Tokyo City Hall 東京都庁舎
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
New York has the Empire State Building, and Paris the Eiffel Tower. But what about Tokyo? What building represents the Japanese capital?
As a "world city," Tokyo must possess a monument recognizable by all. Tokyo Tower, and more recently the Tokyo Sky Tree at 634 meters, more or less fulfils this criterion. However, another serious candidate may also claim this title: Tokyo City Hall.
A cathedral in the land of Shinto ?
Tokyo's city hall - more commonly known as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - is in the business district of Shinjuku, west of the station. In this forest of skyscrapers, it stands out from its counterparts by its unusual shape. Indeed, its facade and two towers soaring to the heavens evokes Gothic architecture seem in European cathedrals. The only thing missing being the presence of gargoyles.
But its physical particularity does not stop with the elegance of its forms. Standing at 243 meters high, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is also one of the tallest buildings in the Japanese capital (the highest until 2006).
A privileged viewing platform
If the city hall's primary role is to administratively manage the prefecture of Tokyo, it also serves as a fantastic viewing platform for tourists thanks to its two panoramic observatories, each located at the top of the towers of the building. Accessible and free to the public, a special elevator takes us to the 45th floor in 55 seconds. At a height of 202 meters, the view is splendid. At our feet lies Shinjuku Gyoen park. In the distance is the whole megalopolis that stretches before us. On a clear day, Mount Fuji even honors is with his appearance.
Built between 1988 and 1990, it was the architect Kenzo Tange who had the privilege of overseeing the construction of the "Tokyo Metropolitan". The new City Hall then replaced the old one built in 1957 and located near Yurakucho and Ginza which was bulilt by none other then...architect Kenzo Tange!