of 240 metres. 

tokyo views

Image credit: Metropolitan Expressway Company Limited

The all-round observation deck covers a 100-kilometre radius of Tokyo, and you can have fun with the newly renovated VR experiences that augment the already breathtaking sights. The SKY CIRCUS light fountain is also a must-see, with all its glittering mirror balls and polarising glass forming a rainbow of dazzling light. The Fortune Window is also a fun game for couples to test their compatibility with each other — and it’s only available at night!

Once you’re done with all the fun at the top, Sunshine City is a mall located at the base of the building, and has everything from an official Pokemon Store with loads of cuddly plushies for sale to Namja Town, an indoor theme park right on the second floor of the mall. 

Sunshine 60

Address: 3-1-1 Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 

Access: Take the 5 Ikebukuro Line, exit via Higashi-ikebukuro (507) (508).

4. Tokyo City View

Image credit: Kestrel

This particular night view spot offers something nowhere else on the list does: an open-air rooftop some 270 metres in the sky. Feel the cool night breeze ruffle your hair and take your time to explore the rooftop, bristling with pylons, antennas and even a helipad. It certainly gives you the feeling of being an adventurous rooftopper without all the danger or rule-breaking! There’s always the decidedly more conventional observation deck on the 52nd floor to check out after all that outdoor action, but not to worry, the aptly-named Sky Gallery has plenty of interesting exhibits to go along with the dramatic night view. The huge 11-metre tall glass windows give a great view of the Roppongi District below, where you can gaze upon the traffic snaking down the Shibuya Line.

Tokyo City View

Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo 

Access: Take the Inner Circular Route, exit via Iikura (21) or the 3 Shibuya Line, exit via Shibuya (302) (303).

5. Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal

The Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal is just as much a sight for the traveller as it is a vantage point for its surroundings. As one of the first major projects to explore the capabilities of computer-aided design, the angular, yet flowing Brazilian Ipe-wood decks form ramps and terraces, playing with the light and shadows that pool around its sharp edges. In fact, from the air, it looks more like a living, breathing creature than what anyone expects a cruise liner terminal to look like!

Image credit: Satoru Mishima

The top of the complex is open to the public with a promenade for viewing pleasure. The skyline that can be enjoyed include Yokohama landmarks like the Red Brick Warehouse and Marine Tower, and while you’re at it, you could even go for a nighttime picnic on the lawn! Aside from the usual ocean liners that dock at the terminal, you can sometimes even catch more unique vessels like heritage sailboats and even icebreakers.

Yokohama International Passenger Terminal

Address: 1-1-4, Kaigandori, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa 

Access: Take the 1 Yokohane Line, exit via Yokohama-koen (167) (168) or the 3 Kariba Line, exit via Shin-yamashita (351) (352).

6. Aqua City Odaiba

Aqua City Odaiba may seem like yet another Japanese shopping complex from first glance, perhaps even a little boring, but it is the place to go for a very photogenic view of the renowned Rainbow Bridge, the Statue of Liberty — yes, we’re still in Tokyo — and the rest of the Tokyo Harbour. 

Image credit: Metropolitan Expressway Company Limited

The Rainbow Bridge, true to its name, is at times illuminated in all the colours of the rainbow and a single colour at other times. Don’t worry, it’s all very eco-friendly: the bridge is partially powered by the solar panels on it! You can also catch the lively Odaiba Marine Park as it comes to life with joggers and couples off on a romantic stroll on the boardwalk.

tokyo views

Image credit: Metropolitan Expressway Company Limited

Head on up to the top of the mall and you’d be rewarded with the breathtaking night panorama, though from a rather quaint viewing point: a Shinto shrine. While you are up there, grab a fortune strip as well to make the trip something to remember! 

Image credit: Aqua City Japan

Of course, more conventional viewing terraces exist on the third, fifth and sixth floors of the mall. Once you’re done, you can always head down to go for a spot of retail therapy, with outlets from the likes of Coach and Lacoste inside the shopping mall.

Aqua City Odaiba

Address: 1 Chome-7-1 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 

Access: Take the Bay Shore Route, exit via Rinkai-fukutoshin (B22), Ariake (B23) or the 11 Daiba Line, exit via Daiba (1101).

7. Ferris Wheel at Palette Town

The shoppers amongst us shouldn’t be unfamiliar with the sprawling Palette Town shopping complex, which has everything from branded outlets to a whole theme park! The mall also houses the Toyota Mega Web store, which has all of their latest and greatest innovations up for display for the car and tech enthusiasts. The Tokyo Leisure Land located within the complex is also a great place to unwind with karaoke bars, arcades, a bowling alley, and pool halls.

tokyo views

Image credit: Wei-Te Wong

But of course, you’re here for the night view. The massive ferris wheel placed smack in the middle of the shopping complex is quite possibly the most iconic feature in Odaiba’s landscape, and for good reason too. Themed to match the rest of the shopping area, which is designed to look like 17th-century Europe, the classic gondolas will lift you a whopping 115 metres into the sky, giving you an unparalleled view of the Tokyo Harbour and its surroundings. The Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo Gate Bridge should be the easiest to spot from here, and their shimmering, colourful reflections against the dark water are one for the cameras! 

Palette Town

Address: 1 Chome-3-15 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 

Access: Take the Bay Shore Route, exit via Rinkai-fukutoshin (B22), Ariake (B23) or the 11 Daiba Line, exit via Daiba (1101).

8. DiverCity Tokyo Plaza

DiverCity Tokyo Plaza doesn’t really fall into your conventional idea of a shopping mall. Designed as a theatrical city space, it offers not only shopping, but has entertainment options thrown into the mix. Even the shops that you can find in the mall aren’t your everyday shopping outlets. Take the Calbee+ shop for example — it sells freshly-baked potato chips still steaming hot! Hello Kitty also makes her presence known in this mall, with the Hello Kitty Japan shop selling store-exclusive merchandise and browned cakes with her face endorsing them!

tokyo views

Image credit: ©Sotsu

The main attraction here is the giant life-sized Unicorn Gundam statue right in the middle of the Festival Plaza. It comes to life after dark, glowing red and accompanied with a whole host of projection and light effects for a real spectacle! Once you’ve had your fill of the light show, you can head over to the Gundam Front Tokyo gallery, where you can get even more mecha-related goodies and entertainment.

DiverCity Tokyo Plaza

Address: 1 Chome-1-10 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 

Access: Take the Bay Shore Route, exit via Rinkai-fukutoshin (B22), Ariake (B23) or the 11 Daiba Line, exit via Daiba (1101).

9. DECKS Tokyo Beach

To wrap our list up, we are back at Odaiba again, this time at DECKS Tokyo Beach. A ship-themed shopping mall, the complex has more than enough shopping and entertainment options to keep you busy for a whole day! The Legoland Discovery Centre and the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum are great places to check out while waiting for the sun to set. And if you need your adrenaline fix to match your experience of Tokyo views, you can even ride roller coasters in Tokyo Joypolis!

Image credit: Metropolitan Expressway Company Limited

When twilight falls, you can head to one of the many dining options in DECKS. The bay-facing restaurants have outdoor balconies and terraces for a very romantic dinner with a view of the urban skyline to boot. There are also light shows in the area, which complement the colourful backdrop of the Tokyo Tower and the Rainbow Bridge. End the night off with a couple selfie in front of the huge heart-shaped Objet d’Art. Charming!

DECKS Tokyo Beach
Address: 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 

Access: Take the Bay Shore Route, exit via Rinkai-fukutoshin (B22), Ariake (B23) or the 11 Daiba Line, exit via Daiba (1101).

Image credit: Toby Yang

A self-drive around metropolitan will easily take you around the best Tokyo views where you can see the sparkling brilliance of city lights under cover of darkness. If you’d like more resources to help you plan your self-driving trip in Tokyo, visit the Shutoko’s website.

Brought to you by Metropolitan Expressway Company Limited.

About Author

Hern Tan
Hern Tan

From the sunny streets to the dim red glow of the darkroom, a camera is never far from Hern’s hands. And so, he can be found travelling ever further in pursuit of the perfect scene, the perfect light, the perfect image. Or in bed, all tuckered out.