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.
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.
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.
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.
Spot 4: Sakuradadori Street
Directly south from Tokyo Tower lies Sakuradadori 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 Sakuradadori 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.
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.
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.
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.