“Once you have tasted the taste of the sky, you will forever look up” ~ Leonardo da Vinci.
Stepping onto an ascending escalator 230 metres above Tokyo, my jaw voluntarily dropped when I noticed the setting sun created the most vibrant hues of orange, pink and purple, splashing them across the miniature buildings below. My goodness, Shibuya Sky, you’re already taking my breath away!
Towering above the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing and boasting unbeatable views over Japan’s capital, it’s an understatement to say Shibuya Sky is a must visit when planning your Tokyo itinerary.
Located on the rooftop of the shiny new Shibuya Scramble Square tower building right beside Shibuya Station, Shibuya Sky is Japan’s highest rooftop observatory deck and offers a sweeping 360-degree panoramic view over Tokyo as far as the eye can see.
From this staggering height above Shibuya, it’s easy to see your favourite landmarks of Japan such as the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo SkyTree and even Mount Fuji on a clear day!
While this relatively new Tokyo attraction opened in November 2019, it didn’t leave much time for tourists to visit before Japan’s borders closed in March 2020. Fortunately, I’ve visited three times now and learnt from some mistakes. So I’m about to share my best tips so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit Shibuya Sky tower, where to buy discounted tickets and what to expect on your visit, read on for more!
This post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
TIP: This article forms part of my comprehensive guide to unreal and exciting things to do in Shibuya during the day and night, so take a look for more inspiration in the area once you’re done here!
Where to buy Shibuya Sky Tickets
You can save a few hundred yen by buying online instead of purchasing at the venue. School students and those with special needs receive a hefty discount on the admission price.
Buy Shibuya Sky tickets online
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What to expect when visiting the Shibuya Sky observatory
14th Floor: Sky Gate
Sky Gate is the gateway to the Shibuya Sky observation deck. There is a separate queue for people with pre-purchased tickets. You can either print them on paper or show the QR code on your phone to staff.
After showing your tickets on the 14th floor, you’ll be ushered by staff to line up and take a lift known as the Transition Pod, in small groups.
This area is called the Sensing Hall. Don’t forget to look up at the mesmerising animations on the ceiling whilst you’re waiting and in the lift itself!
This lift goes up to the 45th floor, before visitors take a narrow escalator to the 46th floor.
46th Floor: Shibuya Sky Observatory
You cannot bring anything up to the observation deck except your wallet and phone/camera. Anything else needs to be placed in a locker at the Shibuya Sky deck.
The lockers are quite big, I was able to fit my handbag and two decent-sized shopping bags inside. These can be locked for 100 yen, and you receive your coin back when you leave.
If you’re carrying a large umbrella like I was, you can leave it in one of the umbrella lockers beside the regular ones. They can be locked with a combination.
TIP: Seasonally in the warmer months there is a pop-up rooftop bar, known as The Roof. This Shibuya Sky bar features comfy couches that can be reserved in 50-minute time slots starting from 4,900 yen each. The couch packages include admission into the Shibuya Sky complex and need to be reserved in advance. For standing room at the bar, take your wallet with you if you’d like to buy a drink and watch the world go by. I wanted to do this but made the rookie mistake of leaving my purse in the locker, oops.
Sky Stage Rooftop
Once you’ve secured your bags, head straight outside up the escalator to the Sky Stage, the outdoor viewing platform complete with helipad. To me, this is the best place to take your Shibuya Sky photos!
There is a professional photographer in an “Instagrammable” spot on the Sky Edge to take souvenir photos. People patiently line up for this spot so each person has a photo without other people in it. Cost:The fee is 1800 yen for the photo and a digital copy.
TIP: Hang out and gaze up at the sky on a Cloud Hammock (if you’re able to find an empty one!) and spot the Geo Compass.
I noticed in early spring, the tall glass walls help shield from icy winds for the most part. During summer, I didn’t bring a cardigan and regretted it after the sun went down because the temperature up there is a few degrees cooler than at ground level.
But my goodness, the views during “golden hour” simply took my breath away! It was beyond magical to watch the sun descend over Tokyo from here, words just can’t describe it so I’ll let the images below speak for themselves.
Coming back down to the 46th floor from the rooftop, the Sky Gallery is ideal if your visit happens to coincide with a rainy day. You’ll still be able to see right across Tokyo from the comfort of indoors.
The Sky Gallery features an array of light projections onto the gallery walls that are quite interesting, as their reflections dance in the windows.
Also on this floor is the Paradise Lounge. Take a seat and enjoy snacks, drinks or cocktails whilst enjoying some of the best views in Tokyo. I was surprised the snack options weren’t Japanese cuisine as they included hot chips, spicy fried chicken, hotdogs, churros and ice cream.
I always manage to pick up some interesting souvenirs in the Shibuya Sky gift shop. I definitely recommend stopping by to take a look before you leave.
Think Hachiko-themed gifts, all kinds of omiyage (edible souvenirs to bring home to colleagues or loved ones), stationery, printed reusable cloth bags, clothing, snow globes, the works.
Tips for visiting Shibuya Sky for the perfect experience
After three visits at different times of the year with different weather, here are my best tips to help you make the most of your visit to Shibuya Sky.
Check the Shibuya weather forecast
Check the weather forecast for Shibuya each day before your trip and try to be flexible. I only had one shot at this clear day during my rainy season trip so made sure I shuffled my plans around this time.
It’s not the end of the world if you can’t, the views will still blow you away, but it’s something to keep in mind for the best experience.
Buy advance tickets
There is a quota on how many people can enter during a certain time slot. As mentioned earlier, buy your tickets online in advance. This will also save you time queuing up to get in. Pre-order discounted Shibuya Sky Tokyo tickets here.
TIP: If you’d like a sunset timeslot (from around 15:00 onwards), you’ll need to book your tickets 4 weeks in advance. This is the most popular time to visit (for obvious reasons!) and these times book out very quickly. But remember, there is no time limit so once you’re in you can stay as long as you like. But what if it rains?! This leads me to…
Is Shibuya Sky closed in the rain?
Yes, the Shibuya Sky Stage Rooftop observatory closes in the rain, as I found out on my third visit. This means the iconic escalator and outdoor area are completely closed off, and only the indoor Sky Gallery can be accessed. There is good news in the event of rain, though!
On arrival to the ticket counters, staff will inform you that the outdoor area is closed and ask if you’d prefer to reschedule for another day. I went up anyway to see what it was like, but that could be an option for you to come back.
The benefit of visiting when it is raining is that most people seem to reschedule, so the Sky Gallery is not crowded. It’s the silver lining to rainy weather, I guess!
Know the sunset time
During my first visit in early spring, the days were shorter and I arrived after dusk. While this visit was still absolutely worthwhile, I highly recommend checking the time of the sunset during your trip and head there at least 1.5 hours earlier. Then you’ll see the best of both worlds – day and night!
Be mindful when taking photos and videos
Take plenty of photos and remember to not capture faces that can be identified where possible. If you’re planning to post photos online, this means blurring out faces or cropping out people who didn’t consent to being in your photo. This is the law in Japan.
Shibuya Sky time limit
Thankfully, there is currently no time limit for how long you spend at Shibuya Sky once you’re in. If it’s a busy time like sunset however, you may need to wait a little while before you can head up. This is why I recommend arriving at least 1.5 hours before sunset if you’re able. The longer before, the better!
How to get to Shibuya Sky
Wondering how to go to Shibuya Sky? It’s part of the Shibuya Scramble Square building, right next to Shibuya Station and can be reached on the JR Yamanote line (covered by the Japan Rail Pass), or the Hanzomon, Fukutoshin or Ginza Metro lines (covered by the Tokyo Subway Pass). The Inokashira line operated by Keio also stops at Shibuya Station.
From Shibuya Station, follow the signs for East Exit or Shibuya Scramble Square Exit. You don’t need to go to the street level at all for Shibuya Sky access. Walk for around 2 minutes and once there, take the lifts to the 14th floor. I can suggest buying the Tokyo Subway Pass to save a lot of money on Metro trips during your visit!
NOTE: The lifts from Shibuya Scramble Square can take a long time, so remember to allow for this with your timed ticket.
Shibuya Sky Opening hours: 10:00am – 10:30pm daily (the last entry is at 9:20pm).
Concluding where to buy Shibuya Sky tickets and tips to know before visiting
Based on my experiences at Shibuya Sky, now you know where to buy online tickets, best time to visit, how much you can fit in a locker, the different areas and more tips to plan an unforgettable visit to this incredible Tokyo attraction. It’s easily one of my favourite experiences in Japan’s capital!
I hope you found these tips helpful, are able to enjoy a Shibuya Sky sunset and have the best possible experience when you’re there!
Is visiting Shibuya Sky on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask if you have any other questions I haven’t addressed.
While you’re here, why not take a look at my itineraries for 2 weeks or 3 weeks in Japan to help plan your trip, do’s and don’ts of Japanese etiquette, learn some basic Japanese phrases for tourists with my free cheat sheet, find out what to pack for Japan, and even the best Japanese souvenirs to bring home – I have every step of your Japan planning journey covered from my multiple visits!
Until next time,
This guide to Shibuya Sky contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!