This free observatory offers incredible 360-degree views of the Tokyo skyline, including Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Mt. Fuji and much more. And the best feature - there is a special floor just for photographers! So, bring your tripod and enjoy taking long exposures!
Photographing From Tower Hall Funabori
Tower Hall Funabori is located in Funabori, Edogawa-ku. It is easily accessible on the Toie Shinjuku Line (subway), which can be taken from Shinjuku Station. From Shinjuku Station it’s a 35-minute ride to Funabori Station, with a fare of ¥380. And because it’s Tokyo, trains depart every 6 minutes or so. Too convenient!
Set up for the above photo was:
Funabori Tower Hall on Google Maps
Funabori Tower Hall is just across the road from Funabori Station, only a minute or two on foot.
When you arrive at Funabori Station, go to the north exit and walk straight until you get to the intersection. If you look up, you'll be able to see Funabori Tower Hall. Cross the road and head into the building.
Go through the doors, walk past the information counter to the elevators. Get off on the 7th floor.
Turn left and walk to the end of the passage, and you'll see the entrance to the elevators that will take you to the observatory.
While you’re waiting for the elevator, make sure to tell the staff that you want to use a tripod. You’ll be given an armband which will give you access to the “photographer’s floor.” Don’t worry about where to get off. There will be a staff member in the elevator who will let you off in the right floor.
Tokyo Skyline View
Walk around the observatory and decide on your position. Check the view from the west side. Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building can all be seen from here. This is probably the most interesting view and is where most photographers shoot from.
Slightly adjust the angle of your camera to capture the
Further adjust the angle for more views. The bridges are perfect for leading lines.
It looks like one big river, but there are actually two - the Arakawa River and Nakagawa River.
Although my main focus in photography is shooting in the blue hour, sometimes while waiting for twilight, sunset views can be quite amazing!
For more Mt.Fuji locations, check the following posts
Best Place To View Mt. Fuji
Yokohama-Best Three Free Spots To Photograph At Night
Although tripods are OK to use here, it can be quite tricky to set them up due to an awkwardly positioned rail and a narrow ledge.
As you can see, I had to get creative with positioning of my tripod. Luckily, the legs can be locked at different angles.
Once again, you’ll be shooting through glass, so watch out for reflections. Use a lens hood, a Ninja, or even a simple, light-weight dark towel. Just be careful to check the edges of your image when taking test shots to ensure the towel hasn’t crept over the lens.
I recommend a telephoto lens, especially if you want to capture Mt. Fuji and get a “compression effect” with the skyscrapers of Tokyo. Funabori Tower Hall is quite far from the main landmarks, so it’s necessary to zoom in, but feel free to experiment. I mostly use 120.0-400.0 mm and 24.0-120.0 mm lenses.
At A Glance:
Location: Funabori Tower Hall
Station: Funabori Station, Toei Shinjuku Line (subway)
Ease of Access: Moderate (a little far from central Tokyo, but easy access from Funabori Station)
Views: Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, Arakawa River
Tripods: OK. A little difficult to set up due to an awkwardly positioned rail and a narrow ledge
Funabori Tower Hall really is perfect for photographers. Incredible views, a "photographer-only floor" and tripods are totally OK to use here. And all for free. If you have time, I encourage you to come here and take some awesome shots.
If you are interested in seeing other twilight and blue hour photos of Tokyo, please feel free to visit my Flickr feed.