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Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tocho) observatory and visitors guide

Discover the best views of Tokyo from the free observation decks at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, a must-visit attraction in Shinjuku, Japan.

Can you imagine visiting a spectacular observation deck without spending a single yen? Well, during our first trip to Japan, we set out to do just that, and we succeeded! Today, we’re here to share with you all the details on how you can live this unique experience: visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck, also known as the “Tocho.”

Join us on this exciting journey as we show you how to enjoy the stunning views of Tokyo from the top of the Tocho, without spending a penny.

Metropolitan Government Building


☑️ 243-meter tower with two observation decks.
📍 Nearest Station: Tochomae Station
💵 Price: FREE
❓Did we like it?
Yes, a viewpoint not to be missed.

Tokyo views

The building was completed in 1991 at a cost of 157 billion yen (approximately one billion dollars) of public money. It replaced the old Tokyo City Hall in Yurakucho, which was built in 1957 and designed by Kenzo Tange (who also designed its successor). The site where the old Tokyo City Hall used to be is now the Tokyo International Forum.

Tower 1 held the title of the tallest building in Tokyo (in rooftop height) from 1991 until the end of 2006, when it was surpassed by the Midtown Tower. In 2014, it was surpassed by Toranomon Hills, and it has since held the third position.

It was also Japan’s tallest building from 1991, the year it was built, surpassing Sunshine 60, until 1993, when the Landmark Tower in Yokohama took the top spot. It currently ranks ninth.

Tower 2 was the eleventh tallest in Tokyo at the time of its construction, but it is currently the ninetieth (90th) tallest in Tokyo.

The free observation decks offer excellent panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond. It stands 243 meters tall with two towers, each with an observatory at a height of 202 meters.

How much does it cost to visit the Tocho Observatory?

It’s free, just keep in mind that you’ll have to go through a security check to ride the elevator.

What are the opening hours?

Every day from 9:30 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. (last admission at 9:30 P.M.).

The site is closed on certain dates, such as:

  • From December 29 to January 3
  • The north observatory is closed on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month.
  • The south observatory deck closes on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Also, keep in mind that observatories may be closed because of other reasons, like bad weather, on a short notice.

Tokyo views

Which tower should you visit?

This building has two towers (that is, two free observatories), which will change your experience due to the perspective each one offers. This makes you wonder which one should you visit?

The answer is, it depends on the time of day; if it’s sunny, head to the South Tower Observatory (which is where we went), while at night, it’s better to visit the North Tower.

Tokyo building

Can you take photos?

Yes, but the use of tripods is not allowed.

How to get there?

The most convenient metro station is Tochomae on the Oedo subway line, located in the basement of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

Another option is a 10-minute walk from the west exit of JR Shinjuku station.

How to access the observatories of the Tokyo Government Skyscraper? (Tochō)

Upon arriving at the building, we could see signs indicating where to go to line up for the Observatory. You have to walk a little inside the building. Then we had to line up for the chosen tower and go through an inspection check. Keep in mind that the waiting time may vary. We waited for less than half an hour.

When it was our turn to go up, a very kind girl accompanied us. We went up to the 45th floor at 202 meters high, with a certain fear that the elevator would break down, as there were quite a few of us inside and not much space to move around. Luckily, we arrived at the observatory and began to enjoy the view.

Observation Deck Views

If the weather conditions are favorable, you can see famous landmarks such as Mount Fuji, the Tokyo Skytree, the Tokyo Tower, the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel, the Meiji Shrine, and the Tokyo Dome from the observatories.

Tokyo views

Additionally, each observatory has a cafe and a souvenir shop. The place is quite pleasant, with plenty of space to walk around and admire the view, as well as a cafeteria and a souvenir shop where I bought several postcards and other items.

Note for Hello Kitty fans: there are pens and Hello Kitty figurines with mini replicas of various Tokyo towers, a treasure for collectors of the famous kitty.

Free Maps and Tourist Information

If you want maps and information about Tokyo, be sure to stop by the tourist information office on the first floor of the building.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Where is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building located?

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. It is known for being a prominent viewpoint of the city.

What is the height of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building?

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has a height of 243 meters.

Who was the architect of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building?

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was designed by architect Kenzo Tange and was completed in 1991.

What can be seen from the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building?

From the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city of Tokyo, including Mount Fuji on clear days.

One of the ultimate free observation decks with views

Our visit to one of the two observation decks of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was simply wonderful! We were completely impressed by the panoramic views offered by this architectural gem of the Japanese capital.

Exploring one of the free observation decks in the twin towers of the building left us breathless. From there, we could admire the most stunning views of Tokyo and its surroundings, although unfortunately Mount Fuji did not show itself on this occasion. However, we knew it was a possibility, and it did not diminish the excitement of the experience.

Additionally, the ease of reaching the observation deck, going through the security check, and riding the elevator allowed us to fully enjoy this adventure.

If you are planning your trip to Japan, we invite you to read our complete guide and tips on Tokyo for more travel advice and recommendations.

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Olga Grijalva

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.