Japan, Reviews, Tokyo

Shibuya Sky: Is it worth visiting?

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Shibuya Sky is a new open-air observatory in Shibuya. It is located on the 47th floor of Shibuya Scramble Square building, about 230m above ground. Although it is not the tallest, it is undoubtedly the most popular observatory in Tokyo at the moment.

Ever since it opened at the beginning of 2020, the observatory has been extremely popular with both locals and tourists. And I can see why, having finally visited Shibuya Sky myself.

Sunset from Shibuya Sky
Sunset from Shibuya Sky

From the observatory, you’ll be able to see many well-loved major landmarks in Tokyo – the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo SkyTree, Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku, Japan National Stadium, and even Mount Fuji if you’re lucky!

Yoyogi Park from Shibuya Sky
Yoyogi Park from Shibuya Sky

According to my local friends, the observatory is a local favorite due to its unique location of being right at the heart of Shibuya. For Tokyo locals, it is fun to be able to see and point own their neighborhoods, or even the apartment buildings and houses they live in.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing from the 46th Floor
Shibuya Scramble Crossing, as seen from the 46th Floor

Tips for Visiting Shibuya Sky

Because of its popularity, ideal timeslots are hard to come by and you have to book ahead. Here are some of my personal tips to make your much-anticipated visit to Shibuya Sky even more enjoyable!

1. Tips about booking the tickets to Shibuya Sky

  • Book Shibuya Sky tickets in advance – This observatory is extremely popular with both locals and tourists. Walking in is often not an option. This still holds as of December 2023, the ticket for the day was already sold out when I arrived for my visiting slot at 3:20 pm. Many disappointed tourists were turned away at the entrance.
Signs saying the tickets have sold out for the day
Signs saying the tickets have sold out for the day
  • Book through Klook for a cheaper ticket – The entrance to Shibuya Sky is 2,500 yen per adult, but if you buy through Klook it is only 2,200 yen per adult. Not too significant of a saving per se, but could make a difference when buying for the entire family.
  • For the more popular timeslots, book three weeks in advance – This is when tickets get released. If you’re after the popular sunset timeslots, you WILL want to book as soon as they are released.
Tokyo Tower from Shibuya Sky
Tokyo Tower from Shibuya Sky, using iPhone’s 5x zoom lens, taken from the 46th floor

2. Tips about your Shibuya Sky ticket

  • Entry to Shibuya Sky is time-based – This means that when you’re buying the tickets, you’re buying a 20-minute timeslot to enter the observatory.
  • There is no time limit to your visit – Although the tickets are time-based, there is no time limit on how long you can stay at the observatory.
  • You can reschedule your visit to Shibuya Sky – If something comes up, you can reschedule your visit based on availability. But you cannot refund your tickets. I will elaborate more on this below.

3. Tips about your experience on Shibuya Sky

  • Don’t write off the indoor observatory (Sky Gallery) on the 46th floor – While most people go straight to the Sky Stage on the rooftop on the 47th floor, the indoor observatory was my favorite part. As we went during winter, it quickly got cold on the rooftop after sunset and we retreated to the indoor observatory.
Taken from the 46th floor of Shibuya Sky
Taken from the 46th floor of Shibuya Sky, without having to queue!
  • Be prepared to queue for the popular photo spots – If you’re into photography, the most popular photo spots are the corners of the rooftop which allows you to take photos with unobstructed view. There are snaking queues on all 4 corners of the rooftop.
  • You’ll have to put all your belongings in a 100 yen locker – You can’t bring anything loose to the rooftop, and that includes pretty much everything (even hats!) except cameras. So don’t go on a shopping spree before coming to Shibuya Sky.
List of forbidden items to bring to the rooftop of Shibuya Sky
List of forbidden items to bring to the rooftop of Shibuya Sky
  • Strollers and wheelchairs are fine – Shibuya Sky is quite accessible with elevators everywhere. You’ll even get priority access. But if you’re taking a stroller, you’ll need to switch to their own stroller which you can do on the 46th floor.
  • There are good restaurants on the 11th and 12th floor of Shibuya Scramble Building – They have some of the best offerings in one spot – you can expect places like Tsurutontan and Din Tai Fung. However, the restaurants are going to be very popular and you’ll likely need to queue if you’re coming during lunch or dinner time.

When is the Best Timeslot to Visit Shibuya Sky?

As I’ve said before, entry to Shibuya Sky is time-based. However, there is no time limit on how long you can stay.

My advice for the best photos is to get the timeslot for 1 to 2 hours before sunset, depending on how many photos you want to take. I visited during winter when sunset was around 4:45 pm. The 3:20 pm entry was perfect for us. We spent a little over an hour on the rooftop, before going to the 46th floor for the indoor observatory once the sun had set.

Book tickets in advance: Because this time slot is really popular, you’ll want to buy your tickets as soon as they get released, which is about three weeks in advance.

However, it is worth noting that it gets very crowded on the rooftop because everyone else had the same idea.

The crowd at Shibuya Sky during Sunset
The crowd at Shibuya Sky during sunset

If you have time to burn but can’t get tickets for the ideal timeslot, you could go even earlier before sunset, and spend some time on the 46th floor at the indoor observatory. There is a small bar and restaurant on the 46th floor and a nice gift shop. Then, you can come back up to the 47th floor 30 minutes before sunset to take photos.

The crowd going up the rooftop at Shibuya Sky
The crowd going up the rooftop at Shibuya Sky

But if you don’t want to deal with crowds, then the best time to go would be in the morning before noon. Nighttime seemed just as popular as we saw a line to get up the lift when we were coming back down.

How to get to Shibuya Sky by Train

Shibuya Sky is located at the top of the Shibuya Scramble Square Building, and you need to get to the 14th floor to enter the observatory.

Shibuya is one of the major stations in Tokyo, and it could get confusing trying to find your way. But to make things simpler, getting to Shibuya Sky involves four steps:

  1. Take the train to Shibuya Station – Being a major station, plenty of train lines can take you to Shibuya station. Just pick the most convenient one for you!
  2. Find the exit closest to the Shibuya Scramble Square building. This depends on how you get to Shibuya station:
    • If you’re taking the Tokyo subway, the closest exit is the B2 exit, where you can go directly to the 14th floor from the basement.
    • If you’re taking the JR Yamanote line and alighting at the JR Shibuya Station, find the south exit. The entrance to Shibuya Sky is just a 1-minute walk away.
  3. Go to Sky Gate – Take the lift to the 14th floor of Shibuya Scramble Square.
  4. Show your ticket and take the elevator to the observatory – From the 14th floor, you can then show your tickets to access the lift to the 46th floor, where you can take the escalator or lift to the rooftop on the 47th.

Can you reschedule your visit to Shibuya Sky?

Yes, you can.

During our visit, one of my friends could not make it. At the 14th-floor lobby, we asked the staff if we could reschedule for that one ticket, and they did let us.

However, please note that rescheduling is still subject to availability. Thankfully, my friend is local so we rescheduled the ticket to one month later for a favorable timeslot. Try your best to not reschedule since you might not be getting the ideal timeslot you want. You can only reschedule once per ticket and it can only be done in person at the ticket booth. You cannot call to reschedule.

Take note that although rescheduling is possible, the tickets are still not refundable. Meaning, you will not be able to get any money back for your ticket.

How much time should I set aside for Shibuya Sky?

We spent a little over 2 hours at Shibuya Sky. We entered at around 3:30 PM and left at 5:40 PM. This includes the time we took to reschedule our tickets and some time lounging and snacking at Paradise Lounge on the 46th floor.

If you didn’t have to do this, I think 1.5 hours is enough. But if you are big on photos and prepared to queue, you might want to set aside 2 to 2.5 hours as you’ll need to queue for the popular spots.

My experience visiting Shibuya Sky

We visited at the end of December and booked the 3:00 PM slot which entitled us a 20-minute window to enter Shibuya Sky from 3:00 PM to 3:20 PM. There are three components of visiting Shibuya Sky:

1. Sky Gate Entrance on the 14th Floor

We arrived quite late and only managed to get to the elevator to the 14th floor one minute before the end of our timeslot. Thankfully, they still let us in!

Once on the 14th floor, you can scan the QR on your ticket to access the elevator to the 46th floor. There might be some queue to enter the elevator since there are only two of them, but there was no queue for us.

While you are on the elevator, don’t forget to look up for a neat visualization of the elevator going up!

Elevator going up the Shibuya Sky
Animation inside the elevator

There is also a ticketing booth on the 14th floor, but on the day we arrived, the tickets have all been sold out for the day. We did make use of the ticketing booth to reschedule one of our tickets since my friend could not make it.

2. Sky Gallery on the 46th Floor

Once you get off the elevator on the 46th, you’ll be directed to the locker. You’ll need a 100 yen coin to rent the locker. Almost everything is forbidden to be brought to the open-air rooftop, except for a camera and things that can fit into your pocket like your phone. Take your wallet too in case you want to shop at the souvenir shop!

After putting all your stuff into the lockers, you’ll be greeted with the first open-air experience. There might be people queueing at the glass corner, but don’t be fooled, this is not yet the Sky Stage!

One of the popular spots on the 46th floor of Shibuya Sky
One of the popular spots on the 46th floor of Shibuya Sky

If you’re not yet ready to go outside, you can take a look at the Sky Gallery first. This is the indoor portion of the observatory, and there are plenty of interactive art installations you can enjoy here.

There is also a small bar called The Paradise Lounge, where you can get light bites or drinks. I was quite pleasantly surprised – the prices are reasonable. The food menu is limited though, and some items might have run out.

Menu at Paradise Lounge
Menu at Paradise Lounge
Lounge chairs on the 46th floor at Sky Gallery
Lounge chairs on the 46th floor at Sky Gallery

We grabbed one of the lounge chairs and ordered the hot dog and “Sky” Churros. Both were very tasty albeit a little small snack-ish portion.

What we ordered from Paradise Lounge
What we ordered from Paradise Lounge

The Shibuya Sky Souvenir Shop is also located on the 46th floor. Again, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the gift shop. I thought the items they stocked were interesting and reasonably priced.

Souvenir shop at Shibuya Sky
Souvenir shop at Shibuya Sky

If you’ve brought a stroller for your little ones, you’ll be required to deposit your stroller on the 46th floor (next to the priority lift). You can use one of the strollers they provide to access the rooftop.

3. Sky Stage on the 47th Floor (Rooftop)

Undeniably the main attraction for most people, you can take the famous transparent escalator up to the rooftop from the 46th floor.

Escalator at Shibuya Sky
Escalator at Shibuya Sky

I have to admit, Shibuya Sky was probably the best observatory I’ve been to. Not only is it completely open-air, but there are also no ledges that obstruct your view directly below.

No wonder they don’t allow you to bring any sort of loose items here! Any items dropped from the rooftop will fall straight to the bottom of the building and might injure people. Although, this is very hard to do with the high glass barriers that surrounds the edges of Shibuya Sky.

Here are some notable photo spots at the Shibuya Sky Stage:

1. Sky Edge

The most famous spot to photograph at the rooftop. This corner allows for a special background since the glass barrier only comes up to about shoulder level and with minimal trims. If angled correctly, it will seem like you’re standing truly unobstructed without any glass barrier.

Be expected to queue here! When I was there, the area near the corner was fully roped off, and you could only enter from one spot and then queue for the photo. I did not bother doing it, but I estimate around a 30-45-minute queue.

2. The corners of Sky Stage

Another popular spot is the corners of the observatory. Similar to Sky Edge, it also offers a full background, but the glass barrier is a lot higher with mesh netting at the top. Expect to queue at these corners as well.

A family photo at Shibuya Sky
A family photo at Shibuya Sky

3. The Roof Shibuya Sky Mirrored Sign

This is an easy one, there are no queues but I thought it still makes a pretty cool photo.

Mirrored Sign at Shibuya Sky
Mirrored Sign at Shibuya Sky

4. The famous transparent escalators

This spot is probably the most popular spot on Instagram. You could go up or down the escalator while having someone take a photo of you from the other side.

Escalator at Shibuya Sky
Escalator at Shibuya Sky
Escalator at Shibuya Sky
Escalator at Shibuya Sky

5. The area near the Sky Edge (at the top of the escalators that go back down to the 46th floor)

This is a relatively unknown photo spot and a cool one at that. If you zoom in and crop your photo correctly, it will seem like people are chilling out at the edge of the observatory.

Shibuya Sky

Of course, similar to the Sky Edge, this is just an illusion – it’s simply a sort of balcony that doesn’t directly sit on the edge of the observatory. In reality, there is still plenty of distance between this glass barrier and the balcony.

That said, while it seems like there is a lot of queueing to be done at Shibuya Sky, you can still get decent photos without having to queue if you’re patient!

There was no queue for this photo
There was no queue for this photo

Conclusion: Is Shibuya Sky Worth Visiting?

So after all the planning and booking ahead, was Shibuya Sky worth it? Yes, I’d say it’s worth visiting.

If you want to visit one observatory during your time in Tokyo, Shibuya Sky has got to be the one. You’ll get way better photos and there are more things to do here.

At 2,500 yen per person, it is more pricey than other observatories in Tokyo. But I think it’s for a good reason. And if you buy the tickets ahead through Klook it is only 2,200 yen per adult which helps bring it closer to the 1,800-yen range that other observatories in Tokyo are priced at.

Anyway, that’s all I know about visiting Shibuya Sky! Do let me know if this is helpful and how your visit went.

See you in Tokyo! 🗼

Note: I paid for my visit to Shibuya Sky out of my pocket. All thoughts and opinions are honest and remain my own.

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Filed under: Japan, Reviews, Tokyo

Written by Melissa

Hi there! 👋🏻 I'm the "Girl" in Girl Eat World. I love eating, traveling and sharing my travel experiences in this blog. During the day, I work as a designer in tech. More about me →

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