Ever since its construction completed in May 2012, Tokyo Skytree has been a defining feature of the skyline of everyone’s favorite anime metropolis! Towering over other buildings at an impressive 634m (2,080 ft), it has become an iconic image that can be seen in the background of basically any modern anime set in Tokyo, and it represents Japan’s ingenuity and industrial spirit. We’re here to give you the rundown on this impressive structure, which is a fully functioning broadcast tower, as well as a rockin’ tourist attraction!
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Tokyo Skytree is considered a must-see by most guidebook standards, and it’s easy to see why. As the world’s tallest telecommunication tower, the impressive structure is visible from almost anywhere in the city on a clear day, practically begging to be visited. Architecturally, Skytree blends aspects of traditional Japanese aesthetic with modern, high-tech safety measures. The building is equipped with a center vibration column of reinforced concrete and a mass dampener that reduces the energy generated by earthquakes by up to 50%, which is essential for a building in Japan that towers above the rest! At night the tower is illuminated, with different colored lights depending on the time of year, like pink during cherry blossom season.
One thing essential for those hoping to enjoy the magnificent views offered by the Skytree is patience; as one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Tokyo (one of the densest metropolis on the planet!) the lines can be quite long, especially during peak vacation times, like the Golden Week holiday in spring, or summer vacation. There is a queue for the elevators up to the observation deck you’re visiting, as well as a line for the elevators back down to the ground floor. The elevators themselves are also quite a marvel – not only do they make the trip up faster than one would anticipate, but they are marvelously decorated to represent the unique beauty of each of Japan’s four seasons.
The TEMBO Deck offers visitors an unbelievable 360-degree view of the Tokyo skyline! The best time of year to go is Winter since the crisp winter air is clearer – you can even see Mount Fuji. Although the sky tends to be hazier in hotter times throughout the year, if you plan on going in the spring or summer, try to get up to the deck of your choice as early as possible, to beat the crowds and get the best possible view. Obviously, avoid heading out on rainy or cloudy days, as the view will be greatly diminished.
The Skytree has shops on the 1st, 5th, and 345th floor, and are open from 8:00 AM – 9:30 or 9:45 PM. The shop on the 1st floor is the largest of the three and has general goods, both Japanese and Western sweets, stationery, clothing, and more. It’s also the best place to get official Skytree merchandise to commemorate your visit, including goods for the adorable Sorakara-chan, Skytree’s official mascot. The shop on the 5th floor offers visitors premium items from some of the Japan’s most popular luxury brands, and the shop on the 345th floor has limited-edition goods for visitors to remember their trip with! Photos services are available on the 340th floor, the 350th floor, and the 445th floor, and are ¥1300 (about $12), although birthday visitors can get the service for free! There are also cafes with selections of snacks and beverages to enjoy on the 340th and 350th floor, and a gourmet restaurant, Sky Restaurant 634 (Musashi, in Japanese) on the 345th floor for visitors looking to enjoy a meal as fantastic as the view!
It’s also worth noting that Skytree occasionally has different, themed events throughout the year. These are usually related to different holidays or cultural events around Japan, such as cherry blossom viewing in spring, or New Year's in winter, but they also sometimes tie into our favorite shows! For example, in April 2017, Skytree collaborated with the hit series Attack on Titan, and was decked out in larger-than-life murals and character statues, and offered special, AoT-themed snacks and goods. Check in when you plan on visiting to see what events Skytree has in store! Head in early to get the best view, and make a day of it by enjoying the nearby shops and facilities.
Tokyo Skytree is more than worth a visit, whether it’s your first time in Tokyo, or you’re a resident. When the weather is perfect, it offers visitors an unbelievable view of the city and the surrounding landscape, which means that even though the wait times can be a bit intimidating, you definitely won’t regret it. With tons of different shops and attractions in Skytree Town, it’s an easy place to spend the whole day, regardless of whether you’re on your own, with a group of friends, or with the whole family. It might not be as directly related to anime as some of our past Hot Spots, but it plays such an important role in the landscape of the city and the identity of its residents that it would be a missed opportunity to not go.