HOME Tokyo and Surroundings Tokyo Shinjuku Must-visit places in Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - Incredible Free View of Tokyo
Must-visit places in Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - Incredible Free View of Tokyo

Must-visit places in Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - Incredible Free View of Tokyo

Date published: 10 November 2019
Last updated: 15 November 2019

The Tokyo Metropolitan office building is one of the city’s must-see attractions. The building offers a spectacular view of Tokyo’s skyline from the top of its 202 meters structure.

Here you will also find restaurants and gift shops, perfect to spend a few hours alone, with friends or family, or with a date. In order to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Building, you won’t need reservations, or even a ticket.

Admission is free - a perfect alternative to other similar attractions if you’re on a budget!

▲Skyline from the “Good View Tokyo” restaurant in the North Wing.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is divided into two main office buildings. The first building hosts the observation deck, while the second tower houses the Metropolitan Assembly Hall.

The observation deck is divided into the North and South sections. There is no ticket required for either, so, if you have time, we recommend you visit both.

Now let’s see how to get there from the famous Shinjuku Station.

Depart from Shinjuku Station and enjoy a stroll through the spectacular cityscape

You can walk to the Hall from the west exit in Shinjuku Station, but if you don’t want to walk, here you will also find shuttles that will take you there straight from the station.

If you do feel like enjoying a walk on the way to the observation deck, you will find the Keio Plaza Hotel to your left. From there proceed forward for about three minutes, and you will see the access to the first hall of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. From there, follow the signs to the “Observatory”.

▲The signs leading to the observatory are easy to spot, so don’t worry, you won’t get lost there

It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the station to the hall. From there take the elevator to the 45th floor.

▲The access to the elevator leading to the north observatory is right by the main entrance of the first office building
▲North Observatory Elevator
▲South Observatory elevator

The opening hours of the observatory are as follows:
9:30am to 11:00pm (closed on the second and fourth Monday of each month)

Admission ends 30 minutes before closing

Head to the North Observatory where the security guard will check your luggage and then ride the elevator. In just 55 seconds you will reach the observatory at 202 meters.

▲The ceiling of the North Observatory is shaped like a dome, making the room feel even wider

Spending time in the North Observatory

The sunlight shined through the windows on the many tourists who visited in the early morning. Finally they all managed to peek through the windows and enjoy the view. The city streets and the clear skies intertwined. If you’re lucky, on a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji, but even on a cloudy day, you can still see the Tokyo skyline, as well as Yokohama, Izu, Kofu, Chichibu, and other areas.

▲Landscape of Otto, Chichibu, Kofu and other areas, beyond the Tokyo high-rise buildings

As you move along the observatory, you will see many of Tokyo's landmarks, such as the Tokyo Skytree and the Tokyo Dome.

▲A map of the landscape you can see from the window

If you want to sit down and relax, we recommend you do so in the restaurant “Good View Tokyo”, in the North wing. The restaurant takes nearly half the windows of the wing, making for an impressive view.

▲In addition to the dining seating, there are also armchairs and seats by the counter from where to enjoy the view
▲Sitting by the window is like being in a café suspended in the air.

The “Good View Tokyo” doesn’t impress only for the beauty of the surrounding landscape, but also with its food. The dishes are made with seasonal ingredients. When we visited, we enjoyed a limited “Afternoon Tea Set”, served after 1:30pm. You usually need to call ahead, but if you are on site and the tea has just been prepared, you can order it.

▲The first and second plates are filled with luxurious desserts prepared by the restaurant’s pastry chef. The lowermost plate presents a warm muffin cake and a carefully selected selection of cheese and fruit

Ham plates (2800 yen, not including tax). You will get a glass of sparkling wine included in the price.

In the picture you can see a serving for two people. The deserts are not too sweet; they have a nice and delicate flavor of berries, chocolate, and more. The flavorful ham and cheese are served together, making for an excellent combination.

▲Let’s enjoy an elegant afternoon tea while admiring the city's landscape from the window

The manager of the café, Mr. Genshi, said that many people go the restaurant for special celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries. If you want to enjoy a quiet and romantic night, we recommend you visit on days with relatively few people visiting.

▲The atmosphere at dinner is that of a fancy bar
▲The beautiful view of Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills

You can buy typical products of Tokyo in the North Observatory

On the same floor there is the same toy sore you can find in Ginza, the “Toy Museum TOY PARK”.

The business hours are the same as the observatory, from 9:30am to 11:00pm, and the closing days are the second and fourth Monday of every month (if Monday is a national holiday, then the closing day will be Tuesday), and the 1st of January.

In addition to toys, the store also sells a wide variety of local products. The staff showed us some high-demand items.

▲“Tokyo Water” (500ml, ¥103 – including tax). The Tokyo water is unexpectedly popular. The water goes through a process of purification on a site managed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Waterworks. The purity of the water is very high even compared to the high standards of Japan.
▲Tokyo biscuits (Turkish beans) (12 bags, ¥648 including tax). The biscuits are marked with the words “Tokyo” and “Tokyo Metropolitan Government” with the hall in the background.

All the information you need is in the hall

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government information center is on the first floor and has reopened after renovation in 2018. The information center offers information not only on Tokyo, but also about Japan and it is conveniently located by the observatory elevator.

▲Tokyo Tourist Information Center: business hours 9:30~18:30, holiday: end of the year. Here you can find information about Tokyo and also its less known attractions
▲The “cultural Experience Zone” offers hands on courses on traditional Japanese crafts, such as origami. These events are held from time to time and attract many tourists
▲National Sightseeing PR Area: (9:30~18:30, holiday on end of the year and general maintenance days). Here you can find free maps and sightseeing guides for 46 prefectures
▲There is also a fresh produce booth which will operate on different business days every week. When we visited it offered special products from Chiba prefecture. You will also find a dining hall here

This area of the building (staff canteen) was restructured in 2019. There are 776 seats in a bright space, 10 different food booths including a “Wild Tokyo Vegetable Lunch” for 690 yen, including tax.

  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Staff Canteen
    東京都庁 社員食堂
    • Address 2-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
    • Phone Number 03-5321-1111
    • Opening hours: Breakfast 8:00~9:00 Lunch:11:30~14:00 Dinner: 17:00~19:00
      Cafe: 8:00-17:00
      Closed: Weekends and national holidays

It’s worth taking a look around in a city so full of energy

After visiting the hall, you will get to the square in front of the hall. From there you can look up and marvel at the 243 meters high tower. The tower is quite spectacular.

▲The first office I looked at from the square. The building on the left is the second office building

The current TMG building is relatively new. It has been completed in 1990 (Heisei 2) by the architect Kenzo. The layout of the windows is inspired by the mixing of culture and technological advancement of Tokyo. The building was designed to have Japanese-style sliding door panels, as well as electronic microchips.

▲The first hall has a beautiful art installation on both sides. This is the work of the writer Inoue Takeo named “My sky hole 91 Tokyo”. There are 38 pieces in the hall’s art installation
▲Ladybug model called “Tento Mushi” created by Miyamoto Shinji in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Make sure to visit the Metropolitan Assembly!

Opposite the first office building, you’ll find the conference hall where conferences and political meetings are held. The building is open to the public.

▲This large arc-shaped building is composed of a basement and seven above-ground floors. The disc in the middle (as shown in the picture) is the forum
▲The building that surrounds the square

To enter the forum and the committee room, you need to go through the hall first. Register for the place you would like to visit by writing your name down, and then head to the counter to go in.

Take the elevator to the seventh floor and you will arrive at your destination. During meetings, many members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government gather to discuss matters related to the public and the political landscape of Tokyo. During days when the government gathers you can apply to be part of the audience. If there is no gathering, you can visit the building freely.

▲Visiting time 9:00~17:00. Closed: weekend and national holidays
▲The TMG hall can be seen from the corridor windows of the venue

Deliberations are conducted in the committee room. The 15th Committee Room is on the 6th floor and it’s usually open to visit. During deliberations many channel broadcast the meetings, so some people may have seen this place on TV.

▲The 15th committee room (visiting hours: 9:00~17:00. Closed: weekend and national holidays.

Since the venue and the committee room are the places where major events and decisions regarding the Tokyo Metropolitan Area take place, the atmosphere is martial and serious. On the other hand, the restaurant on the first floor (Tokyo Hall of Commons) is a great place to sit back and relax.

The restaurant serves lunch at noon, while at night it turns into an izakaya perfect for locals and foreign visitors alike.

▲Tokyo Hall of commons from the square

We recommend the Tokyo Metropolitan Government fry tower (1010 yen including tax) and the very cheap all you can drink (60 minutes, 600 yen/person). Although the restaurant is in a very serious setting, the place is very homely and interesting.

▲Inside the restaurant
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Hall restaurant
    • Address Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 1F, 2-8-1 Nishishinjuki, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
    • Phone Number 03-3345-8703
    • Business hours: 10:00-22:00 (Last order for food is at 21:00. Last order for drinks at 21:30).
      Closed on weekends and national holidays

Free to visit
Please check the official website for details

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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