A helicopter night cruise over Tokyo is a magical experience that lets you discover the impressive urban landscape in the most beautiful of experiences.
On Saturday October 22nd, I was invited on a helicopter ride with JapanTravel and the Eyexplore Tours team. I met with Alex and Lucas from Eyexplore in the early afternoon; we arrived an hour prior to the flight at the Heliport near Shin-Kiba station. We sat in a pleasant waiting room and watched a safety instruction video prior to boarding the Helicopter. As this was my first ride, I had mixed feelings of excitement and fear, but the chance to see Tokyo from high in the skies outweighed everything else.
Each of us took turns to enter the four-seat chopper and the pilot greeted us kindly from the cockpit once we took our seats. The helicopter gently lifted-up and hovered in a fixed position above the ground for a few seconds. Similar to the thrill of a first-time childhood experience, our excitement was at its peak and we all had smiles on our faces.
In a sudden flash, we quickly took altitude through the dark and our cruise through the skies began. The rainbow bridge was the first major landmark to greet us on the way up and out and the time over Tokyo Bay was quite pleasant. Soon after, we reached Ginza at a low altitude and shortly after banked right for a clear view over Tokyo Station. We headed towards Tokyo Tower; and lifted to an even higher level so the full city stretched across the horizon. The helicopter then headed North until we reached the bright lights of the Tokyo Dome and I desperately tried to search for my own house so I could snap a few photos of my neighborhood. We flew over Ueno and the climax of our flight was when the helicopter turned over Asakusa to face Skytree dressed in beautiful purple color.
Though the night was not perfect conditions for photos, we had an enjoyable evening and were able to get several good shots. The atmospheric haze posed problems in adjusting focus, but on clear nights this is typically not an issue. The view was very impressive, and we had just enough time to take our shots of each of the major destinations along the way.
Towards the end of the flight I put the camera down and enjoyed the last minutes of flight over this amazing city. Though the experience was brief, it was overwhelming to the senses. I would strongly recommend this thrilling photographic flight tour to anyone as it may be a life changing experience for you.