The newest addition to the Tokyo cityscape is Tokyo Skytree, completed in February 2012. It towers above all other buildings that surround it, it claims the crown for both Tokyo and Japan’s tallest structure at 634 metres tall.
Tokyo Skytree is also the new face of the Kanto areas digital television and radio broadcasting coverage. Especially, as Tokyo Tower loses relevance being encompassed by tall skyscrapers. NHK one of Japan’s major national TV broadcasters was also a leader of the project and responsible for large contributions to the tower’s funding. They completed this in partnership with Tobu Railway and other broadcasters.
The tower is also hailed by its designers as particularly resistant to stronger tremors. The use of extensive structural and seismic proofing has and oil dampers mean they can absorb up to 50% of the energy generated by an Earthquake.
Climbing the Tallest Structure in Japan
When it initially opened, tickets for climbing Skytree were sold out for first two months. There were even reports of people waiting up to a week before the opening to experience the view of Japan’s new peak.
These days the line for climbing the tower varies by day and season. My last climb approximately 8 months ago still meant I had to wait in queue for 30 minutes. Mind you, this was on a weekday in the afternoon. Furthermore, as Japan and particularly Tokyo’s tourism boom continues to grow, more tourists are flocking to the site for their own experience.
There are a few pricing options for climbing the tower. For a regular ticket to the 350m lower deck, you have pricing options starting at 620 yen for children aged 4 years+ and 2,060 yen for adults. If you wish to continue up to the higher 450m deck, children over 4 will need an extra 310 yen or adults an additional 1,030 yen. People with disabilities are entitled to half price but will need to present appropriate ID, and children 3 years and under are free.
The express pass allows people to skip the queue save time by going directly to the first 350m or second 450m tower. Pricing for the 350m deck is 3,000 yen for ages 12 and over, while ages 4 – 11 are 1,500 yen. Pricing for both decks is 4,000 yen for 12 years and above or 2,000 yen for children 4 – 11 years old.
To access the tower you will need to enter via the Skytree ticket counter located on the 4th floor.
Within the Tokyo Skytree complex, you have Tokyo Skytree Town which is the main shopping plaza. You also have a range of attractions including the Sumida Aquarium, the Planetarium and the Postal Museum. The site also hosts a range of events throughout the year and varies from season to season.
The Sumida Aquarium located on the 5th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town and occupies both level 5 and 6. The entrance and exit is located on the 5th floor, with the majority of zones accessible via the 6th floor. There are several shows that occur throughout each day too. Pricing starts at 600 yen for children and 2,050 yen for adults. Annual Passports are also available.
The Planetarium known as ‘Tenku’ can be found on the 7th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town and is a fully immersive show. The facilities were recently refurbished in November 2017 to optimise the audiovisual experience. Multilingual audio services are available for some sessions in English, Korean and Chinese. Pricing for children starts from 900 yen and adults from 1,500 yen.
The Postal Museum located on the 9th floor of the Skytree Solamachi building. It is a historical portal which explores the past of Japan’s postal and communications services. It opened recently in March 2014 and is one of the newer additions to the site. Pricing starts at 300 yen for adults and 150 yen for students.
Tokyo Skytree Town is the neighbouring shopping and restaurant area which is home to more than 300 stores, has a dedicated food court and restaurant area. It features key brand stores including Uniqlo, Disney, Zara, Loft and more. You can also find food favourites like KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Max Brenner.
The closest train stations to Tokyo Skytree are either Oshiage via the Asakusa or Hanzoumon lines. Tokyo Skytree station is also accessible via the Tobu Skytree line. Additional bus shuttle services are available via Ueno, Tokyo and Kinshicho stations.
For more information, you can also access the Skytree site, available in English.