The Haunted SkyscraperSunshine 60 sits on land formerly occupied by Japan's most infamous prison: Sugamo Prison.
Sugamo Prison was constructed from the ground up to hold political prisoners. From the 1920s-1945 it held anarchists, communists, dissidents and prisoners of war. Under the American occupation of Japan it held around 2000 Japanese war criminals including the former Prime Minister: Hideki Tojo.
In 1971 the prison was closed. A few short years later the construction of a massive office and shopping complex began at the site. Planners were well aware that the reputation of the prison might spark urban legends about the new building — so they gave it a cheery name: Sunshine 60.
It wasn't long after its opening day that rumors circulated that the building was haunted. It's the only skyscraper (of its size) that's considered haunted. The legends will no doubt intensify as the building continues to age.
Other Claims to FameThe innovative design of Sunshine 60 has influenced Tokyo architecture for more than 35 years. The building was Tokyo's first city-in-a-city. Sunshine 60 (the skyscraper) is at the center of a large complex of buildings known as Sunshine City.
The idea behind city-in-a-city design is to mix office, shopping, hotels, convention centers, entertainment, health care and day care into one building.
This design has been emulated by Tokyo buildings for many years. Roppongi Hills and Ebisu Garden Place are prominent examples. Modern buildings have taken the city-in-a-city concept much further: including residences and parks into designs. Such buildings are intended to minimize commuting time: people can live, shop and relax where they work.
Visiting Sunshine 60Sunshine 60 is a recommended Tokyo attraction. It's just east of Ikebukuro station.
The building features an observation deck on the 59th and 60th floors. The top observation deck is open air (rare in Tokyo). It's open most days of the year (including weekends and most holidays) 10:00 to 21:30.
(view from the skydeck)
Sunshine City features an aquarium, planetarium, amusement center (Namco Namja Town), museum (Ancient Orient Museum), a theatre and plenty of shopping.