Tokyo Metropolitan Gov. Building 東京都庁舎

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a tall distant building just west of Shinjuku station in Shinjuku's skyscraper district. Within this building are all the government offices which run all the affairs within the Tokyo district 東京都, which includes all the small towns and cities outside of the metropolis, too. This "building" is split into 2 separate large buildings, building number 1 and building number 2, and the assembly building, too.

Building No. 1 is the more prominent and the taller of the two. It's also the one mostly featured in the following photos. It has 48 floors, 3 of which are under ground. At floor 33, the building separates into 2 separate towers, which gives it its distinct look.

Within Metro Building No. 1 on Floor 45 of both towers is an observation deck. It's one of the semi-lesser known sightseeing locations in Tokyo. Most people are concerned with Tokyo Skytree, or Tokyo Tower. Unlike those locations, the observation decks on both towers are completely FREE to anyone, and it's open most days out of the year. Building No. 1 was actually the tallest building in Tokyo, at 243 meters until 2006. Floor 45 is at 202 meters.

Dirk, Zach and I visited the building on a Sunday, so there were almost no people around the building. There were some tourists, but it was mostly vacant.

When entering the Metro Building square, the assembly building looks like a command ship, and it's main assembly room watches over everything that happens in the area. It's offices form arms that reach out and surround the entire area, hugging it, and watching over it. It's an odd feeling.

I love the architecture of this place. If the surrounding building didn't create enough claustrophobia, Metro Building No. 1 shoots straight into the sky, and peers back down at you.

We went inside and had our choice between visiting the North or South tower first. We chose the North for some reason. After going through some light security, we were whisked directly to the top floor by special elevator. We arrived, and were given a great view of the city.

Here is the view further west.

The weather was very nice and clear. It was not clear enough to see Mt. Fuji, though, unfortunately. I think the map said it would appear above that large soccer field near where the two photos meet. I'll try to visit Skytree in December when the air tends to be more clear, and see if I can get a photo.

Tokyo is such an urban sprawl. Even in the visible distance, you can't see any mountain or line of nature. It's all buildings, with the occasional patch of green for a park. I totally get Sim City vibes.

It's amazing how much stuff is in Tokyo. It just continues and continues. The choking hold of humanity. It has creeped over all the available space, and now must ascend into the sky to make room for more and more people. There are so many buildings, with so many tiny apartments. Enough to fit 12 million people.

The view to the west was most interesting. To the north, you really only got a good view of the buildings next door. Most of the view was taken up by them. Unfortunately, the view to the east was totally obstructed by the restaurant in the tower. Only paying customers were allowed to enter and take part of the view. pfft.

Looking south, you could really only see the south tower. Inside the south observatory, you could totally see other visitors looking around, and taking photos.

This gave me an idea. I asked Dirk and Zach to stay in the north tower. I left the north tower, and went back to the street level. I went over to the south tower, and was able to take their photo from across the void between the towers.

Success! It was really easy to make them out. And even though I forgot my telephoto lens, they still showed up quite clear.

The south tower was much more barren and vacant than the north tower. Both in terms of visitors, and businesses. There was a restaurant, but it was in the center of the observatory. It wasn't blocking any of the views. From here, you actually had a full 360 degree view of Tokyo. In my opinion, this made the south observatory much superior. Way more space, and view. I don't know why everyone else flocked to the north tower.

Here's the view the north tower did not have (for free). First to the east. Second to the south.

You can see most major areas of Tokyo in the above panoramic photos. Both Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree in the photos, too. Here are some close ups of those two landmarks.

Tokyo Tower is in the above photo off to the right. It's a little difficult to see as it blends into the surrounding buildings.

Below, Tokyo Skytree is very easy to pick out of the metropolitan landscape.

Below us lie the assembly building.

It still grabbed Metro Building No. 1, but it seemed so small. It's grasp much smaller and weaker than before.

Finally, the larger view to the right (or below) is part of the Shinjuku area, from the Metro Building complex back to the station.

That was pretty much it. After viewing the tremendous landscape, we descended back to the street. Zach bought a potato from a street vendor. And we continued back to the station, to do some light shopping before I had to return to Takayama.

Man... I really love the architecture of Metro Building No. 1. It's so classic, clean, and straight. It's really not that old either. Construction of Metro 1 finished in 1990.

It's so weird that it was the tallest building in this massive metropolis at only 45 floors. Isn't that the same height as the U.S. Bank building in Milwaukee? Milwaukee is no where near this population. Though, maybe buildings could only be a certain height due to earthquakes, or something. Looking through those photos, most buildings don't clear more than 10, 15 or 20 floors. Tons of small buildings, but few skyscrapers.

Next time I get a chance to go to Tokyo, maybe I'll try to go to some other buildings, too, as well as Skytree. It's certainly more interesting than going to stores and buying crap.

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