As a foreigner who has been living in Tokyo for several years, there are some special places that strike you the moment you see them. They become a symbol of Tokyo and a part of your life in the city. For me, Tokyo Tower is definitely one of those places.
I have been to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a really lovely and charming place. Tokyo Tower has a very similar shape – they are like twins, with the Eiffel Tower being the first-born. Built in 1958, Tokyo Tower is a communications tower inspired by its big brother in France. But you shouldn’t regard Tokyo Tower as a copycat because it is indeed very unique and has much to offer.japan
Firstly, there is the coloring. Tokyo Tower is striped red and white (Actually, it`s “international orange” and white). How cute is that? Without a doubt, Tokyo Tower stands out in the megacity of Tokyo. It is the navel of central Tokyo and wherever you go, the tower is a great landmark that you can use to orient yourself if you get lost.
A fantastic view on the city
Tokyo Tower is also slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower: an easy to remember 333 meters. There is a two-story Main Observatory, located at 150 meters and a smaller Special Observatory at 250 meters height. You should definitely visit the top – preferably at different hours of the day – to take a glance at Tokyo’s fantastic skyline. On clear days especially in the winter season, you can actually see the neighboring prefecture Chiba (where Narita Airport is located) since there aren’t many big buildings blocking the view of Tokyo Bay.
I also enjoy peeking straight down on the buildings surrounding the tower. There is Zōjō-ji – a Buddhist temple that belonged to the Tokugawa shogunate and moved to its present location in 1590.
From above, you can see the beautiful roof construction of the main building as well as the layout of a classical Buddhist temple area. Behind the main building is an old graveyard. Actually, there are a couple of those typical Japanese graveyards around the tower, which, as a Westerner, I find really interesting.
Also, you should take the chance to have a closer look at the steel construction of the tower with its “industrial” touch, especially at night when its orange color seems to glow in the dark.
Only in Japan: something that might surprise you!
Another surprise is a shrine located ON the tower. You can pray for health and good luck or even write your wishes on a wooden plate (ema) in the shape of a heart or of Tokyo Tower. Traditionally, you would then hang your ema close to the shrine for the gods to hear you better. But of course, if you want you can take it home as a unique souvenir, too.
There is also a ton of other cute Tokyo Tower and Japan-related souvenirs at the lower observation deck and at “Foot Town” at the base of the tower.
Here in Tokyo, there are several observatories to visit – each completely different. But all things considered, I would always recommend visiting Tokyo Tower, because it is the most charming of all. With its cool “retro” feel and fun events all year round, it is definitely worth a visit during your stay in Tokyo!
|Minato-ku 4-2-8 Shiba Park|
|● Metropolitan Subway Oedo Line|Akabanebashi Station Akabanebashi Gate| 5 minute walk
● Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line|Kamiyacho Station Ext No.1| 7 minute walk
● Metropolitan Subway|Mita Line Onarimon Station Exit No. A1| 6 minute walk
● Metropolitan Subway Asakusa Line| Daimon Station Exit A6| 10 minute walk
● JR Hamamatsucho Station| North Exit | 15 minute walk
|Admission: 9:00-22:00 (Ticket sale – 21:00)|
|Tokyo Tower Homepage|
● Rooftop Highball Garden
Date 18/3/2016 〜11/9/2016
Time 17:00～22:30 (LO・22:00) ※29/4～1/5・3/5～5・7/5～8/5 from 12:00～
Place Tokyo Tower Foot Town rooftop
●Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia
Date 13/11/2015 – 3/4/2016
Time 18:00–22:00 ※Starting time will be changed due to sunset time.
Place Main Observatory second floor
Fee ¥900 (Observatory entry fee)
●Tokyo Tower Sakura Easter
Date 1/3/2016 ー 5/8/2016
Place Tokyo Tower Main Observatory