Tokyo Rooftopping: Construction Site – Japan
During another night out, spent exploring and searching for interesting places best for Tokyo rooftopping, Shinjuku once again came through and we made our way towards a building under construction. Consequently, it was one of the tallest buildings in the area, and as I mentioned in a previous post, it seems most structures fall under a building code where they cannot be higher than 10-12 floors. Luckily, for some reason this didn’t apply to the building under construction.
That night I was with Airin again, and at first glance it seemed unlikely we would be getting in. I’ve never been in a Japanese construction site before, but they definitely don’t make it a simple task to get into the sites. There were makeshift flat walls around the entire area, easily reaching around 12ft (3.5m), coupled with cameras and hordes of people walking around. As we considered giving up, we noticed a small residential building with multiple floors placed unassumingly directly adjacent to the site. Finding a window inside that somewhat lined up to third floor of the site was a godsend, and one of the coolest ways I’ve ever gotten into an area.
It’s a testament to just how densely populated Tokyo is, and the measures they take to fit buildings as close together as possible, that we were able to pull ourselves up from the window to the construction site platform.
After working our way through a myriad of ropes and fences we were in the construction site. We moved at a steady pace, fed a solid diet of stairs and darkness, until we came upon the main platform. From there it was more stairs, but this time they led to the top.
As we approached the top, the lights once again gave way to the dark, and we marched on. The stairwell was nestled deep in the center of the site, and insulated from the sound of the surrounding area; it was eerily quiet, and we trudged up the stairs with only the wind howling beside us. More than thirty minutes passed since entering the site before we made it to the top.
The top of the construction site was unlike any other I had ever been to outside of Japan. There was a constant need to be alert and ready in order to navigate the minefield of obstacles dotting the roof. Ropes everywhere, missing sections of the floor, pieces protruding from the ground, and usually only beams to walk on. Worst of all was the foil-like material used to create flooring; inspiring little confidence, bending deeply and popping, as you walk over it.
As usual though, the view at the top more than made up for any difficulties we faced getting there. I managed to take a quick video this time around, posted below, as I walked along the edge.
Weeks of walking, searching, and sweating culminated here; my favorite night of Tokyo rooftopping. Peering down from high above, the clusters of neon lights illuminating narrow streets filled with figures continually moving like clockwork ; it was an image of Tokyo that I imagined from anime and video games that suddenly came into reality that night. Altogether we probably were at the site for close to two hours, and we left as we came, still exuberant, if not a little more tired.
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