Japan: Airborne Sightseeing or Touring Tokyo by Helicopter

Japanese Travelog Part Seven

Michael Taylor is flown to Tokyo, Japan, by ANA InterContinental Tokyo, where he spends two nights as part of a press trip of journalists and travel writers from Hong Kong. Today Michael is taken aboard a helicopter for a 15 minute aerial tour of the Japanese capital.

What a Cool Tour!

OMG!!! I couldn’t believe it when I was shown the itinerary that the concierge and MICE teams at the hotel had prepared for us. Among the many cool sounding places and things we were going to see and do was a 15 minute sightseeing tour of Tokyo by helicopter!!!

“OMG!” I thought. “I haven’t been in a helicopter in years! This is amazing! I can’t wait!”

The last time I rode in a helicopter I was eight years old. A company had launched a helicopter service linking downtown Oakland and San Francisco with Oakland and San Francisco airports. Free flights were offered to promote the new service.

I’ll never forget the thrill of lifting off skyward – your heart in your mouth. Minutes later, you were swooping back down to earth. It was a thrilling experience.

This time, we would be taking off – not from the ground – but from atop a 37 storey building.

From Here to Eternity

I don’t have a fear of flying, I do a have a fear of heights.

So it was a bit intimidating to see that helicopter atop the 37 storey tall Mori Building with no fencing, no safety rails, not even a ridge.

I surveyed the roof.  It was like, “From here to eternity!” 

After the door of the helicopter had been opened, I made it across the top of the building toward the helicopter. I was the first one on board, and I felt better the moment I was inside.

“Now the fun begins,” I thought.

Fifteen Minutes Over Tokyo

Luck was on our side! It was a still day, without a cloud in the sky, but there was some haze. We lifted off gently, soaring over the Japanese capital. It was easy to pick out the sights: the Imperial Palace, the train station, the hotel I stayed at on my last trip.

There were the fish market, Tokyo Tower, the lovely park I had explored. There was that river that I had sailed up. You could see the elevated trains. High rises and low rises … There was so much to take it. The flight seemed longer than 15 minutes.

Tokyo Sky Tree

A highlight of the tour was Tokyo Sky Tree, the world’s tallest structure – newly opened, and still the talk of the town. We slowly circumnavigated the 634 metre high television tower.

A few hours later we would take high speed elevators to the observation deck (my ears popping three times on the way up, six times on the way down) for a reverse look at the view.

It’s amazing how much you can see in in such a short time. Before I knew it, we were gently landing on the roof of the Mori Building.

Another walk back across the roof – this time in the opposite direction. Down the stairs … to the elevator lobby… then a quick trip in the elevator back down to terra firma!

To Be Continued

This is the seventh in a series. Tomorrow: our land tour of Tokyo begins.


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