Tokyo is a vast urban jungle that stretches as far as the eye can see. From the ground it is a complex web of buildings, bridges and train tracks that criss-cross for miles and miles. The only way to fully appreciate the huge expanse of this city is definitely from the air.
There are a few options to get high above street level; you could climb to the top of one of Tokyo’s tallest buildings such as the Metropolitan Government building, Yokohama’s Landmark Tower (which boasted the world’s fastest lift when I was there) or the replica Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower. By far the best way, however, is to take a helicopter ride as the light is fading.
Our ride began from Urayasu heliport near the Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea resorts and we had paid for a 15 minute flight over Tokyo’s metropolitan centre at dusk to celebrate my 24th birthday. A flight like this today will cost ¥10,000 (£72) with a number of operators such as Excel www.excel-air.com/english. Booking is easy and can be done over the internet or by phone as the operators speak good English. Although this may sound pricey, 8 years later it remains one of my favourite memories of my time spent in Japan and you can’t put a price on that.
The helicopter held myself, my friend Nikki and 2 others so it was a cosy and intimate trip. I believe that larger helicopters are available but I liked ours being a smaller affair. Although the trip only lasted 15 minutes, it felt much longer and we saw many of the landmarks of a Tokyo landscape, Tokyo Tower glowing bright red in the skyline. We were all delighted with our experience. My only regret is that the weather was quite hazy on the day we went and so visibility was not as clear as I would have liked. Maybe a night-time flight would have been better to see more of the illuminations, or perhaps a daytime flight in the winter when crystal clear skies make a view of Mt.Fuji possible.
Still, it was a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to anybody visiting Tokyo.
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