The race has just begun – There are TOO MANY OBSERVATORIES among skyscrapers in the megalopolis of Tokyo, so some of them are desperate to make their own features now!If you are browsing a travel guidebook of Tokyo to find a place to see the view, you won’t be very sure which observatory is the best for you.
Now it’s time to talk about Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory.
|Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building|
I find four good aspects to visit this observatory.
I’m happy if my suggestions as a local become some help for you.
1: Free to Enter
We don’t need any admission fees to enter the observatory because this is a public building, not commercial. Free. It cannot be a disappointment, can it?
2: Views of Both of Tokyo’s Symbols
I am repeating that we can’t see Tokyo Tower from the observatory of Tokyo Tower! It’s same in Tokyo Skytree.
If you are in Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, you can see the both!
|Skytree, Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens, Docomo Building and Tokyo Tower|
Let’s see from the left.
The tower over there is Skytree. The greenery at the center is Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens and the outstanding sharp building is NTT Docomo, one of the Japanese leading telephone companies. (Your rental cell phone in Japan may be Docomo’s.)
Tokyo Tower is just on the left from the brown building at the very right of this photo.
If you feel they are not very clear, see the next photos.
3: The Cafes with Views
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has two observatories – North Observatory and South Observatory – because of the shape of the building. (See the first photo and you will understand.)
Amazingly, each has a cafe inside.
Tokyo Cafe 202 in South Observatory is relaxing enough, but Good View Tokyo in North Observatory has seats just around the large windows!
|Views with my ice tea|
|Tokyo Skytree from the cafe|
The highest building in the right is Roppongi Hills, which just renewed its observatory. You see a long bridge and a bay between Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills. It is Odaiba, the cool bay side district in Tokyo City. The bridge is Rainbow Bridge, and see it carefully, you can find the rainbow-colored Giant Wheel and the symbolic Fuji TV building.
|Tokyo Tower, Odaiba and Roppingi Hills from the cafe|
4: Great Souvenirs
In the observatory floors, some toy stores are waiting for visitors. They are toy stores, but apparently selling amazingly many kinds of Japanese toys as souvenirs.
I think you will find any Japanese characters. There are also interesting toys as well.
But the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s shop must be even better.
Postcards, magnets, some traditional crafts… The items are all OFFICIAL in a government’s building. Must be great for souvenirs, isn’t it?
How about a ninja sword umbrella?
|Ninja sword umbrellas, traditional Japanese toys… and pandas|
Bonus: MORE Views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
In winter, you have a chance to see Mt. Fuji!
In conclusion, my suggestion as a local is the following.
- Want to see both of Tokyo Tower & Sky Tree,
- Stay at one of the hotels in Shinjuku and looking for an observatory,
- Stay in a district where Shinjuku is nearer than Hamamatsucho,
- Visit an observatory just for views as a tourist, don’t need exhibitions, art museums and any commercial attractions,
I will write a comparisons of the observatories in Tokyo later. You can see the other observatories, guides to visit there and my reviews as a local here.
Hopefully my posts will be a help to find the best choice for you.
Visitors’ Practical Guide to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
How to Get to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory
From Shinjuku Station
Go out of West Exit. It’s a 10 minutes walk. There is an underground path to the building.
(How do I go to Shinjuku? See The Easiest JR Train Maps of Tokyo!)
Tip: Shinjuku Station is very complicated. Sometimes we must go through a shopping center when we go out, which is confusing to the point that locals feel so.
Signs in the station are more helpful than your maps.
Follow the arrows pointing Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. Other landmarks around it are Hilton Tokyo Hotel, Keio Plaza Hotel and Park Hyatt Tokyo, which are literally surrounding it.
From Tocho-Mae Station of Oedo Subway Line
The subway station is directly connected to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
(See The Easiest Subway Maps of Tokyo.)
Tip: The name means, “in front of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.”
Descriptions of the Observatory
hight: 202 meters
Opening Hours: 9:30 – 23:00 (South Observatory is open until 17:00. Until 23:00 when North Observatory is close.)
Closed on 29, 30, 31 December and 2, 3 January
South Observatory – Closed on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday
North Observatory – Closed on the 2nd and 4th Monday
Tip: There is a tourist information center in the ground floor.
The four following hotels are literally around Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. You can book one from the links.
Official Website: http://www.yokoso.metro.tokyo.jp/index.htm (Japanese language only – My post will be better!)