Tokyo Skytree

May 29, 2012 · 6 comments

The Tokyo Skytree is the worlds second tallest building next to Dubai’s Burj and setting the record for the tallest tower in the world at 634metres. It was open to the public just 2 weeks ago (May 2012). The attraction had such large interest (it is primarily a broadcasting tower, but also has 2 observation decks) that a ticket lottery was held for the first month to avoid huge queues while the interest was still high. Although this isn’t my favoured lottery to win (I prefer the euromillions!), my partner won us tickets, so we was one of the first to experience Japan’s tallest building and get the highest view of Tokyo without getting inside a vehicle. This also makes me one of the first foreigners to go up there. It’s always nice being first :-)

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree merchandise

The skytree construction began on 14th July 2008, and took just under 4 years to finish. There was a slight delay in 2011 due to the Japan earthquake which bent the towers top pole, but overall it escaped unscathed. That’s pretty much as big of a test the tower can take, which shows it’s built to last. Something which was mentioned a few times walking around the Skytree. It’s certainly a big consideration. Typical skyscrapers become old, uneconomical, expensive to run, and are easily taken down to be replaced by something modern. But something as unique as the skytree needs to stand the test of time, in both construction and aesthetic appeal.

skytree inside

Skytree models made out of alternate materials

The design supposedly takes into account a lot of Japanese art combining futuristic design (inspired by the anime culture) and traditional beauty of Japan. It’s quite hard to think of an appropriate description here to sum it up. Nano-carbon looking building spike maybe? I don’t think the word nano should be associated with the skytree at all so that’s not going to take off. Anything 634 metres long is not nano. Interesting to note the height was chosen because of the ground it is on. The translation of 6 (mu), 3 (sa) and 4 (shi) means musashi, which is the old name of the region the skytree now stands. The actual skytree name was shortlisted and chosen by public vote too receiving 30% of the votes. It’s nice when something like this goes to public vote rather than a committee/company/government choosing everything.

Skytree at night.

Skytree at night from below

As for the experience. Well there’s the usual queue for tickets, pay the 2000 yen entrance fee and queue again to get in a lift (there is more than one lift) which smoothly takes you up to the 350Metre above ground observation deck. Which is pleasant and large enough to move around (unlike Kyoto tower although this of course depends on amount of people there), and even better the designers have put up a glass barrier to keep people more than arm’s length away from the outer window, which means it doesn’t have handprints all over it, a welcome change from every other tower I’ve been too! As for the view…

Skytree view 1

Skytree view 1

Skytree view 2

Skytree view 2

Skytree view 3

Skytree view 3

Skytree view 4

Skytree view 4

Skytree view 5

Skytree view 5

Skytree view 6

Skytree view 6

A clear day gives a much better experience of course. I found out the best time to go is the morning when it first opens. It doesn’t open in time to see a sunrise though. A clear day rewards the view of Mt Fuji too. In my experience with city towers, going just after rainfall is good as rain tends to clear the foggy air pollution allowing longer views. Fortunately this was the situation when I went, which may give you an idea of what you’ll see if you’re planning a trip there. Unfortunately the weather can’t be controlled though, so it’s a bit about luck and timing. I went in at 6pm in May hoping to see the city in night and day, which I got, as it’s quite a difference experience seeing the city in those 2 situations.

It’s also worth noting the main observation deck is at 350M in height, there is a second deck at 450M but this costs extra money (1000Yen as of May 2012). I wouldn’t bother with it on a bad day, but it’s worth going up if you have a clear view. It’s also worth noting that the higher deck is much smaller and more crowded, despite them charging you for the privilege. The upper deck is also a spiral ramp going around the tower. So your view alters by 5 metres depending on where you are. This doesn’t make much difference in reality though.

elevator showing 397m in height

Elevators amuse with height scale

As a travel blogger, it was my duty to go up to the higher level and spoil the fun by posting pictures of it on the internet, so here is the view from there (I timed it so I would see sunset, but it was too cloudy to enjoy that as one may hope to0). It’s worth noting the highest point to settle at is 451.2Metres, and this also gives one of the better angles of the city (as you can see Tokyo Tower, see below), however this is hugely crowded, so it’s worth walking by if you want to hang around for the sunset. I wanted to do a time lapse of the city going into nighttime but it’s quite hard to get a position free to do that.

higher view of tokyo

450M Tokyo view

450m skytree view of zojoji

Zojoji temple can be seen

skytree tower view

Natural light dropping

Tokyo tower can be seen. Time is overlaid on glass

Tokyo at night

Artificial lights rise

Tokyo nighttime shot

Night Time in Tokyo

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorna May 29, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Great pictures.

Reply

AdventureRob May 30, 2012 at 6:24 AM

Thanks :-)

Reply

Brock - Backpack With Brock May 31, 2012 at 2:19 AM

Wow, unbelievable views! Congrats on being one of the first!
Brock – Backpack With Brock´s latest blogpost – Exploring Franconia Notch State Park – New Hampshire, USA

Reply

AdventureRob May 31, 2012 at 3:42 AM

It was good but I couldn’t help but think it would be better on a clear day. I couldn’t see the curvature of the earth which is usually quite easy at that height. Still, happy I was one of the first :-)

Reply

jennifer June 9, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Wow! I was amazed. Great shot, I liked watching it. Thanks for sharing this with us. I am looking forward for more beautiful scenery.
jennifer´s latest blogpost – Alternatives to Fiverr.com

Reply

AdventureRob June 29, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Thanks Jennifer :-)
AdventureRob´s latest blogpost – Street Photography in Shinjuku, Japan

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: