The Seaside Top observatory which is on the fortieth floor of the World Trade Center near Hamamatsucho station is famous for its spectacular evening and night-time views. And believe me, the views are really good. It’s just a pity that we can’t enjoy the full 360° view like back in the old days …
“What!!! No 360°view? But that is what I read on the internet!!!!”, I hear you say. Yes, it was true, but no longer. Now, a skyscraper is being built right next to it, which obviously blocks the view in one direction. The building is near completion and most of the areas to the west are gone – while you can see Tokyo Tower, from one corner, Zojoji for example is almost gone. It is a real blow, but … there is good news! From what I understand this new skyscraper will be the World Trade Center’s replacement! That means, while we lose one observatory, we will gain a new one. Anyway, to be honest, the World Trade Center in Hamamatsucho is in desperate need of replacement as it was completed in 1970 and the lower levels are really showing their age.
Still, just the view of Tokyo Tower, especially at sunset and in the evening, it just amazing - very, very beautiful. One thing needs to be mentioned about this … tripods are allowed on the observation deck, so at sunset, the west side is literally covered in them. It can be very crowded, but usually staff are on hand to keep a space open for everyone else. Sunset and early evening is “tripod time” on the west side of the observatory, especially on weekends.
Seaside Top is not anywhere close to being the highest observatory in the city, being only 152 meters high, but the view is great. It is surrounded by skyscrapers, especially to the north-west where you’ll find Toranomon Hills. To the north-east you can just see Tokyo Skytree and Hama-Rikyu Gardens while the east and the south-east holds Rainbow Bridge, Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Gardens, Odaiba and Tokyo Bay.
If you are after some trains to photograph, you won’t be disappointed. On the east side you’ll find Hamamatsucho station which is a stop for the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku line, plus it also has shinkansens! Just look down and you’ll see them running past. The only other observatory in Tokyo that has them running under it, that I know of, is Hokutopia.
Overall, I would give Seaside Top pretty high marks, even with most of the west side’s view gone. The quality of what you can see is very good, especially for photographers. And if you are not into photography you can also enjoy the plentiful sofas and chairs (but not many on the west side) to chat upon or from where to enjoy at the view. And lastly as it is relatively cheap, good for those on a budget for which you can get to enjoy a real top-notch nighttime view. You can see the observatory’s website here.
How to get to Seaside Top
Hamamatsucho is the closest station which the Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku lines both stop at. Once you leave the station just enter the Word Trade Center and make your way to the Seaside Top foyer which is on the first floor.
Here is a Google map to show you:
Seaside Top is open from 10 am to 8:30 pm (with last entry at 8 pm).
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:
Aoyama Cemetery – a big cemetery that is worthy of a visit
Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum – another of Tokyo’s many museums
Kyu-Iwasaki Gardens – see how the rich and famous of old lived in Tokyo
Sky Lounge – definitely one of the smaller observatories and another free one
Zojoji – one of Tokyo older temples, and definitely one of the most popular