“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 been visited twice and learnt from some mistakes. 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, where to buy discounted tickets and what to expect on your visit, read on for more!
This guide to visiting Shibuya Sky will cover:
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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
Like many popular attractions in Japan, when planning your trip it’s a good idea to buy Shibuya Sky tickets in advance if you’re hoping to be an invisible tourist.
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
Thinking of seeing multiple attractions across Tokyo?
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What to expect when visiting the Shibuya Sky observatory
14th Floor: Sky Gate
Sky Gate is the gateway to the observatory. 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 observation 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: There is a rooftop bar, known as The Roof, operating until January 2023. Comfy couches can be reserved in 50-minute time slots for 4,000 JPY. Take your wallet with you if you’d like to buy a drink, take a seat 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.
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. There is a fee to do this.
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 two visits at different times of the year, 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 tickets here.
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 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.
How to get to Shibuya Sky
Shibuya Sky, part of the Shibuya Scramble Square building, is 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. Walk for around 2 minutes and once there, take the lifts to the 14th floor of Shibuya Sky. 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.
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 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!
Feeling social? Come and join me on Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok and Instagram for more Japan travel inspiration!
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!
Thank you so much for all your helpful information! My husband and I are struggling to decide between all of the tower lookouts in Tokyo (eg Shibuya sky vs skytree vs Tokyo tower). Do you have any pointers or guidance regarding how to choose or which may be best?
Thanks so much! Lana
Thanks for your kind words!
The way I like to put this is: We can’t see landmarks like the SkyTree or Tokyo Tower when we are on them 🙂
I guess it depends what you would prefer to be in your photos, while I have done both the SkyTree and Shibuya Sky, I personally prefer Shibuya Sky as we can see all the other landmarks from there.
It’s also the tallest rooftop observatory in Japan!
But it depends, if you’re short on time and staying in Asakusa near the SkyTree, or in Minato near Tokyo Tower, then they may work out better for you.
I hope that helps your decision making and thanks for your comment!
Why hat and beanie are not allowed on top? If it’s getting cold — need to wear beanie.
Because there is a chance it could blow off over the edge I guess, if you have a hoodie you could try that instead 😊
Thank You Very Much for all your invaluable information on Shibuya Sky ❤️
I would like to know how much time should I allow for the long waiting time for lifts at Shibuya Scramble? ❤️
Hi Audrey, thanks for reading 😊
Allow at least 10mins to line up for the lifts downstairs in Shibuya Scramble to head up to Shibuya Sky.
These lifts are for the general public to access things on the higher floors, too. I’d forgotten how long they take!
It may even be longer during peak times, like during cherry blossom season/Golden Week/before sunset.
Then after you’ve shown your tickets up at Shibuya Sky to enter, there will be another lift, but that is just for Shibuya Sky ticket holders only.
Basically, just allow plenty of time to get there, the earlier you can arrive before your time slot the better.
I hope you have a fantastic time!
Thank you so much for this info! Question about the wallet-and-phone-only policy: does that mean no cameras? 99% of the reason I want to go up there is to set up my tripod and camera and get some great long-exposure shots after dark. It seems odd to me that they wouldn’t allow camera equipment at a spot where the main attraction is the view, but… is that the case?
You’re absolutely allowed to bring cameras 🙂 but no tripods, selfie sticks, umbrellas or bags on the rooftop.
It’s possible to use tripods on the lower enclosed level, I know PrettyPastelPlease did a timelapse of the sun setting over Mt Fuji from there.
Hope that helps!
Hey Alyse, thank you for sharing this! I have a question about going inside and back outside to the rooftop again. If it gets too cold outside, is it possible to go inside in the warmth of the lounge area to wait for the sunset, then go back up to the rooftop? Or is the traffic one way only?
Thanks for your kind words, Sarah!
Yes, It’s completely fine to go downstairs to the enclosed lounge area, then pop back over to the rooftop upstairs.
This was my experience during both my visits, but maybe that could change if it gets SUPER busy and the staff feel they need to keep people moving.
I hope you have a great time!
Super helpful, thankyou.
Do you know how much it costs for the photo in the main spot at the sky edge? Thanks
Unfortunately I didn’t see the price, sorry!
Alyse thank you so much for the detailed information 💕😍 now I am more confident in visiting and will bring my purse with me hahahaa
I’m so glad to hear that, Inex!
I read the rooftop bar was supposed to close on 9 January 2023, however your purse may still come in handy for snacks and cocktails at the inside bar 🍹
Have an amazing time at the Shibuya Sky observatory!
VERY HELPFUL TIPS….thanks so much!
Yay I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks Jackie, I hope you love it as much as I did!
Hi Alyse, great information about Shibuya Sky. You have a typo on the cost for the roof. It should be around JPY4,000 not 40,000
Thanks so much for your eagle eye, Anna! My apologies, typo all fixed to 4,000 yen 😃