- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
- The Shinjuku Nomura Building
- The Shinjuku NS Building
- Make a day of it
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
When it comes to observatories, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (“Tocho” for short) is simply the best deal in town. Each of the building’s towers has a free observatory complete with shopping stalls and cafes to compliment stunning panoramic views of Tokyo.
Visit both observatories, and you’ll get an unparalleled sense of perspective on the city. From Odaiba to Tokyo Skytree, you can see it all. In fact, on a clear day you can even view sights such as the monolithic Landmark Tower in Yokohama and Mt. Fuji, jutting out from among the mountains on the western horizon.
If you are an aspiring photographer, try to arrive just before sunset to catch the breathtaking ways in which the evening sun reflects off of the endless sea of buildings that make up the Tokyo-Yokohama Metropolitan area.
The Shinjuku Nomura Building
Several of the skyscrapers in Nishi-shinjuku have restaurants on their upper floors, and the Nomura Building is no exception. Many of these buildings used to have small observatories as well, but as of this writing, the Sumitomo Building has closed its observatory, and the Center Building has closed its Sky Restaurants and the observatory that they surrounded.
The Shinjuku Nomura Building features a small westward-facing observatory on the 50th floor. Although the view is somewhat limited, at 200 meters, it’s one of the highest places you can get in Nishi-shinjuku without sprouting wings and taking to the skies. Here you can enjoy amazing views of Nishi-shinjuku, Nakano, and distant mountain ranges (including Mt. Fuji). Or, you can simply kick back and watch the ebb and flow of people, cars, and trains as they seamlessly flow through the city below.
If you’d like to experience views in different directions, you’ll need to dine at one of the restaurants on the 49th or 50th floors. This isn’t a bad thing, however, as the lunch deals at these high-quality restaurants are unbeatable. Arrive as early as possible (typically 11:30 a.m.) and ask for a window seat for an unforgettable (and affordable) dining experience.
The Shinjuku NS Building
What this building lacks in height, it makes up for in uniqueness. Famous for its hollowed-out interior and for housing one of the world’s largest pendulum clocks, the NS Building is one of Tokyo’s architectural wonders. Head to the 29th floor and look for small alcoves on the north and south sides of the building for some great photo ops. The north side offers a picture-perfect view of the historic Shinjuku Sumitomo Building and its surroundings, while the south side offers glimpses of Meiji Jingu, Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, and more.
Make a day of it
The beauty of Nishi-shinjuku and its observatories is that they are all within easy walking distance of each other. At a brisk pace, you could cover everything in this article in under three hours. I’d recommend taking your time, though. Do some souvenir shopping in Tocho, have a delicious lunch in the Nomura Building, and swing by the NS Building for a coffee break. The Tokyo cityscape is a feast for the eyes—an experience not to be rushed, but savored.
For smartphone users, please click the link below to go to the Tadaima Japan website which includes additional location details:
3 Free Ways to Get a Bird’s-Eye View of Shinjuku and Beyond