Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
2-chōme-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 163-8001, Japan
|⏰ Opening Hours
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
Find it on google maps
What is Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building?
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, also known as Tocho, stands proudly as an iconic landmark in the bustling city of Tokyo. This imposing structure isn't just a feast for the eyes—it's also the administrative center where the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducts its important daily business, overseeing the complex mechanisms that keep one of the world’s largest cities running smoothly. With its unique and impressive architecture, the building has also become a popular attraction for both tourists and locals.
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Designed by architect Kenzo Tange and completed in 1991, the building consists of a complex of three structures each taking on a distinct function. The most recognizable feature is the pair of 48-story towers that stretch 243 meters into the sky, making it one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo. The towers have observation decks that are free to the public, which provide panoramic views of Tokyo and, on clear days, the sacred Mount Fuji in the distance. The building was designed to resemble a computer chip, a nod to the technological prowess of Japan, and incorporates elements of traditional Japanese culture in its architectural details.
History of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building celebrates a history that reflects Tokyo's growth and modernization. Before its construction, the headquarters of the Tokyo government was located in the Yurakucho District since 1957. However, as Tokyo expanded rapidly, the government recognized the need for a larger, more modern facility to house its administrative functions.
Renowned architect Kenzo Tange, who played a pivotal role in Japan's post-war reconstruction and modern architectural movement, was commissioned to design the new building. His vision was to create a structure that could withstand the frequent earthquakes that shake Japan—a feature incorporated through the use of flexible structural frames and deep foundations.
Construction began in 1988 and was completed three years later in 1991. It was the tallest building in Japan at the time of its completion and immediately became a symbol of Tokyo’s resurgence and modernity, with its avant-garde design standing out amidst the city's skyline. The building's presence signaled a new era for Tokyo’s government, providing an upgraded space reflective of the city’s status on the world stage.
Why is Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Important?
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building holds significance for several reasons. Firstly, as the central hub for Tokyo's administration, it is pivotal in the governance and planning of the city. Housing a multitude of offices, it is the epicenter of decision-making for policies that affect the lives of nearly 14 million residents.
From an architectural perspective, the building represents a landmark achievement in design and engineering, showcasing Japan's ability to blend high-tech efficiency with cultural aesthetics. It's a monument of resilience, designed to endure the earth-shaking realities of the region with grace and strength. This building encapsulates Tokyo's spirit of innovation, resilience, and respect for tradition—all key elements in understanding the city's identity.
Moreover, for visitors, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building offers an educational and cultural experience. By visiting the observation decks, people gain not only a physical but also a metaphorical perspective on Tokyo's vastness and the intricate urban sprawl that characterizes this megacity. It is a place where one can gaze out and reflect on both the history and the future of Tokyo.
Things to Do & See at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
When visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, a trip to the observation decks is an absolute must. Located in each tower, they provide breathtaking views of Tokyo's skyline. On a clear day, as I mentioned before, you can see Mount Fuji rising majestically in the distance—a truly humbling sight. The decks also have souvenir shops and cafes, where you can enjoy a leisurely beverage while taking in the scenery.
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But it’s not just about the views. Infused with cultural and historical insights, the building regularly hosts exhibitions and events in its assembly hall and galleries. These events can give you a deeper understanding of Tokyo's culture, history, and contemporary issues. Plus, you might even get the chance to observe metropolitan assembly sessions, providing a glimpse into Japan's political proceedings.
On the first floor, you'll find a tourist information center staffed with multilingual guides. They offer valuable advice on what to do in Tokyo and can assist you in making the most of your trip. And don’t forget the building’s exterior—the intricate design and nighttime illumination make for exquisite photo opportunities, especially for architecture enthusiasts and photographers seeking to capture Tokyo’s essence.