Tokyo in winter is gorgeous: clear, sunny days and clean, crisp air. It was not, however, one of these clear sunny days that I decided to take photographs from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. I rolled over in bed and looked out the window on the afternoon of the mission to see murky grey clouds that threatened snow. Undeterred, I braved the weather and put far more faith in my photographic skills than proved to be justified.
I'm a bit of a geek for facts and figures, so you might want to skip the following if you find them boring; although you're here on this blog, so you're obviously after some kind of punishment.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building houses Tokyo's other important HQ - the Tokyo local government - which I am sure very efficiently looks after the 23 wards, cities, towns and villages that constitute this fair town. Designed by architect Kenzo Tange to look like a computer chip, the building consists of a complex of three structures, each taking up a city block. The tallest and most prominent of the three is the 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 other two buildings in the complex are the eight-story Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Building, including one floor below ground [below] and the Tokyo Metropolitan Main Building No. 2, which has 37 stories including three below ground [see below below].
A token search of our bags revealed nothing untoward, so we were ushered to the lift and up to the observation level in one of the towers. (It was so long ago now that I don't remember which one.) Flurries of snow danced outside the window but melted before they hit the ground. Here's a view of folk in the other tower, some freakin' rocking multi-level expressways, and the Park Hyatt Tokyo, famous from Lost in Translation (still unseen by yours truly). We went to the New York Grill for lunch and although I'm not really too excited by food and am happy just to satisfy my hunger, I was disappointed to find the food very average. The chef must have been having an off day.
Various other non-views:
The Government Building from another tall building nearby, [above] and the courtyard/walkways [below].
Aaaand... various shots from the Hyatt.
Er, the government buildings again [above]
Finally, a wee glimpse into how this city stays so immaculately clean. Grab a sponge and a bucket of water, and hang from a rope and wipe the building down by hand.