Tokyo is one of the largest and most exciting cities in the world. If you had a chance to see the entire city at the same time, you would grab it, wouldn’t you? You can obtain that fabulous Tokyo view, almost whenever you want, by dropping in at the free observatory at Tocho (the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office) in Shinjuku.
Looking out the huge, tall, floor-to-ceiling windows, only one-sixth of the view includes far-away mountains, buildings and the city; the remaining five-sixths is filled with the deep blue sky, or stunning orange evening glow. You will soon realize that the entire city region and her environs are totally flat. This is a big reason why Tokyo was so easily able to expand into this tremendous metropolis, beginning 400 years ago when Edo was nothing more than a tiny village situated on the bay. This flat area is actually called the Kanto Plain and it stretches into Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaragi, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Far in the distance, you can see some mountain ranges, such as the three mountains of Jomo and Nikko-renzan in the north, and Hakone and Mt. Fuji in the west.
Just like in other big cities around the world, Tokyo in the daytime is always hazy. To get a nice clear view from the observatory, which is 202 meters high (Yokohama’s Landmark Tower is 296 meters high), go there in the morning. Not only for the clear view, but also to enjoy the brilliant gradations of blue in the sky.
Sunset view—Diamond Fuji
If you visit around sunset, I recommend going to the north tower observatory because of the angle you get. The west windows will be crowded with people waiting for a dynamic sunset and a silhouette of Mt. Fuji. Early in April and September are very special seasons in that the sun sets just on top of Mt. Fuji. It looks like a diamond sparkling on the peak of this world famous mountain. We call it “Diamond Fuji”. Don’t miss it if you are lucky enough to come to Japan at that time.
All visitors have to be checked at the entrance. The guards will ask you to open your bag. Be sure not to bring any dangerous objects with you!!
After you pass through the security check, use the special elevators for each observatory room. It rises up to the 45th floor in a speedy 55 seconds (240 m/min.).
The observatory room
Both north and south observatory rooms (towers) are basically the same shape and width. Each room is 1000 meters square and the ceiling is 18 meters high. The walls are covered with huge windows and there are several benches in the center of each room. There are also some souvenir shops and cafes.