Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku1/4
Seibu Ikebukuro2/4
Miyashita Park rooftop3/4
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaMiyashita Park rooftop
Meguro Sky Garden4/4
Photo: Meguro-ku

Best rooftop gardens in Tokyo

Relax in one of these secret parks and gardens, found way above ground on the city's shopping mall rooftops

By Tabea Greuner
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What Tokyo lacks in space, it makes up for with ingenious high-rise solutions. So the next time you're looking to retreat from the crowds, look up – you might just find a secret garden tucked away on the roof of a shopping mall. Relax and unwind on a green patch or under a shade while taking in a bird's eye view of the cityscape. These rooftop gardens are free to enter, making them a worthwhile alternative to the city's observation decks if you're on a budget.

RECOMMENDED: Prefer a view with a drink instead? Head to these rooftop bars in Tokyo

Tokyo's hidden gardens

Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku - Omohara Forest

Shopping Harajuku

With its mesmerising kaleidoscopic effect, Tokyu Plaza’s mirrored entrance is stunning. But the Harajuku mall is more than just an Instagram hotspot – it also features a beautiful rooftop space known as the Omohara Forest. Located on the sixth floor, the wooden deck is adorned with abundant greenery and features a communal counter surrounded by amphitheatre-style seating.

Grab a drink at the adjoining café and take shade under the trees while you recover from your shopping spree in the Harajuku/Omotesando neighbourhood. The garden is especially scenic in the evening when it’s lit up, and you’ll be able to indulge in some elevated people-watching by observing the busy crossing below with the Shibuya skyline in the background.

8.30am-9.30pm daily.

Ginza Six - Ginza Six Garden

Shopping Ginza

If you need a breather after an upscale shopping session in the edgy and cavernous Ginza Six, head to the mall’s gorgeous rooftop. This vast 4,000sqm space features a
suitably stylish green garden, complete with a small shrine, wooden decks to sit on, and a water feature for kids to splash about in.

The plants here are chosen for their seasonal beauty – there are blooming pink cherry trees in spring as well as foliage that blushes with red and yellow come autumn. Moreover, the glass walls skirting the edge of the building afford a rare bird’s-eye view of this glossy shopping district, with Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree peeking through the Ginza skyline from afar.

11.30am-10pm daily.

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Miyashita Park rooftop
Miyashita Park rooftop
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Miyashita Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Shibuya

This rooftop, complete with a skateboard park, a bouldering wall and even a sand-covered court that’s perfect for beach volleyball, is by far the highlight of the three-storey Miyashita Park mall. You can grab a drink at the on-site Starbucks – designed by streetwear icon Hiroshi Fujiwara to look like a petrol station – or get some food from one of the mall’s restaurants and have a picnic on the open lawn area. Head here around sunset to watch the lights of the Shibuya skyline flicker on through the park’s metal arches.

8am-11pm, sports facilities 9am-10pm daily.

 

Shibuya Parco
Shibuya Parco
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Shibuya Parco Rooftop Park

Shopping Shibuya

Shibuya Parco has lots to offer, from art galleries and cool shops (including Japan's first official Nintendo store) to a basement dining zone that looks like a hip and modern reinterpretation of a yokocho. With that, many shoppers forget that there's a roofop garden here, and that's a mistake. This little slice of green is quiet and serene, and it offers panoramic views of Shibuya cityscape. The sunset here is gorgeous, too.

Check out the on-site bar and restaurant Commune, which serves up casual food, cool drinks and cocktails, as well as the occasional events. The eatery has a lofty warehouse vibe, with scaffolding, timber bar tables and plenty of neon lights.

The individual stores are set up like street food carts. Ikiba offers everything from pasta, stew and salad, to finger food like fish and chips, plus exquisite cocktails. Takobar, on the other hand, serves tacos with handmade tortillas, as well as corn chips, guacamole and salsa, and a lineup of booze. Caffeine fiends can get their fix at Coffee Bar Gallage, which also offers coffee-based cocktails, or hit up Light Up Coffee for its single-origin brews.

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Seibu Ikebukuro Main Store - Rooftop Garden

Shopping Ikebukuro

Mall-heavy central Ikebukuro may be the last area where you’d expect a wide open green space – yet the rooftop terrace on the ninth floor of the Seibu Ikebukuro department store is a vast and tranquil haven in this high-tech, high-rise and often high-intensity city.

At a little garden inspired by French impressionist painter Claude Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’, you’ll be surrounded by seasonal blooms and, naturally enough, water lilies. Stroll across the wooden bridge over a small pond and you’ll soon forget you’re in the thick of the city.

The rest of the open rooftop space boasts resort-like vibes, with wooden decks, plenty of seating options and a floor covered with one million custom-made blue tiles. Better yet, a variety of stalls serve up treats such as pizza, udon, curry and even crêpes, while a regular events programme will keep you coming back for more.

10am-8pm daily.

Meguro Sky Garden
Meguro Sky Garden
Photo: Meguro-ku

Meguro Sky Garden

Museums Ikejiri-Ohashi

The most unusual of Tokyo's urban oases, the Meguro Sky Garden is built on the roof of a circular loop junction on the Metropolitan Expressway. The 400m-long green lung is home to 1,000 trees – including cherry and pine – a Japanese garden and bamboo grove. It's a 'jungle' amongst the city concrete, and a perfect place to catch the sunset over a picnic – just grab some baked goodies from the nearby Italian pastry shop L'atelier Motozo and watch out for Mt Fuji in the distance on a clear day.

7am-9pm daily.

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Tokyo Midtown Hibiya - Park View Garden

Things to do Hibiya

Sister property to the glitzy Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, this part-mall, part-office complex features a tranquil green space on the sixth floor. From here you can soak up great views of the Tokyo skyline, including neighbouring Hibiya Park and the Imperial Palace’s outer garden. The wooden deck adds a nice touch to complement the lush greenery, especially when the walkways and balconies are lit up at night. There are two restaurants on the same floor, in case you want to enjoy the view over a bite or a drink.

8.30am-11pm daily, closed in case of strong winds.

Atré Ebisu - Ebisu Green Garden

Shopping Ebisu

Crowning the roof of shopping mall Atré Ebisu’s main building, this vast space may lack shady trees but makes up for it with flowering plants and herbs. Take a seat under the purple wisteria, or venture towards the lone olive tree and admire the circular herb garden, which features fragrant and colourful varieties including lavender and rosemary.

Since Atré Ebisu is home to a host of bakeries and take-away delis, you can grab your favourite food and enjoy it up here while looking out to the surrounding high-rises, including Tokyo Tower. The green-fingered can even rent a little patch at the on-site Sorado Farm to plant their own vegetables.

Apr-Sep 10am-7pm, Mar & Oct 10am-6pm, Nov-Feb 10am-5pm daily.

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Ark Hills - Ark Garden

Things to do Roppongi

The ARK Garden was revolutionary when it was created over 30 years ago. And it’s still not your typical (rooftop) terrace – in fact, it’s a series of gardens spread out across several interconnecting buildings that form the ARK Hills complex. In spring, the surrounding streets come alive with cherry blossoms to create a picture-perfect pink boulevard.

The gardens were designed as a multi-level terrace on top of Suntory Hall, and stretch across to the nearby adjoining buildings, each with a different theme. Start your exploration at the serene Main Garden with its lush greens, seasonal flowers and chirping birds.The Four Seasons Garden may look deceptively simple but it’s home to a variety of plants indigenous to Japan, which are especially scenic in autumn. The Back Garden, meanwhile, is a nursery for seedlings before they are replanted to other areas within the ARK Garden.

Only accessible in spring and autumn, the Roof Garden offers strolls under green arches adorned with beautiful roses. Proceed to its upper level and you’ll find a colourful flower bed arranged to look like the British flag – occasional garden concerts take place here too.

8am-9pm daily.

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