Tokyo: Towering Tokyo Skytree
One of the most famous tourist attractions of any city is their tallest structures. In Tokyo, its tallest structure is the Tokyo Sky Tree (東京スカイツリー), towering at 630 meters above ground. It is also the second tallest structure in the world, only surpassed by Burj Khalifa (829.8m) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is probably among the first recognizable Tokyo structure you will be seeing when arriving in Tokyo.
It is late afternoon when we visited the site. The tower complex is beside the stream leading to the Sumida River, and some boats can be seen passing by. The stream at the tower complex was also turned into a park, which is filled with people and gives you a nice view of the tower from below, perfect for photo-op. There are some group of women walking around, dressed in traditional Japanese kimono/yukata and some of them can grant you to be taken photos with them.
A commercial complex is located at the tower base, some of them are convenience stores, usual coffee shops, and a dog café. It is also here where Tokyo Skytree souvenirs can be purchased.
We were unable to go to the observation decks above ground due to its hefty admission fees (3,000 yen minimum regular ticket price). But we’re still satisfied with the nice views at the ground level.
Tokyo Skytree was built primarily as a new site for television broadcasting. Previously, the main broadcasting tower in the Kanto Plain was the Tokyo Tower. While it used to broadcast analog television signals, the transition to digital television broadcasting became problematic: the tower’s height of 332.9m, added by the surrounding high-rise buildings, prevented its television signals to cover the entire region.
Construction began in 2008 and was finally opened to the public in May 2012. As with other buildings in Japan, Tokyo Skytree is designed to withstand a very large earthquake. Two observation decks and a restaurant is also built at the main tower.
Like its predecessor, the broadcasting facilities in the Tokyo Skytree is shared by the national public broadcaster NHK and six other commercial broadcasters, as well as a number of radio stations.
The name of the tower was obtained from suggestions from the public, after which a nationwide vote was held. The second most voted name was the “Tokyo Edo Tower”.
The entrance to the Tokyo Skytree is on the 4th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town, which spans the area between Tokyo Skytree Station (formerly known as Narihirabashi Station) on the Tobu Isesaki Line, and Oshiage Station on the Asakusa Subway Line, Hanzomon Subway Line, and Keisei Oshiage Line. Alternatively, it is a 20-minute walk across the Sumida River from Asakusa.
First observatory: 2060 yen
Second observatory: additional 1030 yen
(an additional 510 yen is charged for time-specific advance reservations)
For foreign tourists only:
Fast Skytree Single Ticket (first observatory): 3000 yen
Fast Skytree Combo Ticket (first and second observatories): 4000 yen
If you’re planning to buy a Tokyo Skytree related souvenir, drop by at Asakusa souvenir shops wherein the items are sold cheaper than the souvenir shops located below the tower.