Tower Hall Funabori is definitely one of Tokyo`s little secrets. Yes, I know Edogawa ward is a little far 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 at Tokyo Skytree or even Tokyo Tower. It is very interesting.
On the observation deck most people spend their time looking towards the west. In that direction you can see the entire Tokyo skyline. I think it is amazing. 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. There is a lot to see and sunsets are especially beautiful.
On the same side, under the windows are two rivers, the enormous Ara and the smaller Naka. They flow right next to each other, separated by a narrow divide that has a raised freeway on it. It’s the type of place that you can photograph some interesting river traffic from time to time.
To the south is Tokyo Disneyland, and in the distance, on the far side of Tokyo Bay all the way over in Chiba is Boso Peninsula. The east has Makuhari Messe and the Kasai area. In the north is lonely Mt. Tsukuba in Ibaraki prefecture. I think I have to be honesthere , and say the north side is pretty dull as it only has that mountain.
It will be the western views that hold your attention, 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. Just place your camera on the ledge along windows, and that will give you some good stability. Be aware though, space is at a premium, 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. 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.