Staff Reports

7 photo spots to capture Tokyo Tower

A unique view of Tokyo Tower behind the Rainbow Bridge

Often tourists visit Japan and want to come home with the same iconic photos they see in guide books. It's not always easy to find the exact spots from which the photos were taken. In this article we're going to cover exactly where to stand in seven different locations to capture the famous Tokyo Tower along with some photographic insight.

Hopefully this helps you track down a few locations and angles that might look good as well as become aware of any important things to keep in mind about each spot. To capture the best photographs it's advisable to shoot during sunrise or sunset and wait for clear weather if possible. However, you'll see that not all the photos in this article adhere to that advice.

Spot 1: Odaiba Seaside Park

Although known for its many shopping and entertainment attractions, the island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay also has several places where Tokyo Tower can be seen framed nicely with the Rainbow Bridge. One especially nice angle is from the paths which run along the water of Odaiba Seaside Park with the tower lined up in the center of the bridge. Both sunrise and sunset provide good lighting on the tower from this location, and in the evening the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower are illuminated.

To reach this spot, take the Yurikamome Line to Daiba Station and proceed out the station's north exit toward Aqua City. At the large square, head left down the stairs to the left of the Statue of Liberty replica. At the bottom of the stairs turn left again and walk about a minute on the path directly next to the water until the tower is lined up where you prefer.

Rainbow Bridge with Tokyo Tower in the background about 90 minutes after sunrise
After exiting Daiba Station, take a left at this open square
Head down these stairs and turn left at the bottom. See the Statue of Liberty on the right?
Tripods are okay in the park so long as they don't get in the way of others
Sunset from the shores of Odaiba Seaside Park

It's also possible to get similar photos from more elevated angles at the nearby Hilton Tokyo Odaiba and Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba hotels. However, these vantage points are not open to the general public, only to hotel guests.

View from the Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba. The roof of the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba is just visible in the bottom left. This could easily be removed with Photoshop for those inclined.
Tokyo Tower behind the Rainbow Bridge from a guest room at the Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba at night

Spot 2: Fuji TV Building

The other promising angle of Tokyo Tower from Odaiba is from the "HACHITAMA" Spherical Observation Room in the Fuji TV Building. From this viewpoint, the tower lines up just to the right of the Rainbow Bridge and the elevation is high enough for the Tokyo skyline to be somewhat defined. As of the writing of this article, the observation deck opens at 10:00, so photographers miss the opportunity to capture the view during sunrise hours. However the 18:00 closing time means that from late September through February it's possible to capture the sunset.

The Fuji TV Building is located a short three to five minute walk from the south exit of Daiba Station on the Yurikamome Line. Ride the covered elevators from the ground level up to the seventh floor where tickets are sold. From here the elevator next to the ticket booth ascends to the observation deck on floor 25.

Tokyo Tower seen behind and to the right of Rainbow Bridge
The tube-like covered escalators on the ground floor which lead to the ticket booth on the seventh
The ticket booth and elevator on the seventh floor
Inside the 'HACHITAMA' Spherical Observation Room on floor 25
The rules of the observation deck.
Tokyo Tower looming behind the Rainbow Bridge
A wider view. The building in the lower half of the photo is the Aqua City shopping complex.

Spot 3: Tokyo World Trade Center

The Seaside Top observation deck in the Tokyo World Trade Center is one of the more photographer-friendly observation decks in Tokyo both for its views and its policies. Located in the center of the city on top of Hamamatsucho Station, the top floor offers visibility in all directions of the surrounding downtown area and tripods are allowed. From the northwest corner is the best angle of Tokyo Tower, located only a few blocks away.

The Tokyo World Trade Center is positioned above Hamamatsucho Station which is located on the JR Yamanote Line, Keihin Tohoku Line, and is the end stop of the Tokyo Monorail. Alternatively, it's also directly next to Daimon Station which can be reached by the Asakusa and Oedo Subway Lines. Tickets are purchased from a vending machine near the Seaside Top elevator entrance on the first floor.

The view of Tokyo Tower from the northwest corner of the Tokyo World Trade Center
The north side of the Tokyo World Trade Center near exit B2 of Daimon Station
The ticket machine and Seaside Top elevator entrance on the first floor
The rules for taking photos on the observation deck
In the distance is the northwest corner from which Tokyo Tower is visible
Tokyo Tower taken from the northwest corner of the Tokyo World Trade Center

Spot 4: Sakuradori Street

Directly south from Tokyo Tower lies Sakuradori Street. The road points straight at the tower giving photographers the opportunity to showcase the iconic landmark amid its immediate downtown environment. The length of either side of the street offers many unique angles. There are also several crosswalks with wide enough median strips to stop and capture a shot from the center of the road. However, these spaces are quite small so make sure to exercise proper awareness to avoid obstructing others or putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

Walking from Tamachi or Mita Stations to Tokyo Tower along Sakuradori takes about 30 minutes. Alternatively Akabanebashi Station is located at the north end of the street near the tower. It could be worthwhile to walk south down the road on one side and back north toward the tower on the other. A similar strategy could also work starting from Tokyo Tower itself.

Tower Tower seen between the buildings along Sakuradori Street
A view of the location the previous photo was taken
Tokyo Tower seen from Sakuradori
Different angles closer to the tower
Sakuradori and Tokyo Tower at night
A view of the location the previous photo was taken

Spot 5: Zojoji Temple

One of the most iconic perspectives to capture Tokyo Tower is with Zojoji Temple in the foreground. This can easily be done from the grounds directly in front of the Main Hall. Due to the fact that the hall faces east, the light of early morning can be especially beautiful. Another popular time to photograph this scene is once the tower is illuminated in the evening. There are many other interesting angles both around Zojoji Temple and neighboring Shiba Park to the south. Please keep in mind while hunting for unique compositions to always be respectful and considerate, especially on the temple grounds.

Walking from Daimon Station on the Asakusa and Oedo Subway Lines takes about five minutes. This route also leads through the Shiba Daimon Gate and Sangedatsumon Gate which could provide some interesting photo opportunities. Alternatively, Shibakoen or Onarimon Stations are also both about five minutes away on foot. If you visit Tokyo Tower first, Zojoji is only a five to ten minute walk to the east.

Zojoji Temple with Tokyo Tower in the background
The wide grounds in front of Zojoji Temple
Another angle of Tokyo Tower with Zojoji Temple

Spot 6: The Base of the Tokyo Tower

Of course, the worst place to photograph Tokyo Tower is from inside the tower itself. However with a wide angle or even fisheye lens, some interesting results can be achieved from the tower's base. It's possible to walk around all four sides and the main entrance is located on the northeast side. The views from both the main deck and top deck offer many worthwhile photo opportunities of the surrounding area, however no tripods are allowed.

Tokyo Tower is only a five to ten minute walk to the west of Zojoji Temple. By train it is also a five to ten minute walk from Kamiyacho Station on the Hibiya Subway Line, Akabanebashi on the Oedo Subway Line and Onarimon on the Mita Subway Line.

Focal length: 7mm (micro 4/3)
Playing with some symmetry ideas
The ticket counter on the northeast side
The main deck
Looking west from Tokyo Tower you can see the tall Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills on the right
Facing east, Zojoji Temple is easy to spot
The road running up the left third of the photo is Sakuradori Street
The upper deck
The view looking north from the upper deck

Spot 7: Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills

Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills not only provides an excellent clear shot of Tokyo Tower, it's also one of the best observation decks in Tokyo to capture a wide shot from a high angle of the city in general. Located west of Tokyo Tower, afternoon and sunset are excellent times to come take photos here. There are two observation decks. The indoor, Tokyo City View is on the 52nd floor, and the open air Sky Deck is on the roof of the building. With exciting 360 degree views and a clear shot of Tokyo Tower, the Sky Deck is definitely worth visiting.

It's important to mention that no tripods, backpacks or bags are allowed on the Sky Deck. For this reason it's important to mount lenses and fill pockets with spare batteries ahead of time. At the top of the elevator near the information desk there is a bank of coin lockers. The information desk is also happy to hold luggage or backpacks.

To get to Roppongi Hills, walk about five to ten minutes from Roppongi Station located on the Oedo and Hibiya Subway Lines. If you find yourself facing a giant metal spider sculpture with Mori Tower in the background, continue around the left side of the building. Tokyo City View shares an entrance with the Mori Art Museum on the east side of the tower.

The view looking east from the Sky Deck at the top of Mori Tower
The giant spider on the north side of Mori Tower
The entrance to the observation deck on the east side of the tower
After riding the elevator, the information desk and coin lockers are on the left
Coin lockers and luggage check at the information desk
Tokyo Tower is visible through the large windows of the Tokyo City View
Follow signs to the Sky Deck
The Sky Deck atop Mori Tower
The east corner of the Sky Deck on the roof of Mori Tower. The tripod causing the shadow is from the official Mori Tower souvenir photographer. Visitors are not allowed to bring tripods onto the Sky Deck.
Tokyo Tower lit up at night