The journey starts unlike any other observation deck in Tokyo; you step into a glass elevator. The elevator whisks you up over 700 feet in just 40 seconds, while simultaneously allowing you to feel as though you are flying over Tokyo.
Once the elevator journey ends, you step out onto the 46th floor of the Dentsu Building. In front of the elevator is a sculpture named “Hojo no Umi ” (The Fertile Sea), inspired by a novel from famous Japanese author Yukio Mishima’s series "The Sea of Fertility".
There are eight restaurants spread across the 46th and 47th floors, with cuisine ranging from Japanese to bar food. You can learn about the parts of Tokyo that each restaurant faces by looking at Caretta Shiodome’s website or at the free pamphlets. Prices are about ¥1700 for lunch or ¥6000-7000 for dinner. However, keeping with the “free” theme, I decided not to eat there. If you want to, you are allowed to bring outside food.
Unfortunately, the views are not 360 degrees. One set of windows in the elevator bank faces Roppongi, Shibuya, and Shinjuku; the other set faces Tokyo Bay. However, the quality of the scenery is equal, if not better, than at Tokyo Skytree, in part due to Caretta Shiodome’s proximity to many landmarks. I personally enjoyed the view of Tokyo Bay, so I spent most of my time there.
The view of Tokyo Bay was simply spectacular. I could easily make out Hamarikyu Gardens, the Rainbow Bridge, and the land of the old Tsukiji Fish Market. I easily spent 45 minutes enjoying the views and taking photos.
Another bonus of Caretta Shiodome was its location. Located at the top of the Dentsu Building in the Shiodome District of Shimbashi, it was a quick 5-minute walk from Shimbashi Station and about 2 minutes from Shiodome Station on the Oedo Line.
All in all, I thought visiting the observation deck in Caretta Shiodome was well worth my time. I firmly believe it’s the best free observation spot in Tokyo, especially considering there was no wait (which is not common when visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building) and you get to take a glass elevator! So next time you are looking for a spectacular, free view of Tokyo, make sure to stop by the Caretta Shiodome.