When Tokyo Skytree - one of the tallest towers on the planet – opened its doors back in May 2012, people were queuing for a week to get in. That’s one week. People were literally taking 5 days off work, just to queue, in order to experience a few hours inside the greatest tower Japan has ever seen.
British visitors Ally & Katie, 450 metres above sea level, Tokyo Skytree. Photo: David Spurr
The queues have calmed down considerably now – I only had to wait about 5 minutes between the entrance/payment counter and the elevator when I went last week – but you can see exactly why people would have queued for 7 days to get in.
Tokyo Skytree is simply magnificent. For starters, it is absolutely huge. Standing at an extremely impressive height of 634 metres, I have personally never seen anything like it.
Secondly, it has its own train station: “Tokyo Skytree” station. Furthermore, it is home to an aquarium (Sumida Aquarium), a planetarium, an ice skating rink (seasonal), and just about every single shop and restaurant you could possibly imagine. Tsukiji Fish Market, for example, Japan’s number 1 fish market, which is based in Tokyo, has twigged onto the fact that Skytree is the place to be, and has shrewdly set up a branch inside the Tree - selling very high quality sushi and sashimi.
And of course, you can go up it. Either 350 metres up towards TEMBO DECK, or 450 metres up towards TEMBO GALLERIA.
The price of a ticket from the 2nd top level (TEMBO DECK) to the top level (TEMBO
GALLERIA) is an additional ¥1,030. Photo: David Spurr
There is even a fast-track “non-Japanese person only” queue, which will get you from the entrance/payment counter to the elevator, slightly faster than the Japanese-person queue. (Although please note that the non-Japanese queue costs a little bit extra.)
“The Glass Floor” - looking down 350 metres (approx) towards the ground.
It is possible to stand on the “Glass Floor”. Photo: David Spurr
I spoke to British tourist Ally from North London (pictured above on the right, with her cousin Katie), and she admitted that she was slightly hesitant about ascending Tokyo Skytree at first, but after witnessing the spectacular views of Tokyo and beyond from the TEMBO GALLERIA (top level), she said that she had no regrets whatsoever, and was really glad she made it to the very top.
View of Tokyo and Mount Fuji at dusk, on a day with moderate visibility. Photo: David Spurr
So, if you come to Tokyo on holiday, or live in Japan, make sure to include Tokyo Skytree in your plans. Go there, have some food, take a few photos of Tokyo from 450 metres above sea level, and then go home happy. Or, in other words, eat, shoot and leave.
For more information on Tokyo Skytree: http://www.tokyo-skytree.jp/en/