Tokyo Skytree 東京スカイツリー

Before returning to the states for winter vacation, I stayed in Tokyo for a full day. One of my only goals in Tokyo was to visit Tokyo Skytree with the amazing weather for the weekend. I went there last year, but didn't take many photos. I wanted to correct that this time.

Tokyo Skytree is now the tallest free standing tower in the world. Construction finished in late 2012, and it was built to accommodate the much wider-band television broadcasts for the high definition age that Tokyo Tower could not longer support. As such, Tokyo Skytree acts as a symbol of the future. The same symbol Tokyo Tower was 55 years ago.

Skytree reaches 634 meters into the sky, which dwarfs Tokyo Tower's 333 meters. 634 is very deliberate choice. Using goroawase, the kanji of 634 六三四 can be read as mu-sa-shi, which, apparently, is the old name for the neighborhood where Skytree stands. Musashi is also the name of a famous samurai. It probably has several other meanings, too.

I wanted to get there as early as possible, since the weather was supposed to get more cloudy as the day went on. I left my hotel room around 7:30am to meet the 8:00 opening, but it took a lot longer to get there than I had thought. I finally arrived at 9am, but it was still early enough to miss the crowds. There was absolutely no line, which was astonishing to me considering the hour wait from last year. I was in the observation decks by 9:10.

The first observation deck was at a height of 350 meters, already taller than Tokyo Tower. The weather was starting to get cloudy, but the view was still amazing and clear. In fact, if you looked towards the west, the weather was clear enough to view Mt. Fuji. It was still rather feint, but totally visible.

Further up, there's a second observation tower at 450 meters, but there really isn't much difference between the two views. Both are high enough that you can see nearly all of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The view is clearly different when comparing this to Tokyo Tower. The view from Tokyo Tower was probably amazing after its construction 60 years ago. It's still amazing today, but many of the surrounding buildings have caught up to its height. It's view is one amongst the city, rather than viewing it from above.

No other building in Tokyo comes close to the height of Skytree. Every building is underneath its view. So, It truly towers over the entire city.

The special observatory wraps around the outside of the tower with a slight incline. You continue to climb until to reach the highest point in the tower. Then it starts to decline back to the return elevatory. I didn't spend too much more time in the tower after that. On my way out, the place was completely packed.

This was at 11:00am. When I arrived, two hours prior, there was absolutely no one here. Maybe the shuttle buses didn't begin operation until after 9am or something. I'm not quite sure why people wouldn't have come earlier to avoid this mess.

Outside, a few blocks away, I came across a bootleg merchandise shop. Everything looked so cheap and crappy from the window that I did not inquire.

Anyway, there you go. That's Tokyo Skytree. It's pretty neat, though quite expensive. Entrance is 2400, and an additional 1200 to go to the special observatory. I think it's worth it for a single visit, but not really for repeats.

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