Tower Hall Funabori is definitely one of Tokyo`s lesser-known observatories. Yes, it is located in eastern corner of the city, Edogawa ward, and that might be a little far for many people, but it is somewhat unique, only 115 meters high. You look across the city rather than down on it, like at Tokyo Skytree or even Tokyo Tower. That is different, no?
As it is in the most eastern part of the city, most of Tokyo will lie to the west. That means all the interesting things in the city: 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 will be in that direction. An impressive lineup waiting for you and your camera!
And under you, two rivers, the enormous Ara and the smaller Naka meander down from the north-west. They flow right next to each other, separated by a narrow divide that has an elevated freeway on it. The rivers themselves aren’t anything special, but they do provide a welcome break in the endless sea of houses and other buildings in the area.
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 honest here , and say the north is pretty dull as it only has that mountain.
So, I’m confident in saying that the west is your attention will stay, as it has the most to see. And the dusk/night views are great. It's even possible to do long exposure photography, even though tripods are not allowed. Place your camera on the ledge windows for stability and shoot. 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 it is different. It offers a different perspective. You can see its (Japanese) website here.
How to get to Tower Hall?
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. Here is a Google map for 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.
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.