Whenever I visit a new place, I like to find a good vantage point from which to look out over the city. This desire is shared by many travelers, and cities know that–many of them designate a specific tower as an attraction.
Tokyo, being a huge metropolis, wasn’t satisfied with just one. You can visit the Tokyo Skytree or the Tokyo Tower. Each one has its own special attraction, but I can’t really tell you about them, because the closest I got was photographing them from a nearby street.
Instead, let me tell you about the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shibuya.
For the unbeatable price of free, you can go up to the 45th floor of one of the towers of the building actually housing Tokyo’s government offices. You can access these heights from 9:30 AM to 11 PM, though one of the towers closes earlier, at 5:30 PM. The observatories have a nearly 360 view of Tokyo, as well as cafes and restaurants if you are done gawking and just want to chill.
You are completely surrounded by glass–no outside platforms or anything. However, that means there’s also nothing to obstruct your panorama of the city (except for the glare of lights on glass).
It’s kind of crazy, looking out at the sea of tall buildings and sparkling neon lights…it looked like a scene from some futuristic movie. I half-expected some flying cars swooping in between the skyscrapers ala Blade Runner or Fifth Element. It really drives home just how many people are living and working in this city, and why it’s such a huge center for trade, commerce, and culture.
If you have time, try and visit both during the day and at night. It’s free after all! The lines will look long and daunting, but they move fairly quickly.
What’s your favorite city tower?