During my first year in Japan, I was somehow devoted to accumulating as many panorama views as I could. Probably carried away by my yearning to understand how this huge metropolis was shaped and in the process of building piece by piece a mental picture of the Tokyoite urban identity.
TOP 1 - Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory
Still ignorant of the district of Ikebukuro, I thought this observatory would give me insights about an area away from central Tokyo. From the station to Sky Circus building, anime shops, Pokemon center, and unexpected Japanese idols show were popping out in an apparent infinite recreation underground. All of this introduced me to how vibrant and young the district was. Similarly, the observatory is known for its light shows, installations or VR experience. Despite not being particularly in search of such fun extras, the deck was notably designed to improve the aesthetic experience.
It was sunset time, and the material and lights gave me the impression of floating in a crystal ball. Observing the panorama, I was fascinated by how much details such a density could show, enhanced by the dusk, revealing the intricacies of an urban ecosystem. I consider the dusk as the instant when the cities have the most to tell, thanks to the overlapping of artificial lights identifying the high spots and the remaining natural light making the overall landscape apprehensible.
TOP 2 - Bunkyo City Hall
I think the singularity that makes this place valuable is the perspective on the amusement park Tokyo Dome (picture on the very top) with its wheel illuminating the neighbourhood when darkness falls. Considering I’m not planning to experience this attraction, it brings a new intrigue to connect with this singular urban piece.
There is a certain captivation in this miscellaneous composition of park, infrastructure, small housing, all painting together an intricate landscape.
BONUS 1: I believe I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from this place to create the illustration for The Tokyoiter - TOKYO GENERIC
TOP 3 - Marunouchi building
In the adjacent district, the atmosphere shifts for a business scenery with the Marunouchi district and its neat office buildings. I stumbled on this spot because, as a respectable tourist, I was planning to visit The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. However closed that day, an office lady told me I could grasp a glympse from the Marunouchi building, which I naturally hurried to. Eventually, the view satisfied me enough to not visit The Gardens at all. And most of all, this spot built a certain routine in my Japanese life. Since the location resonates as the heart of Tokyo (Tokyo station and the The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace are usually placed on the center of Tokyo’s maps). It came up in my imagination as a symbol of Tokyo, punctuating my pre-departures to France, and my moments of gratitude for being in Japan.
BONUS 2 : Very close, one of my favourite place to gaze at Tokyo station district is the deck from Kitte shopping mall, which is maybe one of the best pictures of the capital city in my opinion.
Sky Circus Sunshine 60 Observatory [Entrance fee to check]
Bunkyo City Hall [Free entrance]
Manunouchi Building [Free entrance]
BONUS KITTE Deck [Free entrance]
*Often considered as a city, Tokyo is in fact a prefecture with its metropolis that counts 23 different wards such as Bunkyo-ku (Sunshine city and Bunkyo City Hall), Chiyoda-ku (Marunouchi building).