The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, known simply as “Tochō” in Japan, is Tokyo’s city hall — the center of government for the capital’s 23 wards. In addition to being a famous work of architecture, the building has amazing views from its FREE 45th-floor observation decks. It is no exaggeration to say that you haven’t really seen Tokyo if you haven’t seen it from here.

What can you see?

On a clear day, you can see as far as Yokohama in one direction, Chiba in another, and, way out west, Mount Fuji. Truly, the full extent of Tokyo’s urban sprawl can only be appreciated from up high.

The observation decks are in both the north and south towers of the main building and offer slightly different views (the North Observatory is currently closed). Inexpensive refreshments are available. The last orders are at 10:00 p.m.

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Sunset from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building | Photo by iStock.com/Nikada

When should I go?

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.

What other viewpoints are there in Tokyo?

Tokyo’s other famous viewpoint, Skytree, may be considerably taller, but its expensive entrance fee is incomparable to Tochō’s: absolutely free.

See our full guide for more free views of Tokyo.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building: Regular closures

tocho building in winter
Photo by Carey Finn

The observatories close for the holidays between December 29th and January 3rd, but open on Jan 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.

  • South Observation Deck: Closed first and and third Tuesday of every month
  • North Observation Deck: Closed second and fourth Monday of every month (currently closed every day)

Tokyo Government Building Projection Mapping: Tokyo Night & Light

Photo by Alexandra Ziminski

The largest projection mapping on a building in the world can also be found at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Just take yourself to the Citizen’s Square opposite and treat yourself to a free show. It takes place daily from dusk till around 9 p.m.

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