With observation decks standing 202m above ground, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a hidden gem. While its better-known cousins – Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree — are swarmed with tourists, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, affectionately known as Tocho, has a few tricks up its sleeves when it comes to giving a bird’s eye view of the city and beyond.
It is completely free!
Who doesn’t love it when there is absolutely no entrance fee when it comes to visiting Tocho?
Visitors are subjected to a bag check prior to boarding the specialised elevators to the observatories. It is a security measure employed to ensure safety, as the towers contain government offices. After a simple check, the elevators will bring you to the 45th floor, home to the panoramic views of the capital city, at absolutely zero charge!
View from the top!
Two observatories with 360 degrees view of Tokyo
Tocho’s better-known counterparts might provide views that are seemingly unrivaled, but the metropolitan building offers something even better.The North and South Observatory in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offer a panorama 360 degrees view of the city from Shinjuku. Famous landmarks such as the Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Dome and even the Mount Fuji are viewable from the two observatory decks! There are explanation panels near the glass windows, indicating the landmarks that you can see from the particular angle. Each observatory also houses a café and a souvenir shop, where exclusive Tocho-only souvenirs are available.
With the North Observatory opening till 23:00, the observation deck is a popular destination even with the locals for its night view. You will be able to see the neon lights that lit up the city, as well as the full view of the Tokyo Tower lighting up in the night from the North Observatory.
Aerial view of Chuo Park
A park in the midst of the city
Standing right across the street from Tocho is the Chuo Park. From the top, the autumn colors that paint this mid-sized park will present a splendid aerial view. Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, a lovely waterfall in the middle of the park makes it a good place for pictures. There is also a small shrine in the park. Local office workers tend to have their takeout lunches in the quiet park, escaping from the hectic Shinjuku environment. It is common to see families having picnic here during the weekends, with the kids enjoying the play area facilities.
Check ahead of schedule if a flea market will be happening at Chuo Park when you visit on Saturdays. Featuring approximately 200 vendors, the flea market will bring you cheap vintage goods that go as low as 20 yen!
Getting to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building might be slightly complicated if you alight at Shinjuku JR Station. It is a 10-minutes walk from Shinjuku JR Station west exit. Follow the signs indicating the direction to the building, or just ask any Japanese along the way. They will be more than willing to help you on your way!
Alternatively, the building is directly above the Tochomae Station on the Oedo Subway Line.
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