Japan is full of incredible observation decks, allowing you to get a great vantage point in any city you are in. Here are my selections in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto that are a must see.
Tokyo – Tokyo has a lot of great observation decks. My personal favorite is Mori Tower. At just $10 (USD), you get an incredible view of the city that includes Shibuya, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and sometimes Mt. Fuji (if the weather is cooperating that day). Another one is Tokyo Skytree (around $30 USD to get up to) because it is much higher up and provides even more amazing views. Would be careful of Tokyo Tower due to the number of tourists it gets and how small the actual observation deck actually is up there.
Osaka – Abeno Harukas 300 is a fun/futuristic observation deck that gives you an incredible view of the city and just for about $15 (USD). There is even a small shop and cafe inside, but the observation deck should be the only reason to see this place as it gives you a 360 view of the city including the harbor and surrounding countryside as well.
You can also look to Osaka Castle (does cost to get inside) and make your way to the top to get a higher vantage point above the city. You can also check out Kuchu Teien Observatory which also provides another 360 view of the city and has some really funky escalators that take you up to the actual observation deck.
Kyoto – The ancient capital has a few observation deck options. The first (and most obvious) is Kyoto Tower. It is fairly cheap to get up to and right near Kyoto Station, making it easy and convenient to get to and use. It is a bit older and a little cramped, so just be prepared for that.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, look either to Kyoto Station which has an observation deck that allows you to see more of the metro area of Kyoto. Or you can head to the peak of the Fushimi Inari temple shrine that puts you over 200 meters above the city, which gives you some of the best views of the entire area. Fushimi Inari is free and open 24 hours a day, if you are willing to hike up the dark mountain side at night, that is.
Make sure wherever you are in Japan that you get to the top of an observation deck to get a bird’s eye view of the Japan (in any city you are in). It’s the best way to get a real idea of how vast these cities are along with getting some incredible pictures and memories along the way.