Tokyo, a bird’s eye view

 

IT’S always fascinating to get a perspective of a place from the higher ground. This is why towers and viewing decks make it to everyone’s list of must-visit when on a tour.

A trip allows two photo opportunities on a single stop—a panoramic shot of the city from the peak and the structure itself from the ground. The Grand Canyon Skywalk in Arizona, The Shard in London, Shanghai Tower in China, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and Taipei 101 in Taiwan are some of the most popular attractions.

 

Mori Tower Sky Deck
My first sky-high experience in Tokyo was at the Sky Deck on the rooftop of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. The Tokyo Tower in the eastern view of the deck.

 

The newer structures though are built higher. It’s a race to own the world’s tallest building title and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai currently owns it. But even as buildings soar closer to heaven, the historic ones have become the city’s icon like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

In Tokyo, there are several towers with observation decks—the Tokyo Skytree, the city’s tallest tower today at 634 meters with the highest observation deck at 450 meters, the Tokyo Tower standing at 333 meters high, the 243-meter high Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has its deck at 202 meters above ground and a few more.

 

Mori Tower Sky Deck
No bags allowed at the Sky Deck. The locker room at the 52nd floor.

 

Mori Tower, the centerpiece of the Roppongi Hills complex, may not be the tallest at 238 meters, but the Sky Deck on the rooftop is the highest outdoor observatory in Tokyo. The deck rises to 270 meters above sea level.

The sun, the blue sky, a refreshing breeze and a magnificent 360-degree view of the city and beyond are what the Sky Deck can offer. There is a certain freedom when admiring a picture perfect panorama sans a glass partition. But if you feel more secure in an enclosed area, Mori Tower has an indoor observation deck at the 52nd floor.

 

Mori Tower Sky Deck
Not surprising. The observation deck has a helipad.

 

How I ended up inside and up the Mori Tower must have been fated. Nothing happens by coincidence, that much I believe. On the past visits, I have woven through major thoroughfares and narrow alleys, navigated the multi-level retail floors of department stores, explored parks and temples, pretty much what Tokyo has to offer on the ground level. It was my time to see the city in its entirety from a higher perspective.

The sky-high experience was breathtaking. It was the city on all points of the compass—the Shiodome, Odaiba and Chiba on the East, Shinagawa, Haneda and Yokohama on the South, Shibuya, Aoyama, Shinjuku, with Mt. Fuji on the background visible on a clear day, on the West; and Ikebukuro, Akasaka and Ueno on the North. It was as if Tokyo was saying “you haven’t seen anything yet” and “you have to come back and stay longer.” To both, I nodded to.

 

Mori Tower Sky Deck
The northeast view. The three large green patches are Yoyogi Park and the Shinjuku Gyoen (upper) and the Aoyama Cemetery (lower).

 

It was my first time on a Tokyo observation deck and it won’t be the last. With the Sky Deck open until 8 p.m., it will be great to see the cityscape all lit up at night. The starry sky will be an added treat. That’s listed for the next visit.

Mori Sky Deck is on the rooftop of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

For more lifestyle and travel stories, visit ofapplesandlemons.com and jeepneyjinggoy.com

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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