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The Best Tokyo Viewing Platform?

The Best Thing To Do in Funabori

tower hall Funabori

A few days ago we took a trip to Tokyo DisneySea which saw us spending a little time near Funabori train station in Edogawa. Because of the proximity on the map to Tokyo DisneySea, we thought this would be an ideal place to stay, but as we later found out it was still a rather long and impractical journey.

Anyway, we had about an hour or so to kill while we waited for the Airbnb check-in and after a quick google search of things to do in Funabori, and things to do near Funabori station, I came across Tower Hall Funabori Observation Deck.

Not only is it free (and I love finding free things to do!), but it’s also right outside the station. So if you’re looking for a free viewing platform in Tokyo or a free alternative to the Tokyo Sky Tree, I highly recommend this one.

That said, I’m not entirely sure why you’d find yourself out in the sleepy ward of Edogawa in Tokyo, but if for some reason you do and you want a free view of Tokyo, this is the place to come!

tower hall Funabori
Literally opposite Funabori Station

When I say this is close to Funabori Station, I mean it was extremely close. You can just about make out the white station sign on the right-hand side of this photo, and the entrance to the Tower Hall building (where the observation deck is) is that curved building on the left-hand side. Easy!

How To Find Funabori Tower Hall Observation Deck

The only information I could find about the location of the Tower Hall Funabori Observation Deck was that it was in Tower hall. Had I actually opened my eyes and read the floor guide that’s clearly displayed outside the building, I wouldn’t have had such a tough time!

Tokyo free view deck
Both floor guides were clear as day, though for some reason I casually walked past them…

If you’re inclined to be in your own little world when you’re in Japan (something I do regularly) here’s an up-close picture so you’ll know when you’re there. Clear as day, 7th floor!

Funabori tower hall observatory
Side note, the light in Japan is just awesome!

Ok, so once you’ve managed to get into the building, I’d recommend heading straight to the elevator. You’ll likely get the vibe you’re in the wrong place (it seems very business-like and bureaucratic), but trust me, you’re all good.

Funabori tower hall observatory
It was very Christmassy when we got there! Strangely this government building was one of the most Christmas-themed buildings I’ve seen so far in Japan…

When we got there, we used the escalators to the 6th floor, and then took the elevator to the 7th. Again, I really don’t know why, but it definitely wasn’t the easiest way to find the Tower Hall Funabori Observation Deck. Hop straight in the elevator to the 7th floor which will spit you out next to the Tokyo observatory elevator.

Funabori tower hall observatory
mmm, inspiring!

Once you arrive on the 7th floor, you’re met with yet more corridors that really don’t make you feel like you’re about to view the Tokyo skyline, but I quite liked that about the building. It didn’t feel touristy at all, and I knew I was doing something that few people who come to Japan for a holiday would get to experience.

funabori tower hall observation tower entrance
With a maximum of 20 people allowed at the top at any one time, you’ll never feel like it’s packed.

Finally, at the end of that corridor, we found the Observation deck entrance. As with most attractions in Japan you’ll have to get your temperature taken (a quick scan on your wrist) but other than that, it was a quick and painless experience. 4 of us got in the elevator and shot up to the Funabori Tower Hall Observation Deck.

free views in Tokyo
Not bad for a free view of the Tokyo skyline

The views you get up here are outstanding. If you don’t want to spend the money on Tokyo Skytree or are looking for things to do in Edogawa, then I highly suggest putting this on your list. There is some suggestion that you’re looking across the Tokyo Skyline rather than down onto it at some of the higher viewing platforms, but I don’t particularly think that makes much of a difference.

Tokyo free views
Can you spot Fuji?

Tower Hall Funabori may only be 115m high, but it still gives you absolutely incredible views of just about everything Tokyo has to offer. On a clear day, you can see Mount Fuji, the Tokyo Skytree, and Disneyworld Tokyo. This incredible view over Tokyo is another reason this attraction is one of my favorite things to do near Funabori Station. To give you a practical sense of its height, here are a few photos I took facing directly downwards from the Tower Hall Funabori Viewing Deck.

Funabori tower hall view
Pachinko parlor on the left, and a GIGO arcade on the right. The latter of which has a lot of gambling-based machines in the kid’s section for some reason…
tower hall Funabori view
tower hall Funabori view
A few of the last ginkgo trees of the year.
Funabori tower hall view

Even though we visited on the 24th of December, the sun was shining and it did get pretty hot up there. There isn’t too much space to move around when it’s busy, though I’m sure the maximum of 20 people allowed on the platform stops things from getting too uncomfortable.

tower hall Funabori view

The windows are plenty big enough to look through, and luckily for us photographers, we can put our cameras practically on top of the glass which limits the reflection. That’s definitely a problem when it comes to Tokyo Skytree photography, so keep that in mind.

One more thing to remember is that you cannot bring up a tripod with you. If you’ve got one on your person I’m sure you’ll be able to leave it with the staff at the bottom of the elevator, but don’t take one with you for the sole purpose of taking photos in Funabori Town Hall.

Funabori tower hall view

As you can see, the width of the Funabori viewing platform isn’t too wide, but it’s still perfectly fine with a backpack on. I can’t speak to how it would be if multiple people had backpacks like this, but one or two people were perfectly ok.

free view platform Tokyo
best free view of Tokyo

One of my favorite parts about this free Tokyo Skytree alternative is the corner windows. They not only make for some great photos but also give you some awesome panoramic views of the Tokyo Skyline.

Is Town Hall Funabori Worth It?

If you’ve got some time to kill, it’s absolutely worth it. If you’ve been to central Tokyo before and are looking to explore somewhere a little off the beaten track, it’s absolutely worth it. If you’re looking for a Tokyo Skytree free alternative, I can also easily recommend it as a choice.

It’s not the highest of all viewing platforms in Tokyo, but because it’s completely free it’s definitely one of my favorites, and one I’ll continue to recommend to people who are on a tight budget when visiting Japan.

Tower Hall Funabori Observation Deck is one of the best things to do in Funabori and Edogawa if you’ve got a bit of time to kill. Even if you just fancy venturing a little out of central Tokyo, it’s a great free alternative to the Tokyo Skytree and provides equally fantastic views. It’s not as busy, the reflections aren’t as severe, and it doesn’t cost a single yen! What more could you ask for?!

Jonny Gleason

Photographer, Magazine owner, Matcha drinker. One of these is definitely the most important, just unsure which...

Instagram: @jonny.gleason

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