There are few things more breathtaking than gazing out over the sea of lights that is Tokyo at night, and virtually everyone in the city has their own favourite spot for viewing the spectacle. Admiring the view is of course best done while sipping a drink in good company, but the vast selection of rooftop restaurants and bars can be a little tricky to navigate – especially if you're on a budget. Whether you're looking to impress a Tokyo newbie, planning a very special date or just want to feel like a VIP for a few hours, consider checking out some of the 15 top Tokyo bars listed below. All of these offer noteworthy night-time views, ranging from classic skyscraper vistas to offbeat perspectives, and are accessible even to thrifty boozers on the hunt for a little luxury.
The top 15
Found on the 13th floor of Asakusa's Gate Hotel, this bistro-style restaurant boasts a superb outdoor terrace that's become one of the toughest reservations in town. Those who can't secure a spot will find comfort in the fact that most of the indoor seats still offer rather stunning views of the Skytree and the surrounding area.
Nihonbashi, the heart of old Edo, now has its share of high-rises, but none of these towers stand out quite like the one housing the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Perched on the 38th floor, its comfy lounge boasts stunning city vistas – consider picking a seat by the windows on the north side and gaze out over the still very Showa-esque cityscape of Akihabara, Asakusa and the rest of the old shitamachi. Dim lights and candles set the mood for live music in the evenings, while the drink selection ranges from classic cocktails to a plentiful lineup of Japanese craft gin.
Tucked away on the 42nd floor of Atago's Mori Tower, this luxurious space offers night views of the bay area that can be seen from any seat in the house. The floor is divided into three: Italian restaurant Salvatore Cuomo Bros offers fine Italian cuisine, Japanese restaurant Tempura & Sushi An offers a range of Japanese flavours including kaiseki dishes, and at The Bar, you can enjoy select house cocktails and wine. Just an FYI, there's a dress code for the guys: no sleeveless shirts, shorts or sandals.
For an offbeat spot to admire the city at night, this small, all-standing bar on the top floor of the Tokyo Dome Hotel is a choice worth noting. Although somewhat awkwardly placed on the side of a banquet hall mostly used for weddings, C Maj offers gorgeous vistas toward the Imperial Palace and Kanda, as well a rare overhead look at Tokyo Dome and its associated amusement park.
The Conrad's signature bar and lounge dazzles with huge windows that reach almost all the way up to the 8m-high ceiling, offering unbeatable views over the Hamarikyu Gardens, the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay. Bossa nova and other live Latin tunes make for nice accompaniment.
Odd man out on this list is the Forest Inn Showakan's retro lounge and its unique night-time view: you'll be able to look straight beyond the Showa no Mori woods and into the USAF's Yokota Air Base, a hub of activity until late at night. The lounge is even decorated like a passenger airliner, adding some fun extra flavour to your plane-watching.
The legendary Imperial Hotel's top-floor lounge is the work of British designer Julian Reed and gives off an air of understated luxury. Head up at night, take a seat by the counter at the very back of the room, and rest your eyes on the majestic view.
The Conrad's signature bar and lounge dazzles with huge windows that reach almost all the way up to the 8m-high ceiling, offering unbeatable views over the Hama-Rikyu Gardens, the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay. The tipple selection is relatively unsurprising and predictably pricey, but the bossa nova and other live Latin tunes make up for it. Go at night for the best atmosphere.