A must-visit tourist site in Tokyo (東京) is SKY CIRCUS Sunshine60 Observatory – an observation deck located in Sunshine City in Ikebukuro (池袋) – which is a traveler’s delight. If you have ever experienced any views from other observation decks maybe in Tokyo or around the world, let me assure you that you haven’t seen anything like this yet. SKY CIRCUS does not only offer you a fantastic view from the 60th floor of the building, but it also offers you a chance to experience Japan’s innovation, art, and technology all under one roof. Children are sure to be fascinated right from the beginning of the experience because the elevator that takes you up to the 60th floor is illuminated with stars.
SKY CIRCUS offers you 24 small but unique and absolutely breathtaking attractions to keep you occupied for at least an hour and a half. This is a must-see attraction in Tokyo for tourists, lovers, and families wishing to create memories that will last a lifetime.
There is no ideal time to visit the attraction, however, it would be wise to pick a clear day when the sun is shining brightly so that the view outside is unobstructed by clouds. You can also plan your day to catch the late afternoon to mid-evening slot so that you can enjoy the view during both the daytime and night. But note that there are two attractions that can be viewed only during the night so plan wisely.
SKY CIRCUS first takes you on a tour of Tokyo from the south which highlights the major landmarks of the city like the Tokyo Tower and the Skytree. The clear view from the glass window is breathtaking, especially when you can see the smallest details of the Tokyo streets below. A detailed map is laid out on the windowsill allowing you to accurately see where each monument is located. You can even play a game of match-the-picture-and-the-scenic-view with your children here.
There is also a sky trampoline and a sky hole video that makes you feel like the ground beneath you is moving, and you can jump or simply stand on the giant screens on the floor.
As you walk along the corridor, you are greeted with mirrors on the walls which have their own unique characteristics. There is the mirror in which every movement you make gives your reflection a sand effect, making you look grainy. Then there is the mirror where you can see stars in your eyes. But the absolute favorite for both adults and children, I feel like, is the one that makes you disappear. You have to stand in front of the mirror without any movement and it will make you disappear. Now you see me, now you don’t.
After moving through the mirrored corridor, there is the Tunnel of Infinity which is a combination of mirrors and a light show which depicts the various times of the day and seasons of Japan. Lose yourself into the mesmerizing animation which calms your mind and soul. You can enter the tunnel as many times as you like.
Once you are outside the small tunnel, make sure you notice the rainbow-colored walls of the tunnel. They have small five-inch triangular lenses which have kaleidoscope patterns within them. Each triangle has a different design and they change colors and shapes when you view them. While all of these attractions are located in the center of the room, the view outside the window is also not to be missed.
Outside the Tunnel of Infinity, you will also find the LIGHT FOUNTAIN which is like a small tree bursting with color. The colors are due to the cleverly crafted colored mirror or glass strategically placed to catch the rays of the sun and during the night, the lights of the room give it a dazzling effect.
Next up is one attraction that is only visible during the night, that is the Fortune Window. Couples hold hands and press a button located on both sides of the window panel to determine compatibility between them. Not sure how accurate it may be, so don’t go searching for a wedding ring just yet.
Next on the agenda is the baby cloud, which when touched creates music or thunder and lightning. This is one place where kids love to hear the cloud roar and they squeal with delight. Just next to the cloud are two umbrellas, which when held will give you an effect of rain, snow, or even fish falling from the sky. You will feel as if lightning strikes, snowballs are being thrown, jellyfish are falling from the sky, or jewels are raining down – all depicted on a single screen in front of you.
Next up are the two virtual reality attractions of SKY CIRCUS. These are not for kids below 13 years of age and for some adults with certain health conditions. The first one is the TOKYO BULLET FLIGHT where you are placed in a cylinder and you get the sensation of being skyrocketed into the sky thanks to the virtual reality gear.
The second one is the SWING COASTER where you are seated on a swing and you are taken on an animated tour of the city. These are definitely for those who love to ride roller coasters or someone like me who loves the thrill of coasters but doesn’t like the physical stress that comes with the actual thing. Both of these attractions are charged extra over the admission fee which can be purchased directly at the booth.
SKY CIRCUS also offers you SKY PARTY where you can change the weather, dance in front of a huge screen, or simply catch a break and enjoy the view outside. The kids love to see themselves on the big screen while dancing or making funny faces here.
Located at the end of the observatory deck is the GURUGURU SHOT where you can take pictures with your friends falling in a spiral swirl. This is a small but innovative part of SKY CIRCUS.
The observatory deck also has a cafe called Cafe Quu Quu Quu and the SKY CIRCUS SHOP where you can purchase and take home souvenirs of your wonderful day spent. However, before you leave, there are two more attractions which are located in the center of the observatory deck.
One is the Tokyo Cliffhanger where one can play a game of hopscotch by jumping on a virtual game on top of the animated city. The second attraction in the center is the art gallery. It is a small section where you can see art that highlights illusions made by the artist to trick the naked eye displayed.
For example, through the naked eye, you can see that there is a broken chair in the picture above. But when you look at it from a reflective spherical object, the chair appears to be upright. Here, you can also see two sides to a painting. By turning the painting upside down, the painting takes a different meaning. Simple and thoughtful, this is a perfect way to end your tour of the observatory deck.
Lastly, before you exit, look above and you will see floating tents waving out to you and wishing you sayonara as you leave. So while you ride back down on the illuminated elevator to the bottom of the shopping complex of the Sunshine City building back to reality, you will leave SKY CIRCUS with a heart full of admiration for Japan and its innovativeness.