I do enjoy climbing tall things to get a good view of where I am and before I came to Tokyo I’d planned to go up either the Tokyo Tower (333 metres) or the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (243 metres).
My Google map is here.
Unbeknownst to me both these sights had now been eclipsed by the Tokyo Skytree www.tokyo-skytree.jp which at 654m is the world’s highest tower (the second is the Canton Tower in Guangzhou at 600m). Although there are a few tall buildings in Tokyo, they usually can’t go too high because of the threat of earthquakes, but the Skytree employs state-of-the-art engineering to overcome this problem.
There are two levels for public access, one at 350m, and another at 450m, but the top of the tower reaches 654m.
It’s not cheap, the first level cost a little over Y2000 (£14) in 2016 and I could have paid another Y1000 or so to go to the next one, but the view was so good on the first level that I didn’t feel that I needed to.
From up here you can see Greater Tokyo stretching off in all directions, only limited by the bay on one side.
You can also make out the tall towers of Shibuya and Shinjuku which stand out from other neighbourhoods.
Even Mount Fuji was just about discernible, although it’s probably better to come earlier in the day before the pollution haze rises to get a clearer view of it.
My personal video here.
Looking down at the base of the tower through the plate glass window is quite vertigo inducing as well.
I’ve developed a penchant for eating in high places (see my Hong Kong post) but the café didn’t have much on offer except sandwiches and Karē Raisu (Japanese curry rice) which I’m not particularly fond of. I decided to try it again to see if I still feel the same. It’s okay as a sauce to make plain rice a bit more interesting, but there are many other things I’d rather have. The view from the cafe was great though.
So the Skytree is an entertaining if slightly pricey tourist experience, but one I’d recommend if you’re not on a budget. If you are then go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku which is free.
I’d like to come back another time after nightfall and see the city lit up. Or earlier in the day to get a clearer view of Fuji. At midday it’s a bit too busy for my tastes.
Down to Yokohama next!