Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

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Japanese script: 東京都庁舎 / 都庁
Area: Shinjuku
Address: 2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8001
Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

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 the metropolis’ city hall, the building offers amazing views of the mega-city 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 up high view-point, Sky Tree, 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

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