The panoramic observatory of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office is located at the last floor on each of the building's towers. Inside, there is a small souvenirs store as well as a café, accessible by an elevator directly from the ground floor. It takes 55 seconds to reach the top. The free observatory is located 202 meters high, at the 45 floor and offers a view on the whole Tokyo. If the weather is clear, you may also have a view on the Mount Fuji.
During the night, it is the occasion to shoot very nice pictures but it is hard to really realize the complete skyline of the city. During the day, it allows a better understanding of how far the city spreads and its incredible density.
The Metropolitan Building has been designed by the famous architect Kenzo Tange, elevated from 1988 to 1991. It is built to better resist earthquakes such as the one from 1923, and therefore did not undergo any damages the 11th of March 2011. The two towers are 243 meters high.
First sunrise of the year
Few know about it, but the Shinjuku city hall is a privileged spot to admire the first rising sun of the year (初日の出 / hatsu hinode). Since 1995, each January 1st, from 5:30 to 7:30 am, the South observatory of the famous building opens its doors to only 600 privileged visitors.
To enroll, there is a strict procedure to follow, which reminds Kyoto Saihoji’s: one has to send a postal card with a return envelope (往復葉書 / ôfuko hagaki) including the following information:
展望室 [meaning "observatory"]
[name in roman alphabet + katakana if possible]
[number of people in the group - 1 to 4]
... as well as your address on the return envelope; all to be sent to the City Hall address (from Japan it costs 104¥):
日本 JAPAN [if needed]
Your mailing must be made for a receiving day in Shinjuku on December 8th at the latest, being the date of the lottery choosing the happy elected people. A response is then sent to them via their return envelope during the second half of December.
If you do not have this chance, the South and North observatories open to the public from 7:30 am the first day of the year.
How to get to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
By train -- JR Yamanote line, Shinjuku station, West exit then 5-10 minutes walk
By taxi -- Address: 2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Location reachable with the JRP : order your Japan Rail Pass (from ~US$ 265)
South Observation Deck: 9:30 – 17:30 (until 23:00 second and fourth monday of every month). Closed first and third tuesday of every month. This Observatory is currently closed
North Observation Deck: 9:30 – 23:00. Closed second and fourth monday of every month
Last entry 30 minutes before closing
Clesed 29-31 December and 2-3 January
How long / when to visit
Ideal a little before sunset
東京都庁舎 (Tôkyô-to Chôsha)
In English: "Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Decks"
Due to remodeling work, South Observatory will remain closed until spring of 2019