Shibuya Sky: A Must-Visit Observation Deck in Tokyo

Planning a trip to Tokyo? One of the must-visit attractions is Shibuya Sky, a stunning observation deck that offers breathtaking views of the city. But with so many observation decks in Tokyo, you might be wondering if Shibuya Sky is worth your time and money. This article aims to answer all your questions and help you decide if Shibuya Sky should be on your itinerary.

Shibuya Sky is worth it for those who are seeking incredible views of Tokyo’s cityscape and skyline. From Shibuya Sky, visitors are able to see famous landmarks like Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and even Mount Fuji on a clear day.

Not sure if Shibuya Sky is for you? Keep reading, because I’ll explain everything I learned from my visit to Shibuya Sky. You will know exactly what to expect from it, how to plan your visit efficiently, and even a few tips I learned.

Overview of Shibuya Sky

Shibuya Sky logo on the rooftop
Shibuya Sky logo on Shibuya Sky rooftop
© Ana Costa

Shibuya Sky is an observation deck located on the rooftop of the Shibuya Scramble Square building in Tokyo. From there, you have a 360-degree panoramic view of Tokyo, which is quite impressive, especially when you visit for the first time.

  • Location: On the 14th floor of the Shibuya Scramble Square building
  • Address: 2 Chome-24-12 Shibuya, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0002 (In Japanese: 〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷2丁目24−12)
  • Opening times: 10:00–22:30 (final admission 21:20)
  • Official website: Shibuya Sky
  • Ticket price: ¥2,500 (on site). Tickets are a little cheaper if bought in advance.
  • Access: Shibuya Sky is directly accessible from Shibuya Station.

Views and Attractions

Tokyo Skytree from Shibuya Sky
Tokyo Skytree from Shibuya Sky
© Ana Costa

Shibuya Sky has three zones: Sky Gate, Sky Gallery, and Sky Stage.

The Sky Gate is the elevator that takes you from the 14th floor to the 45th floor. But this is not just a regular elevator. I never thought that an elevator could be so amazing. First, it takes you superfast to the 45th floor, and you won’t even notice it moving. And second, it has a sort of video display on the ceiling, making it sound like a futuristic experience.

The Sky Gallery is an indoor observation corridor on the 46F. It also has several digital installations that are quite interesting and fun.

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Finally, the Sky Stage is the rooftop observation space. This is the most important part of Shibuya Sky, and this is where you will spend most of your time enjoying the view and taking pictures. You can even relax in this sort of hammock, looking at the sky. There is also a rooftop bar between May and December where you can sit and relax, but it is only accessible with a special ticket.

Other than the incredible views, Shibuya Sky also holds regular and occasional events like meditation, astronomical observation, and even sound events. Event information is accessible on the official website if you want to check it out before buying your tickets.

My Personal Experience

Me and my son at Shibuya Sky
Me and my son at Shibuya Sky
© Ana Costa

When I visited Shibuya Sky, I was blown away by the view. We arrived at 8:00 pm, so I couldn’t see the city transform from day to night. The deck wasn’t too crowded at that time, so I had plenty of space to take photos and enjoy the scenery. However, the best places for taking pictures always have people around, and it’s kind of hard to avoid that in Japan if you’re visiting touristy places.

One of the things I enjoyed was the crossing lights performance on the rooftop. The performances happen daily, every 30 minutes, after 7:00 p.m. It’s a short performance, but the music and the lights pointing at the sky are really cool.

The weather was nice in early November, so we decided to stay as long as we could before heading to our hotel at Haneda Airport. We spent more than one hour on the rooftop, but we could have stayed longer if we had more time.

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The next time I try an observation deck, I’ll aim for a day view to have a different experience. I’ve seen lots of photos where people visited during the day, and they look great. Also, it is easier to take some quality photos. At night, you have to keep your phone steady to avoid blurry photos, but since you can’t use a tripod at Shibuya Sky, this is really hard to do. As you can see, my photos are not very sharp. 🙁

You can also have your photo taken by the photographer at Shibuya Sky using their own camera. Unfortunately, they can’t take photos using your phone, so if you’re visiting alone, you have to ask someone to take a picture of you. The photo service at Shibuya Sky cost us ¥1,500. It’s not cheap, but it was a cool souvenir of our visit.

Usually, you will want to reserve your tickets just before sunset. This way, you can enjoy the view in daylight, then enjoy the sunset, and even stay for the night view. You can stay as long as you want until the closing time, but sometimes it is going to be crowded. Tickets for sunset are difficult to get (everyone wants those), and it is obviously the best time for amazing pictures.

Don’t be frustrated if you can’t manage to book your ticket for this time, because you will always have a wonderful time no matter what time of the day you visit.

Practical Information

  • Opening hours: 10:00–22:30 (final admission 21:20)
  • Ticket price (adult): ¥2,500
  • Ticket price (junior high and high school students): ¥2,000
  • Ticket price (elementary students): ¥1,200 (can only be bought at the counter)
  • Ticket price (young children ages 3–5): ¥700 (can only be bought at the counter)
  • Ticket price (under 3 years old): Free
  • Ticket purchase: online and at the counter (same-day tickets will probably sell out)

Opening hours and ticket prices can change at any time. You can check the official website for the latest prices and opening hours: Shibuya Sky Official Website. You can save some money by booking online (versus buying on the day), but you can also buy combined tickets for other attractions in Tokyo and save money on the total price.

For example, Klook has a great pass called Klook Pass Greater Tokyo that allows you to pick between 2 and 7 attractions and save money by buying all the tickets at once instead of buying them individually. If you pick the most expensive attractions using this pass, you can save up to 48% which is a good discount rate. And they even have the same thing for the Kansai area, with attractions in Kyoto and Osaka.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Shibuya Sky depends on what type of experience you are looking for. If you want to avoid the crowds, it is best to visit early in the morning or just before closing. You will have people-free pictures (especially in the morning) and shorter lines to wait for your turn. However, these time slots only grant a more relaxed experience.

For the best views, consider visiting right before sunset. This is the most wanted time slot, and it is really difficult to book. If you really want to aim for sunset time, you have to book your ticket online as soon as possible (30 days in advance).

Another important thing to keep in mind before visiting Shibuya Sky is the weather. Even if you don’t really know what to expect, especially if you book 30 days in advance, you will want to avoid bad weather at all costs. And that’s because they usually close the rooftop if the weather conditions are bad (strong winds, lightning, rain, and heat). If you want to have an idea of the weather in Japan each month, you can check out my other article about the weather.

Even if the rooftop isn’t the only thing you can see at Shibuya Sky, it is clearly the most significant part of the experience. It would be a waste of time (and money) to try to visit during bad weather conditions. Of course, you can still enjoy the view from the Sky Gallery, but it is not the same thing as the rooftop, where you have a panoramic, open-air view of Tokyo.

Nearby Attractions

Shibuya Crossing from Shibuya Sky
Shibuya Crossing from Shibuya Sky
© Ana Costa

When visiting Shibuya Sky, you can plan your day with some cool nearby attractions. Shibuya has a lot to see and explore, but take a little time to see at least these ones.

Shibuya Crossing: Just outside Shibuya Station, this is one of the most famous intersections in the world. Experience the organized chaos as hundreds of people cross the street from all directions.

Hachiko Statue: A short walk from Shibuya Station, this statue commemorates Hachiko, the loyal dog who waited for his owner every day at the station.

Shibuya 109: A popular shopping destination for trendy fashion. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the latest styles.

Nonbei Yokocho: This small alley is lined with tiny bars and eateries. It’s a great place to experience traditional Japanese nightlife.

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How to Get There

Shibuya Sky is located in the Shibuya Scramble Square building, right next to Shibuya Station. The station is a major transportation hub, so you can easily reach it by train from anywhere in Tokyo. Once at Shibuya Station, follow the signs to Shibuya Scramble Square and take the elevator up to the observation deck.

There are several lines that can get you to Shibuya Station:

There are a few more lines available, but these are the most common and the ones that you’ll probably use.

To find your way around Japan, I recommend using the Japan Travel by Navitime website and mobile app. It gives you detailed transportation options that fit the transportation passes you bought for your trip. Check out my video below, explaining how to use it.

Tips for Your Visit

  • If you want to take the famous picture at the Sky Edge (illuminated angle on the rooftop), you have to queue for the photo service with the photographer. After that, you have a few minutes to take your own pictures (just be mindful of others; don’t take much time if the queue is long).
  • Even if the Sky Edge is the best photo spot, there are other edges available where you can take really nice pictures, too.
  • Tickets are cheaper if bought online in advance, and you can save some extra money buying combined tickets like the Klook Pass Greater Tokyo.
  • You can buy tickets up to one month in advance. If you want to aim for sunset time, make sure you buy your tickets as soon as they’re available online, because sunset time tickets sell out pretty fast.
  • To access the seats on the rooftop bar, you need a special ticket, but you can’t enter with minors under 20 years old.
  • Get your camera or phone ready as soon as you enter the elevator on the 14th floor. This elevator is an experience in itself, and you might want to capture that moment.

Shibuya Sky Alternatives

Tokyo Tower from Shibuya Sky
Tokyo Tower from Shibuya Sky
© Ana Costa

Shibuya Sky is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Tokyo. It offers one of the best views of the city, with modern facilities and a convenient location. If you’re like many tourists who want to stay around Shibuya on their trip, this is probably the most accessible observation deck for you.

However, Shibuya Sky is not the only observation deck in Tokyo. Depending on your interests and budget, you might want to consider other options. Or if you’re a fan of observation decks and incredible views, you might even want to try them all.

To help you decide which observation deck is better for you, I gathered the basic information on the table below. These are the four most common observation decks in Tokyo (Shibuya Sky, Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building).

FeatureShibuya SkyTokyo SkytreeTokyo Metropolitan Government BuildingTokyo Tower
Price (Adult)¥2,500Tembo Deck: ¥2,100
Tembo Deck +
Tembo Galleria : ¥3,100
FreeMain Deck: ¥1,200
Top Deck Tour : ¥3,000
Height229 metersTembo Deck: 350 meters
Top Deck: 450 meters
202 meters (each tower)333 meters
(Main deck 150m, top deck 250m)
Main Selling PointUnbeatable Shibuya Crossing Views, Open-Air ExperienceHighest vantage point in Tokyo (with Top Deck option)Free entryCentral location, Retro charm
Comparison of different observation decks in Tokyo (updated May 2024)

As you can see, each one has its own main point, so choosing one over another really depends on what you’re looking for.

  • Low Budget: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
  • Highest Tower: Tokyo Skytree
  • Open-Air Experience: Shibuya Sky
  • Retro Charm: Tokyo Tower

Final Thoughts

Honestly, I selected Shibuya Sky because of the view in open-air and also because my itinerary was so full that the only free time I had was on my last day in Shibuya. I just squeezed Shibuya Sky as my last experience before my early morning flight back home.

I don’t regret my choice, though. We had a wonderful time on my last night in Tokyo, enjoying an incredible view of the city. Let me summarize why Shibuya Sky is a must-visit.

  • Panoramic Views: Shibuya Sky offers a 360-degree view of Tokyo, allowing visitors to see iconic landmarks like Tokyo Tower, Skytree, and even Mount Fuji on clear days.
  • Convenient Location: Located in Shibuya Scramble Square, right next to Shibuya Station, Shibuya Sky is easily accessible by various train lines.
  • Day and Night Experience: Whether you visit during the day to see the cityscape or at night to witness Tokyo’s lights, Shibuya Sky offers a memorable experience at any time.
  • Relaxation Spots: The observation deck includes areas where visitors can sit and relax while taking in the views.
  • Unique Architecture: The design of Shibuya Sky is modern and innovative, with an open-air sky deck that lets you feel the breeze and enjoy unobstructed views.
  • Nearby Attractions: Shibuya Sky is surrounded by other popular attractions like Shibuya Crossing, the Hachiko Statue, and Shibuya 109. This makes it easy to combine a visit to Shibuya Sky with other activities in the area.

Make sure to add Shibuya Sky to your Tokyo itinerary if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, but don’t forget that there are other alternatives. Enjoy the Tokyo views!

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