TOKYO -- Tokyo is a gigantic concrete jungle built on layers of tradition and culture. It's difficult to grasp the enormity of Japan's capital in just a few days.
One way to gain some perspective on the complex city is to get above it — way above it.
Skip the sidewalks and subways and take an elevator to any one of the observation decks that dot the cityscape for a stunning vista. No two perches offer the same view, but they are all spectacular.
Greeted with a bow by the elevator operator, take a ride up to the top of some structures for as much as $30 a trip. But the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building's observation deck is free. The 48-story office is surrounded by Shinjuku district's skyscrapers. The view is more intimate than from most other observatories.
Try the panoramic views from Tokyo Tower — an homage to the Eifel Tower that was built in 1958 to signify Japan's economic revival — where you can take a selfie with Mt. Fuji in the background on a clear day. Lean in and look down on the traffic patterns of the famed Shibuya crossing from the 46th floor of the East Tower of slick new Shibuya Scramble Square.
Or just pick a spot and watch one of Japan's spectacular sunsets beyond the glass, steel and concrete horizon.