Tokyo has been an impeccable city as a rich cultural hub, research center, engaging art, and entertainment core and even bagged most Michelin stars any city has ever achieved. With soaring Mt. Fuji in the background, the city also developed some of the most architecturally significant buildings which time and again came to be known as the tallest buildings in the world. In this article we discuss such tall buildings in Tokyo that are examples of commendable innovation and today define the skyline of Tokyo.

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Here are the 15 tall buildings in Tokyo. The list is as per the heights of the building in descending order.

1. Tokyo Sky tree

One of the tallest structures in Tokyo, the Tokyo Sky Tree is also the world’s tallest free-standing tower at 634 meters. The broadcasting and telecommunication tower was designed by the architectural firm of Nikken Sekkei, and its construction lasted for four years starting in 2008. The tower is a part of the Tokyo Sky tree town which was designed as a modern commercial district with shopping, entertainment, and food outlets. Highlights of the tower are its observation decks situated at 350 and 450 meters respectively. The Tembo Deck at 350 m is a three-tiered deck that has a sky restaurant as well as a souvenir shop whereas the galleria at 450 m has a spiral access corridor. Besides, a striking structural feature of the tower is the central core pillar around which a triangular plan evolves as a circular space towards the top.

2. Tokyo Tower

The opening of the Tokyo tower in 1958 has been a remarkable moment for Tokyo. Held in the post-war recovery, the tower opened in the city center, achieving a height of 333 meters which was 13 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower. At the time, it was the tallest tower in the world, which symbolized the steady progress of the nation. The tower featured three viewing decks that provide views as far as that of Mt. Fuji. It was designed by Tachu Naito in close collaboration with Nikken Planning Ltd.

3. Toranomon Hills Mori Tower

Designed as a multi-use high-rise, the Toranomon Mori high rise is 255.50 meters tall with 52 floors above the ground and 5 below. It was constructed in a span of 3 years from 2011—2014 by Nihon Sekkei. Some of the spaces that the tower accommodate are offices, residences, hotels, retail outlets, and conference halls. An important feature of the tower is the attention given to the seismic resistance of the structure. As a part of the development involved a four-lane motorway underneath the structure, its foundation was strengthened with elastic bedding and upper floors were provided with oil dampers and brake dampers to reduce the impact of vibrations in case of an earthquake as well.

4. Midtown Tower

SOM designed the multi-use building along with Nikken Sekkei Ltd., Midtown tower in the midtown development center. Itis one of the tall buildings in Tokyo. It is 248 meters tall and was completed in the year 2007. The tower houses commercial, hospitality, retail as well as residential spaces.

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5. Tokyo Metropolitan Government building

The construction of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in 1991 was a milestone for the city skyline as well as for the architect Kenzo Tange. The soaring 243.39-meter high building was commissioned by the city’s government. The design unification of three different complexes through visually appear as one, are connected by pedestrian access. The comprehensive design is an amalgamation of traditional and modern characteristics. With the strategic use of materials, the façade has variations provided with the use of different colors and alternative placement of granite panels.

6. Sunshine 60 Building

Built-in 1978, Sunshine 60 is 239.70 meters high, a 60 stored multi-use high-rise. The building accommodates commercial, administrative, healthcare, retail, and hospitality outlets. While the structure uses reinforced concrete, it has been further strengthened with a steel skeleton. To make the building resistant to earthquakes, the use of slitted shear walls provided in between the foundation adds to the structural core. Besides, the building has an observation deck with one of the fastest elevators in the world.

7. NTT DoCoMo Yoyogi Building

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) building located in the Yoyogi area was constructed in the year 2000 achieving a height of 240 meters. In addition to being one of the 15 tall buildings in Tokyo, it is the world’s tallest clock tower with a clock 15 meters in diameter which was made operational in the year 2002. Its design is a striking inspiration from the Empire state building in New York.

8. Roppongi Hills Mori Tower

The largest multi-functional urban development project in Japan with a floor space area of 379,408 meters, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower was completed in 2003. The 54 story mixed-use building houses office spaces, retail stores, restaurants and it also has a Mori arts center and museum. It also has observation decks on 52nd and 54th floor.

9. Tokyo Opera City Tower

The entertainment cum commercial hub completed in 1996, 234 meters high with 54 floors, Tokyo Opera City Tower was designed by the architect Takahiko Yanagisawa. The astounding structure accommodates a media-art museum two concert halls, an art gallery that holds exhibitions from time to time, retail outlets, office spaces, and state of the art restaurants.

10. Sumitomo Fudosan Roppongi Grand Tower

The landmark building completed in the year 2016, 45 storied 230.76 meters high has both commercial and residential spaces. It is one of the 15 tall buildings in Tokyo and was designed in collaboration with Nikken Sekkei, Obayashi Corporation, and Taisei Corporation. The highlight of the building is Japan’s largest passenger type elevator with a capacity of 5,900 kg.

11. Shibuya Scramble Square

The newly opened Shibuya Scramble Square is a part of the city’s effort of the major renovations as it prepared to host the Tokyo Olympics 2020. It opened in November 2019 with retail, commercial, hospitality spaces under its roof, to name a few. The 230-meter high building has an outdoor observation deck on the 46th floor, which offers a panoramic view of the city. Besides, an indoor observation deck and gallery has been provided on the lower floors. The design has been developed by Tokyu Architects and engineers and SANAA.

12. Shinjuku Mitsui Building

The Shinjuku Mitsui building was constructed in the year 1974 by the architect Nihon Sekkei. The 225 meters high building drew its inspiration from the high-rises being built in the USA at that time. Besides its steel braces along the shorter edges for seismic tolerance, sunken gardens, and rooftop gardens, the building houses office spaces, retail outlets, banks, and restaurants.

13. Shinjuku Center Building

The headquarter of Taisei Corporation, the 54- storey (223m meters) building was constructed in the year 1979. The structure, however, underwent retrofitting in 2008 when seismic dampers, 288 in number were installed from the 15-39th floor. This was the first time such a retrofitting had taken place in a high rise. It was due to the latter that the building’s response lowered by 20% during the earthquake in the year 2011.

14. Luke’s Tower

The St. Luke’s tower comprises 51 story and 38 story buildings that are designed for commercial and residential purposes respectively. Reaching a soaring height of 221 meters the commercial tower is steel-framed whereas the other is steel and reinforced concrete structure. The two buildings are connected by a pedestrian bridge at 110 meters. The bridge has been designed to withstand an earthquake with its roller mechanism and 10-piece expandable floor system which allows the bridge to expand up to 2 meters. The design has been developed in collaboration with Nikken Sekkei, Tokyu Architects and Engineers, and Kajima.

15. Shiodome City Center

The 44-story tower, with a height of 216 meters, comprises a commercial tower as well as the reconstructed historic Shimbashi station. The design of the tower has been evolved to accommodate the irregular shape of the site. The highlight of the tower is the outward curve which suffices the spatial needs of the tower as well as creates an aesthetic trait. It was constructed in the year 2003 by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates.

These were the 15 tall buildings of Tokyo and there are many more to come.


Aditi Sharma is an architect, researcher and amateur photographer based in Mumbai. Through RTF she is expressing her ardent thoughts in the domain of culture, history, gender, and architecture.

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