There are countless reasons why tourists are attracted to Japan. You might favor walking among the swathes of colorful cherry blossom trees during springtime, or marvel at Kyoto’s traditional temples, shrines, and palaces. There’s no doubt that visitors are also drawn to Japan’s many awe-inspiring skyscrapers and towers.
The best way to comprehend the size and grandeur of a city is from above. No matter where you go or where you plan to explore, this list of Japan’s 12 tallest structures will no doubt inspire you in your travels.
1. Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー)
The honor of being the tallest structure in Japan goes to the television and radio tower known as Tokyo Skytree. It stands a staggering 2,080 feet (634 meters) tall, which was reached when construction finished in 2012.
As a broadcast tower that services Tokyo’s Kanto region, Tokyo Skytree had to be built taller than the city’s massive skyscrapers to ensure that the signals could reach above and beyond them.
When you visit, there are two ‘skypod’ observation decks to choose from. But keep in mind that both will be challenging if you have a fear of heights.
At 1,150 feet (350 meters) above ground, the lower skypod provides a spectacular view of the city. The upper skypod is even better, standing a whopping 1,480 feet (450 meters) above ground.
If you’re brave enough, there you can enjoy the thrill of walking on a glass platform where you can observe Tokyo directly below.
2. Tokyo Tower (東京タワー)
Tokyo Tower was Japan’s tallest structure for many years, from its completion in 1958 until it was surpassed by Tokyo Skytree in 2012. Standing 1,092 feet (332.9 meters) tall, it is a communications and observation tower in Tokyo’s Shiba-ken district of Minato.
Tokyo Tower has double observation decks that will give you spectacular views of the city. The lower Main Deck is 490 feet (150 meters) above ground and the upper Top Deck is 819 feet (249.6 meters) above ground.
If Tokyo has just one landmark, Tokyo Tower is it. With vibrant orange and white paintwork, it’s hard to miss wherever you find yourself in the city.
3. Abeno Harukas (あべのハルカス)
Japan’s tallest building is Osaka’s Abeno Harukas skyscraper. Completed in 2014, it is part of the Abenobashi Terminal Building in Abeno-ku. It reaches a staggering 984 feet (300 meters) tall and boasts 60 floors above ground and five below.
With tenants like Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel, Kintetsu Department Store, and Abeno Harukas Art Market, there’s plenty to keep you busy during your visit.
After taking in the panoramic views from the 60th floor, why not stay for a while and enjoy a mouth-watering meal at one of the many restaurants or relax at the rooftop garden?
4. Yokohama Landmark Tower (横浜ランドマークタワー)
At 970 feet (296 meters) tall, Japan’s second-tallest building towers above its neighbors in Minatomirai in Nishi Ward, Yokohama. It was Japan’s tallest building from its completion in 1993 until it was surpassed by Abeno Harukas in 2014.
With a super-fast elevator, you can travel from the ground to the 69th floor in an astonishing 40 seconds flat! That’s a rate of 41 feet/second (12.4 meters/second), which is the equivalent to 28.0 mph (45 km/h).
On a cloudless day, you can even see Mount Fuji from the observatory on the 69th floor.
Osaka Prefecture Government Sakishima (大阪府咲洲庁舎) AND Rinku Gate Tower Building (りんくうゲートタワービル)
Both buildings reach 840 feet (256 meters) high, making them equal as the third tallest buildings in Japan and the fifth tallest structures overall.
Widely known as the Sakishima Cosmo Tower throughout Japan, the Osaka Prefecture Government Sakishima Building was completed in 1995 in Nankōkita, Suminoe Ward.
When planning your visit, try to catch the spectacular sunset which you can watch from the observatory on the 55th floor.
Osaka’s Rinku Gate Tower was completed in 1996, just one year later. It has three distinct towers: the lower portion houses an international conference hall; the middle section has offices, and the tallest section is the Gate Tower Hotel.
A trip to the observation level on the 26th floor offers views of the Sky Gate Bridge, Rinku Town’s famous Ferris wheel, and the ocean.
If you want a higher view, the Observation Deck on the 54th floor provides a 360-degree view of Rinku Carnival, Kansai Kokusai Bridge, and the airport.
7. Toranomon Hills (虎ノ門ヒルズ)
Toranomon Hills stands 838 feet (255.5 meters) high and it is Tokyo’s tallest skyscraper.
It was completed in 2014 and is a mixed commercial space that boasts offices, conference rooms, shops, and the Andaz Hyatt Tokyo Toranomon Hills boutique hotel.
The rooftop bar is a great place to marvel at the night-time view over Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay. You can even relax and enjoy the bar’s award-winning Kiyohime Amazake cocktail.
8. Tokyo Midtown Tower (ミッドタウンタワー)
This skyscraper stands 814 feet (248 meters) tall and it is home to office spaces, conference rooms, and a medical facility. It is also a hub of creativity, hosting the Tokyo Midtown Design Hub on its fifth floor.
If you’re a lover of art, or simply happy to let your creative juices flow, why not treat yourself to a visit and engage with the wonderful and interactive exhibitions that are regularly on offer?
9. Midland Square Nagoya (ミッドランド スクエア)
At 810 feet (247 meters) tall, Midland Square is Nagoya’s tallest and most popular skyscraper.
It is in the Meieki district of Nakamura-ku and houses large corporations such as Toyota Motor Corporation, Towa Real Estate, and Mainichi Shimbun. Thanks to these tenants, it is widely known as the Toyota-Mainichi Building.
With an open-air observation deck on its top three floors, it offers a visceral way to experience skyscraper views of Nagoya.
10. JR Central Towers in Nagoya
This building complex is the headquarters of the Central Japan Railway Company and it was completed in 2000.
It is not far from Nagoya’s Midland Square, which can also be found in the Meieki district of Nakamura-ku. At 804 feet (245 meters) tall, it is the city’s second-tallest building.
It is hard to miss from the streets of Nagoya, with a large, circular office tower and slightly smaller hotel tower. The Skywalk is a must for visitors, offering unparalleled panoramic views of the city.
11. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No. 1 (東京都庁舎)
As its name suggests, this building is home to Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government. Today it is the city’s fifth-tallest building, but until 2007 it held the title of Tokyo’s tallest building before it was overtaken Midtown Tower.
The building boasts unusual architecture. Standing at 798 feet (243 meters) high, with two twin towers rising from a single base on the 33rd floor.
Both towers have an observation deck on the 43rd floor and since you don’t have to pay to use them, they are an awesome way to view Tokyo from 663 feet (202 meters) high above the ground.
12. NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building (NTTドコモ代々木ビル)
Standing 790 feet (240 meters) tall, this skyscraper is the fourth tallest building in Tokyo. Located in the Sendagaya district in Shibuya, it is named after its owners, the NTT Docomo Group, a Japanese mobile phone operator.
As a private building, you cannot freely enter but from the ground, you can admire the massive 50-feet (15-meter)-diameter clock that was installed in 2002 to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary.