Tokyo in Pics

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A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

A night visit to the Tocho's south observatory

I think most people would agree that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (commonly known as Tocho) has the best free observatory in the city. If you are on a budget, like I often am, and don’t want to spend a lot of money going to Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Skytree, this is the place to go. The building has two towers, but I have always recommended its southern one, as it has the best views. Up until recently, it was closed due to renovations, but finally it is open again.

Looking over the skyscrapers of Nishi-Shinjuku

What can I say? The views are great. Tokyo at night always looks amazing. I mean it looks good in the day too, but nighttime for this city is the winner. For as far as the eye can see, it is a sea of light and towers. There is the occasional dark spot around, like Yoyogi Park, but not so many.

Can you see Tokyo Tower?

The views are stunning, but you need to be careful of three things here. Number one is the amount of glare from the lights inside the building can be pretty bad, so if you are going there specifically for photography, you might end up with some useless photos if you are not careful. The next is that some of the ledges are gone, and so you’ll need to work out a plan if you want to do long exposures. And finally, some of the windows I found, were really dirty which is another set of problems. None of these problems are insurmountable, you just need to prepare.

Bill Murray had a drink in that building just in front of us

But if you are there just to look and enjoy the view, not for photos, then you’ll have no problems because the views are great, awesome actually. In my case, I like all of them, but I especially like looking out over the other skyscrapers of Nishi-Shinjuku, which are literally right next you. That is fantastic. And in the distance, you’ll be able to see Tokyo Skytree! But once again, all the views are great and whatever direction you look, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them all!