Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Cheapo Article: Diamond Fuji: A Natural Gem Worth Beholding
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Japanese script: 東京都庁舎 / 都庁
Area: Shinjuku
Access: 53 m from Akabane-iwabuchi Station Namboku Line (N19)
53 m from Akado-shōgakkōmae Station
53 m from Anamori-inari Station Keikyū Airport Line (KK14)
Address: 2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8001 [map]
Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, known simply as “tocho” in Japanese, is the center of government for the 23 wards of Tokyo. As well as serving as a giant city hall, the building offers amazing views of the capital from its 45th-floor observation decks.

On a clear day you can see as far as Yokohama in one direction, Chiba in another and, way out west, Mount Fuji. It is no exaggeration to say that you haven’t really seen Tokyo if you haven’t seen it from here. The full extent of Tokyo’s urban sprawl can only be appreciated from up high. Tokyo’s other famous viewpoint, Skytree, may be considerably taller, but its expensive entrance fee is incomparable to the tocho’s: absolutely free.

The observation decks are in both north and south towers of the main building and offer slightly different views. Cheapo refreshments are available at cafes in both, but the north tower’s observatory becomes a bar in the evening. Last orders are at 10:00pm.

Clearer views are available in autumn and winter due to cooler atmospheric conditions, and possibly the best view of all is available on January 1st. The observatories close for the holidays between December 29th and January 3rd, but open for one day on the 1st to welcome in the new year. Due to the holiday period, a lack of traffic and factory pollution in Tokyo results in spectacular views of Mount Fuji.

Photo by Markus Leupold-Löwenthal