Tokyo City Hall

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by billmoy on August 20, 2002

This behemoth of a building complex is set in the western part of Shinjuku, an immense area of high-rise construction that may be comparable to La Defense in Paris. The main tower, with two twin prongs at the top, was designed by famed Japanese architect Kenzo Tange and opened in 1991. The main tower is called Tokyo Metropolitan Government 1 (TMG 1 for short, but with the tall height of 243 meters), but just south is the slightly shorter TMG 2 (163 feet high). The exterior of brown and white granite panels (which somehow create a grayish look to the facade, or is this a result of the gray skies?) and the use of smaller windows attempt to break down the large scale of the tower a bit.

Each of the two prongs has a free observation deck, but they seem to be sporadically open whenever I visit. Both were closed for some reason when I stopped by in 1995, and only the south observatory was open in 1999 (note that they are usually closed on Mondays). One is good enough for me, so we took the express elevator up to the 45th floor (there are 1096 steps from top to bottom for emergencies). The sky in Tokyo can seem perpetually hazy, but there are some wonderful panoramic views from the deck. It is fun to spot all of the landmarks of Tokyo when you wander the perimeter of the observation deck. If you are fortunate to have a clearer sky (I was not) you may spot Mt. Fuji in the distance. Each observation deck has a domed coffee shop in the center, and a small souvenir shop on the side. Annually over two million visitors enjoy the views from the two observatories.

The TMG complex is built on the site of an old water purification plant. Shinjuku Central Park lies to the west, and a curved Assembly Building and the accompanying Citizens’ Plaza front the east side. As you might expect, there are a few modern sculptures scattered about the grounds. The forest of skyscrapers in Shinjuku includes a variety of office buildings and posh hotels.

Tokyo Tocho (City Hall) Gift Shop
Tokyo Tocho (North), Observation Floor 45F
Tokyo, Japan
+81 (0)3 5320 7890

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