Tokyo is a very important region of Japan for many reasons. Within Tokyo, there is the Metropolitan Government Building, an important structure that houses important governmental operations for the entire region of Tokyo.
The skyscraper also boasts a plethora of activities and other areas for tourists to enjoy, making it a destination to add to your itinerary when visiting Tokyo.
While many might not consider a government building as a sight to see or a tourists attraction, it really is a marvel in terms of architecture and the ability to view Tokyo from a completely different perspective from its observation deck.
About Tokyo’s Metropolitan Area
Tokyo is a very expansive area. Thus, the governmental body that works within the Metropolitan Government Building is a revered one. They are in charge of many areas within Tokyo, including the various wards and villages that make up the metropolis.
While many believe that Tokyo is a city, as it used to be called Tokyo City, Tokyo is actually made up of many small cities, wards, and districts that are encapsulated within the metropolis.
These cities do have their own small government bodies, with the metropolitan government residing over everything.
Tokyo is a popular tourist destination, given that it is one of the most recognizable and well known areas in all of Japan. There are so many things to see and do in Tokyo and ways to learn a lot about Japanese culture and lifestyle, and much of it is thanks to government efforts and city planning.
About The Metropolitan Government Building
The Metropolitan Government Building is called Tokyo Tocho in Japan. It is made up of 48 floors, with an observation deck on the 45th floor that allows for a pristine, breathtaking view of the busy streets of Tokyo.
The building is located within a conglomeration of different large buildings in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
The building consists of two tall towers, each one being 797 feet tall and the other being 534 feet, that meet in the middle as a central connection between the towers.
There are a plethora of offices scattered throughout the Tokyo Tocho, as well as an assembly hall that much of the government gathers in for official meetings.
One Of The Tallest Buildings In Tokyo
When The Metropolitan Government Building had finished construction in 1991, it was considered to be the tallest building in Tokyo. The building held that title until 2007 when the Midtown Tower was built in Minato. However, the height difference is only 16.4 feet.
The building’s concept for construction was designed by Kenzo Tange, who had built a reputation for being one of the most talented architects in the entire world.
He is also known for creating One Raffles Place Tower and United Overseas Bank Plaza One. These two buildings are located in Singapore and are the two tallest structures on the island.
It’s said that the inspiration for how the building was ultimately constructed was a Gothic cathedral, which would be fitting considering Kenzo was a Christian. Some similarities can be seen between the Metropolitan Government Building and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of the most famous buildings in the world.
Some similarities can also be seen between Tokyo Tocho and Kenzo’s United Overseas Bank Plaza One that he designed in Singapore.
The Tourist Information Center
If you’re in Tokyo and are unsure of where to go or what to do, the Tokyo Tocho also has a tourist information center on the second floor, with friendly staff that will answer any questions you have to the best of their ability.
The information center can provide information and insights about different places you can visit within Tokyo as well as throughout other areas of Japan. Additionally, they can provide information about the city of Tokyo for those who are interested in learning more.
On some random occasions, there will be events held within the tourist information center, where products local to various regions are able to be purchased.
The information center is located on the second floor of the Metropolitan Government Building.
The Observation Decks
There are two different areas where people are able to view Tokyo’s skyline from the observation decks; the north and south towers.
While you’re at one of the observation decks, there are also cafes at each to grab a refreshment when you arrive, as well as shops to grab souvenirs and other Japan-related merchandise before you leave.
Landmarks To See From The Observation Decks
If you are wanting to see Mount Fuji, it’s best to go in the morning when the skies are typically more clear. Tourists and locals are able to access the observation decks to get an opportunity to see the view for no cost.
Additionally, if the day is clear, you might also be able to take a look at the Tokyo Skytree, The Tokyo Dome, and the Meiji Shrine when looking out at your surroundings from the observation decks. The town of Minato, known for being a business hub, can also be seen, as can the Midtown Tower, which is now the tallest building in Tokyo.
The Shinjuku Park Tower can also be seen out on the horizon, which boasts a beautiful hotel known as the Park Hyatt Hotel.
The Park Tower was also designed by the same designer who designed the Metropolitan Government Building. You are also able to see Yoyogi Park and Roppongi Hills, another very tall building.
The North Tower At Night
If you are looking for something unique to do in Tokyo at night, consider taking the elevator up to the north tower observation deck.
At night, there’s even a bar where you can enjoy a nice cocktail while taking a lookout at Tokyo and surrounding areas at night.
The Metropolitan Government Building In Popular Media
Believe it or not, one of the prominent buildings featured in the famous Godzilla Versus King Ghidorah movie from 1991 was the Metropolitan Government Building. At that time, the building had only been recently finished.
Many other Japanese movies and television shows have had the building in the background of different scenes. In 2001, it was featured in Digimon Towers, a well-known anime series. It was also featured in the manga Tokyo Babylon, which was popular in the 1990s.
Additionally, the movie My Girlfriend Is A Cyborg, released in 2008, features a glimpse at the building as well as the Shinjuku area.
Shinjuku Central Park
If you’re looking to enjoy some green space before or after your trip to Tokyo Tocho, you’ll be happy to know that Shinjuku Central Park is just a few steps away. The park, known as Shinjuku Chuo Kouen, is small and intimate, offering a relaxing oasis to sit down and relax.
You’ll often find government workers enjoying the fresh air there during their breaks. There are also lawns for sitting and picnics, walkways, and a water feature known as Shinjuku Niagara Falls.
There are also fun activities that can be enjoyed in the park, such as a rock wall and a yoga studio. There is also exercise equipment available to use and a skateboarding area.
There are also areas for kids to play in, and a pond where you can watch turtles swimming around.
When To Visit The Metropolitan Government Building
Taking a look at the building or going up to the observation deck is enjoyable any time of the year.
However, it’s often recommended to take a trek there if you’re visiting Japan or Tokyo in the Fall or Winter months. Visitors must also go thru a bag check for security purposes since it is a government building and security is elevated.
If you are riding the train within Tokyo, you can get off at the Shinjuku Station. From there, you only have to walk about ten minutes to get to the Metropolitan Government Building. Otherwise, the Oedo subway line will take you into the basement of the building.
It’s important to note that the building is closed between December 29th and January 3rd. However, on New Year’s Day, the building is open for visitors. Hours of operation are usually between 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
The south observation deck closes on the first and third Tuesday of each month, and the north deck closes on the second and fourth Monday of each month.