Tocho Observation Decks
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tocho) in Shinjuku, Tokyo has two observation decks, one with a piano decorated by artist Yayoi Kusama.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tocho) - the Observation Decks, Shinjuku, Tokyo 都庁の展望室 新宿 東京
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (Tocho), Shinjuku, Tokyo
It splits on its 33rd floor into two separate towers, the North and the South Tower. Both towers are 48 stories tall, reaching a height of 243 meters.
On their 45th floor, at the height of 202 meters, both towers offer observation decks to visitors.
Large glass fronts offer generous views over the whole city and beyond. With a little luck, Mount Fuji can be spotted behind the far-stretching city on a clear day.
Admission to the Tocho Tower observation decks is free of charge. Expect long waiting lines at the elevators, though. It is a popular destination.
View from the Tocho South Tower Observation Deck over the Tokyo skyline towards Tokyo Sky TreeView from the Tocho South Tower Observation Deck towards snow-capped Mount Fuji on a sunny but hazy day
Piano Designed by Yayoi Kusama
After a thorough refurbishing, the South Tower Observation Deck was re-opened to the general public in April 2019.
It features a large gift shop in its center as well as a café, it offers QR Code information to anyone with a smart phone on the views all around in a multitude of languages including not only English, Chinese and Korean but also Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese, among others.
As a new attraction, a piano designed in typical polka dot fashion by famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was placed onto the South Tower observation deck floor.
Named the Tocho Omoide Piano (Tocho Memory Piano), the piano had originally been donated by Tokyo residents to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
So, it is a vintage piano, but Yayoi Kusama totally re-designed its looks. Going with the style she developed when she lived as an avant-garde artist in New York in the 1960's, she turned it into a lively spectacle of densely patterned black polka dots on a bright yellow background.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike with the piano collaborated by Yayoi Kusama, Tocho South Tower Observation Deck, Shinjuku
Re-opening Ceremony Including Piano Concert
On April 3rd 2019, a ceremony took place for the re-opening of the observation deck.
It was a sunny but somewhat hazy day. With a little blinking, snow-capped Mount Fuji could be made out beyond the vast expanse of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Central Tokyo was within full view.
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike ceremonially unwrapped the piano. She did a short speech, followed by a message from Yayoi Kusama.
Yayoi Kusama, by then 90 years old, could not make it to the ceremony in person. Her moving message, read out by a city spokeswoman, conveyed Kusama's intention to provide Tokyoites and their visitors with good memories via the piano.
At the ceremony, celebrated classical pianist Tomoya Umeda played three brief pieces on the piano: Frédéric Chopin's Polonaise N° 6, also known as Heroes, a short piece by Johann Sebastian Bach as well as Chopin's Waltz N° 1.
Tomoya Umeda's performance was enthusiastically received. It proved that not only the outside of the piano was a work of art but that the piano itself could provide the best of sounds when played by a skilled artist.
The piano will stay on the observation floor. Visitors will be free to play their own melodies on it - regardless of their levels of skills.
That is what Yayoi Kusama intended for her piano - creating special memories.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Omoide Piano, created in collaboration with Yayoi Kusama, on the Tocho South Tower Observation Deck, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Address: 2-8-1, Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tel. (switchboard): 03 5321 1111
Opening times: 9.30 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. Last admission 30 minutes before closing time.
The South Tower Observation Deck closes at 5.30 p.m. (However, it closes at 11.00 p.m. on days that the North Tower Observatory is closed.)
South Tower Observation Deck: First and third Tuesday of every month.
North Tower Observation Deck: Second and fourth Monday of every month.
When one of the days listed above falls on a national holiday, the observation decks will be open on the holiday but will close on the following day.
The observation decks will be closed during the New Year's holiday season (29th to 31st of December and 2nd and 3rd of January). Note: the observation decks are open on January 1st.
An English language website including access map and train station information: www.metro.tokyo.jp
Access is from Tocho-mae Station on the Toei Oedo Subway Line, exit A4.
Gift shop in the center of the observation deck of the South Tower of the TochoTocho seen from Shinjuku Chuo Koen Park during the cherry blossom season
See a full listing of Tokyo Museums & Art Galleries