Tower Hall Funabori is definitely one of Tokyo`s little secrets. Yes, I know Edogawa ward might be a little out in the boondocks for many people, but this place has something rather unique to offer. It has an observatory that is on top of a multi-purpose building (which holds offices, conference rooms, a cinema, and restaurants) and is only 115 meters high so it means you'll be looking across the city rather than down on it like you do with say, Tokyo Skytree or even Tokyo Tower. I think it is quite interesting.
From Tower Hall's observation deck you can see the entire Tokyo skyline which will be to the west and this will be the most interesting area. The view includes Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Gate bridge, Rainbow bridge, Mount Fuji, Tokyo Tower, the skyscraper district of Nishi-Shinjuku, Sunshine City in Ikebukuro and Tokyo Skytree.
And right in front of you are two rivers, the enormous Ara and the smaller Naka with lots boats traversing them. Those two rivers are right next to each other, separated by a narrow divide that has a raised freeway on it. On an especially fine day you can see all the way to Yokohama Landmark Tower!
To the south has Tokyo Disneyland and Boso Peninsula which lies on the far side of Tokyo Bay in Chiba prefecture. The east has Makuhari Messe and the Kasai area, while the far to the north you can see Mt. Tsukuba in distant Ibaraki prefecture. I think I have to honest here and say the north side is pretty dull.
It will be the western views that will hold your attention I think as they have the most to see. And as the skyline of the city is in that area, dusk/night views are also extremely good. It's very possible to do some long exposure photography there, even though tripods are not allowed. All you need to do is place your camera on the ledge that goes around the windows and that will give you some good stability. The only thing you need to know is that the ledge isn't very wide, so don't put any long zooms on it.
I doubt Tower Hall Funabori will ever be a threat to Tokyo Skytree or Tokyo Tower, but if you are after something a little different, it might just be the place for you to go. You can see its Japanese website here.
How to get to Tower Hall?
You can use the Toei-Shinjuku line to get to Funabori station. From the station to the observatory, leave via the north side and the Tower Hall Funabori is on the other side of the road. We have a Google map here to show you:
Tower Hall is open from 9am to 9:30pm, but operating times can change due to bad weather etc.
It closes over the New Year period for about a week, and in February and August it also closes for two days.
The observation deck is completely free
If you liked this article, you might also like:
Aoyama cemetery - one of the most peaceful and beautiful places to see in Tokyo;
Gotokuji - the home of Japan's Maneki Neko (or beckoning cats);
History Garage - a great place to learn a little about car history;
Imperial Palace - you won't see the Emperor, but you can see where he lives, and;
Japan Open-Air Folk House Museum - a museum about Japan's housing history.