In Tokyo, there are
49 buildings and structures that stand taller than 187 metres. One of the
largest is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tower. We've visited many
such city "towers" in many countries so we couldn't resist taking the elevator
to the 45th floor -- cameras ready -- to enjoy the 360 degree of Tokyo
"from the air."
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Building (Tocho) houses the headquarters of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government,
which governs the 23 wards of Tokyo, as well as the cities, towns and villages
that constitute the whole Tokyo Metropolis. It consists of a complex
of three structures, each taking up a city block. The tallest of the three
is Tokyo Metropolitan Main building No.1, a tower 48 stories tall that
splits into two sections at the 33rd floor. The building also has three
levels below ground. The design of the building was meant to resemble a
computer chip, while also evoking the look of a Gothic cathedral.
The two panoramic observation
decks, one in each tower on floor 45 (202 meters high), are free of charge
to the public and contain gift shops and cafes.
The building frequently appears
in Japanese science fiction and anime as a symbol of authority or in type
scenes depicting a futuristic or post-apocalyptic Shinjuku.
Architecture in Tokyo has largely
been shaped by Tokyo's history. Twice in recent history has the metropolis
been left in ruins: first in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake and later
after extensive firebombing in World War II. Because of this, Tokyo's urban
landscape consists mainly of modern and contemporary architecture, and
older buildings are scarce. Tokyo features many internationally famous
forms of modern architecture. Tokyo also features two distinctive
towers: Tokyo Tower, and the new Tokyo Skytree, which is the tallest tower
in both Japan and the world, and the second tallest structure in the world.
Tokyo also contains numerous parks and gardens.