When you go to Paris and you want great views, you think of the Eiffel Tower. New York, the Empire State Building. Toronto, the CN Tower. Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building…?

Ok, probably not that last one. In all likelihood, if you’re jonesing to take in the Tokyo skyline, your mind probably jumps to the Tokyo Tower (it is modeled after the Eiffel  Tower, after all). Or, if you’re already in Japan, you might think of the shiny, new Tokyo Skytree (because the Japanese are promoting the heck out of it. They have banners and ads for it EVERYWHERE, even when you’re not in Tokyo!). The latter is located within spitting distance of our hostel and had been highly praised by our sushi breakfast buddy, Javier.

So why choose the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building, you ask?


BECAUSE IT IS FREE!!! I don’t care how stunning the views those other two places offer are, at the end of the day, nothing beats free!

And you know what? When you ride up to the 45th floor, the views you get are sufficiently expansive that they belie the fact you paid nothing for them at all.


Maybe you can use some of that extra money you saved to buy an adorable souvenir or toy while you’re up there.

Steph with one of many adorable plush toys sold on the observation deck of the TMG!

But probably not this one:

With a slogan like that, will these glove-puppet friends ever experience “the pleasure”?

Access: The TMG Building is located in the Shinjuku district. If riding the Toei system, Tochomae is the nearest stop (on the Oedo line); otherwise if using Tokyo Metro , Nishi-Shinjuko on the Marunouchi line is your closest option.]

Written by: Stephenie Harrison

In another life, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Nashville, TN to pursue my doctoral degree in Psychology. That chapter of my life is now finished, but I did earn the right to demand you call me Dr. Steph (though I respond just as well to plain old Steph). I am an avid reader whose book collection is rivaled only by my many pairs of cute shoes. I also like to knit, hold impromptu karaoke parties, and try new and unusual foods. Generally not all at the same time. I also really love to learn languages, which may explain why I took 3 years of Latin in highschool. I'm turning over a new leaf, so instead of looking forward, I'm going to work on enjoying the present, so the country I'm most looking forward to is whichever one we're in right now!

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Read comments (10)

  1. August 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    Aug. 23, '12

    So, did you get the Totoro plush toy? So cute 😀 And yeah, nothing beats free when I’m travelling. I’ll be many years before I make it to Japan, but I’ll keep this in mind for future reference.

    • August 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm
      Aug. 23, '12

      Oh, Ana! I wish I could have bought the Totoro toy! But alas, backpack space is sparse and we are trying to limit our purchases to things we need, not things we want… probably a good rule otherwise I would likely have 30 cute stuffed animals by now! Seriously, everything in Japan is SO CUTE. 🙂

  2. August 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm
    Aug. 23, '12

    Great tip! Another benefit is that you can see some of the other cool buildings, rather than being IN it. When we were in NYC, we ended up going to the top of Rockefeller Center, which turned out to be a little better than the Empire state Building because we could SEE the Empire State Building. It was a little cheaper, too, with our combo MoMA ticket.

    • August 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm
      Aug. 23, '12

      Yes, I have always thought the same thing: if you are up inside a really cool building, it won’t be in any of your pictures!

      Never been to the top of the Rock or the Empire State Building while in NYC (there’s always too much to do that I always have a few things left over for subsequent trips!), but I’d want to do the Rock too! The views I have seen are pretty great, and yes, cheaper definitely counts for something in NYC!

  3. August 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm
    Aug. 23, '12

    I’m a bit worried for Mickey and Minnie and their international reputation.

    • August 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm
      Aug. 24, '12

      To say nothing of Donald & Daisy! 🙂

  4. August 24, 2012 at 9:09 am
    Aug. 24, '12

    LOL those puppet creatures are a LITTLE creepy. 😀 And I’m totally with you – free is good! There were some interesting looking buildings in your pics. I didn’t realize Japan had a building modeled after the Eiffel Tower. I’ll have to look that up.

    • August 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm
      Aug. 24, '12

      I just thought the slogan was SO funny! Case of the classic “Engrish” fail!

      Yeah, Japan has the Tokyo Tower which looks a lot like the Eiffel tower… Actually, it’s probably not a coincidence, because many Japanese people have a bit of an obsession with the French!

  5. September 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm
    Sep. 15, '12


    I’ve been reading through your posts and it sounds like you’re having an amazing time, even with a few bumps in the road (dubiously measured hike!). I hope to take a trip like this one day.

    • September 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm
      Sep. 16, '12

      Yes, SO many totoros! Was very tempted to buy one, but I am keeping my spending to a minimum, so I just had to content myself with illicit cuddles.

      And we are having a really good time! Bumps in the road happen everywhere, so we’d rather experience them somewhere like Japan than back home!

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