4 Secret Rooftops in Tokyo for Photography
New or unique perspectives for photographers is very valuable and hard to come across. Rooftops are one of the greatest ways to find new ways to look at the same subject. Not only do you see the street and in turn the world from a birds eye view, here, away from the crowd, you are more likely to spot irregularity in patterns of human behaviors. These irregularities result in interesting pictures. Not to mention, taking pictures on rooftops is exhilarating and provides you with a more wholly image of the city you want to capture. They enhance your view of the city and show you aspects of you and the city you never knew.
Have you ever seen pictures on Instagram that show the streets of Tokyo from a bird’s eye view? Most of the the pictures aren’t taken from observatories located in skyscrapers where anyone can go. If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’d know that you can’t just go up any building’s rooftop to take a picture. Most of the buildings have the path barricaded or closed to public. So finding these buildings where the rooftop is open to anyone is like looking for a needle in the haystack.
But once you’ve found a rooftop that is safe to be on, and with a great view, it is like finding a gem in the labyrinth that is Tokyo. Here are some rooftops that you can access with ease and view Tokyo from another unique perspective.
Neon lit with trains
This is a spot in one of the busier areas of Tokyo. But depending on the time and day of the week you visit here, the crowds can be controlled. If you rather have less people in your picture visit this place during a weekday before 8pm. The location is on a junction between 2 roads, there’s a stairwell on the exterior of a building that leads up. Although you cannot access the rooftop, you can go pretty high up. And on each floor or on each landing of the stairs you can take a picture. Above 2 picture were taken on the 5th floor, you can see that the electrical wiring are in the shot. Below pictures were taken on the 8th floor where the wires are not visible.
It is specially good place to take neon lit futuristic pictures from Tokyo in a bird’s eye view. Editing the colors like a futuristic city like below gives it a unique oomph like no other place. There is space for a tripod but we recommend a small tripod or a GorillaPod for this location.
View from a restaurant
As the title suggests, this location is from a balcony of a restaurant. The restaurant’s balcony is especially recommended during the summers where the cool breeze hits your face, but the balcony is also open during the winters. Request to be seated on the balcony at the reception. The food is not bad but the ambience is super cozy and friendly. Although the restaurant itself is located adjacent to the main road, the entrance to the restaurant is very hard to find. It is in the small alleys that connect to the main road. Take the elevator to the rooftop to access the restaurant.
The view to the main road is also picturesque but the real treasure of this location is the view to the side. The view to the side opens up to a low-rise, retro looking Tokyo, to a little alley packed with Izakayas. Below is the picture of the alley taken from this rooftop location. You should have a mid-range or telephoto lens with you. Take a GorillaPod to hold the camera onto a railing on the rooftop.
The backside of Tokyo
Here you can not only capture one of the crossings but also the Tokyo Tower. The long straight road gives you a long narrow perspective creating an interesting picture like above. Although it is nice during the daytime (see picture below), it is especially recommended to come here during the night as the streets lit up with multiple colors of light.
The entrance to the location is hard to find because the stairs are positioned in a small alleyway. Use the exterior stairs on the building to reach the rooftop. The entrance to the exterior stairs is located in the adjacent small alleyway. Take both a wide angle and a telephoto zoom lens to make the most out of this location.
We call this the Narrow Stairs because the stairs that you will have to climb for this view is small, the building is narrow and might cause you nausea climbing to the top. Currently the building next to this particular building is demolished making the view more open. Take a GorillaPod with you for this location, thank us later.
Best time to go here would be during sunset like below picture or during the night. The entrance to the stairs is accessed from the outside, you will have to climb the flights to stairs without using an elevator.