Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is probably the best observation deck in Tokyo. Best of all the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building observation deck is free.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁舎 Tōkyō Tochōsha), "Tocho" for short, or Tokyo City Hall is the location of the headquarters of the government of not only the 23 wards that people think of as the "city" of Tokyo, but also the cities, towns and villages that comprise Tokyo as a whole.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Located in Nishi-Shinjuku, it is the tallest building in Tokyo at 248 meters (814 feet) from base to top, and the second-tallest structure after Tokyo Tower. The two top-floor observation decks are free of charge to the public. It is only a short walk from Shinjuku Station. Given that it is free to use the observation decks and has fewer tall buildings built around, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is the best observation deck in Tokyo to use. Other observation decks in Tokyo include the one in Roppongi Hills, where again a significant charge applies.

Viewing Tips - Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

I strongly recommend visiting the observation when it opens in the morning as this is the time when you will have the best opportunity of viewing Mount Fuji. At this time of day the sun will be behind you, the air will be colder and thus there will be less dust and smog in the air to block your view of Mount Fuji and the other mountains in the range.

Tokyo Skyline
Tokyo Skyline

Photographic Tips - Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

If you wish to photograph Tokyo from this vantage point then the following tips may help you.

  1. Reduce internal reflection from the glass by covering the space between the lenses and the window glass with something like a jacket to block out the light getting on the window glass.
  2. Place the lenses as close to the window as possible without touching and allowing for lenses movement for zooming and focusing.
  3. In the day, use a relatively short depth of field to keep any image on the window out of focus, but allow enough for any close buildings to be in focus. This can be achieved by increasing the shutter speed on most compact cameras.
  4. For night time, ideally you would use a tripod or something to rest the camera on as the exposure will need to long. TURN OFF the flash. Observe point two. If available use a high ISO setting or night time/starlight setting on a compact camera.

Structure - Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

The building consists of a complex of three structures each taking up a city block. The tallest and most prominent of the three is Tokyo Metropolitan Main building No.1, a tower 45 stories tall that splits into two sections at the 33rd floor. The building also has three levels below ground. The design of the building (which was supposed to looks like a computer chip), by architect Kenzo Tange (and associates), has many symbolic touches, most notably the aforementioned split which re-creates the look of a Gothic cathedral.

Finished in 1991 at the expense of 157 billion yen (about $US 1 billion) of public money, a popular nickname for Tocho is "Tax Tower."

The other two buildings in the complex are eight-story Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building (including one underground floor) and Tokyo Metropolitan Main Building No.2, which has 37 stories including three below ground.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building In fiction

As one of the distinguishing landmarks of Tokyo, the building often features in anime

In Digimon Tamers, the building houses the headquarters of the secretive government organisation, Hypnos.
In X/1999, the basement of the building is headquarters for the Chi No Ryu and houses the giant computer "Beast".
In the Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd Gig episode Excavation, Togusa discovers a nefarious excavation under the building in submerged pre-war Tokyo.

(Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)

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