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A photographer’s guide to Tembo Park Sunshine 60 observatory
Atop one of Tokyo’s oldest skyscrapers, Sunshine 60, is the Tembo Park Sunshine 60 Observatory. At two hundred and fifty meters above the ground, it offers a 360⁰ view of the city. I enjoy it even with its quirks. Photographers should enjoy it.
The views from its windows are panoramic. In the east is Tokyo Skytree. To the south are Shinjuku and Shibuya. To the north and west lie suburban Tokyo (and Saitama prefecture). Everything seems far off. It gives you a good idea of the layout of the city.
If a visitor looks down, there is little under Sunshine 60 to identify with the naked eye. Okay, I’m sure they could pick out the station! But, Ikebukuro lacks in the way of landmarks. There are few you could call genuinely famous or recognizable. It looks a lot like a concrete maze.
In the east is Tokyo Skytree, which looks small since it is so far away. Even Shinjuku and Shinjuku are at least 5 kilometers away. The clusters of skyscrapers are like monoliths on a vast plain. There is nothing in the gaps.
Observatories like Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building are in built-up areas. They have more big buildings around them. You get in them, and from their decks, you can recognize things in the cityscape. Stuff is right in front of your face. Sunshine City is not like that; it is in its own world. The perspective is different.
Unfortunately, when I went for this visit, clouds covered the southwest. They completely obscured Mount Fuji! I’ll be praying for better conditions next time I go.
If you need a break, Tully’s Coffee is on the same floor. There are also some attractions for kids. I only go for photography, so I can’t offer any useful opinions about them.
What can you photograph from Tembo Park Sunshine 60 Observatory?
- Mt. Fuji (to the southwest)
- Mt. Tsukuba (the north)
- suburban areas of Saitama prefecture and Tokyo
- Tokyo city skyline
- Tokyo Skytree
- Tokyo Tower
Photography tips for the observatory
- Ikebukuro doesn’t have many large buildings in the area, so the views are unimpeded.
- The view of Mount Fuji is very weather dependent.
- Sunshine City is an old building built in 1978. So the design of the windows isn’t optimal for photography. Some of them are small and restrict views. Others have a massive gap between you and the glass.
- Glare will also be problematic, but you can use lens hoods.
- For lenses, my choice would be long ones. That will enable you to zoom in on distant buildings and landmarks. It will also allow you to see the details of the nearby streets. Wide angles are still good for panoramas.
Other photo spots near Tembo Park Sunshine 60 Observatory
Where is Tembo Park Sunshine 60 Observatory?
See the observatory’s location, opening hours, and other details on the official website.
Tembo Park Sunshine City Observatory is quite good. Even though it fails to make it into my top five, I like it. Here are my reasons why:
- It is on the Yamanote line.
- Entry isn’t expensive.
- It is in the far northwest of the city, so it offers a different perspective of the city.
This observatory might be old, but it has a lot of positive points. If you are a visitor to Tokyo, Ikebukuro is a major train station, so there are many places to stay nearby which is a bonus. It would be a good idea to include it in your itinerary.