Architecture

As High as the Government in Tokyo

Designed by Kenzo Tange to resemble a computer chip, Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government Office Building is a set of three towering skyscrapers, in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.

Two of the towers have a panoramic Observatory on the 45th floor, or 202 metres up, and there’s a few things about them that are rather special.

As well as one of the most amazing illuminated Cityscape outlooks you’ll find, the T.M.G. Building Observatory is open to the public, every night till 9pm, and what’s more – entrance to the observatory is FREE to the public.

Now that’s something that doesn’t come along too often, does it?

The Street Level Courtyard

But back to the building. Impressive by day, the view was spectacular by night.

This is one of the views that awaits you.

From the Tower, one can see the Mode Gakuen Cocoon shaped building in the background.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building complex occupies an entire block close to Shinjuku station. Entrance is via street level or a subterranean shopping arcade and underground walkway. There are actually two observatories, one in the North tower and one is the South tower, each with alternate openings times, so that if you visit two nights in a row, you might see two different views.

This is important to note, as it can be somewhat disorienting, if you exit via a different lift than you entered previously. Or perhaps it is only a sign of my approaching the elder years?

Uniformed Security Personnel are on hand to check bags prior to entering the lifts in the main foyer. In typical Japanese fashion, these Assistants are immaculately dressed, polite and helpful. Note that there will be a queue to enter the lifts, so factor this into your time allowance when visiting.

I would allow 45 minutes to an hour for this experience. Longer if you want to browse the gift shop or eat at the rooftop restaurant – which comes complete with faux Roman columns! The few trip advisor reviews for the restaurant I read, were mixed but they would surely have a first class view.

When you return to ground level, don’t forget to keep an eye out for an interesting clock in the foyer.

Even in the daytime, the building is quite impressive. In the foreground is a walkway across the busy street.

If you are observant of details and the resolution is not too small, you might note there is what appears to be a homeless person in the foreground. This was the only one I ever saw in the time visiting Japan. He appeared to be reading his Buddhist scriptures in the morning mist. I know that he was Buddhist, not that it is of any consequence to me what religious persuasion he was.

I realized this at a much later date, when I was informed by one of our guides that Shintoism does not have any written scriptures. In fact, anyone can invent a deity in Shinto if it is meaningful for them. They have thousands of deities.

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Something to Ponder About