Tag Archives: observation deck

Japan 2014 – 11 Yokohama at Night – World Porters, Cosmo World, and… the Landmark Tower! (2014-10-03) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 NOV 2015

With the Yokohama Oktoberfest beer garden now well and truly behind us, onward we marched towards the giant, neon lit ferris wheel in the distance, stopping only because we were distracted by the lights coming from the rather prominent Yokohama World Porters building in front of us.

IMG_20141003_183224 hawaiian town in yokohama world porters

As it turns out, the Japanese love for themed things truly knows no bounds, because the first floor of World Porters is of course… Hawaiian themed.

No joke. Surfing videos, tiki statues, palm leaves – well you get the picture. Still, it was interesting to walk about, and in the process we did manage to lay our hands on a weird ice cream soda float thing with a massive block of ice in the middle.

Which was nice and refreshing if I remember correctly.

IMG_20141003_183822 cosmo clock 21 ferris wheel in cosmo world amusement park

Back on our mission to make it to the brightly lit ferris wheel in the distance (which turns out is the world famous Cosmo Clock 21 ferris wheel, once the tallest ferris wheel in the world, and also star of the 1992 Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth movie!), we eventually stumbled across the Cosmo World amusement park.

Being neither kids nor romantic, we didn’t stray in the park for too long, but certainly took long enough to admire all the cool kids attractions that certainly would have been a fun outing back in the day when we were still running around at knee height!

IMG_20141003_190445 yokohama odyssey projection mapping show, dockyard garden

Continuing our late evening stroll, we came upon the Dockyard Garden at the foot of the Landmark Plaza, just in time to be treated to the the jaw-droppingly amazing and technically stunning Yokohama Odyssey 3D projection mapping show – which kept us (and by now our aching feet) completely enthralled from start to finish.

(I’ve blogged about this artistic technical wizardry before. An absolute must to take in if you are ever in the area!)

IMG_20141003_191735 nippon maru museum sailing ship, minato mirai, yokohama

And because Yokohama didn’t seem to want to stop showing us interesting things, next in our line of vision was the magnificent, permanently moored Nippon Maru sailing ship (built in 1930 and employed as a training ship for the cadets of the Japanese merchant marine), currently used as a museum ship that is open to the public.

However, we were now near our ultimate target for the evening (even if we were struggling a bit to find the official entrance to the building).

Our mission to visit as many observation decks as possible was about to have one new member added – Sky Garden, the observation deck of Yokohama’s famous Landmark Tower!

yokohama landmark tower

(Image swiped from Google, because well, we were there in the evening and it was dark.)

From Wikipedia: “The Yokohama Landmark Tower (completed 1993) is the second tallest building and 4th tallest structure in Japan, standing 296.3 m high. When built, it was the tallest building in Japan until it was surpassed by Abeno Harukas’ in 2012. Also, at opening, it had the highest observation deck in Japan.

The building contains a five-star hotel which occupies floors 49-70, with 603 rooms in total. The lower 48 floors contain shops, restaurants, clinics, and offices. The building contains two tuned mass dampers on the (hidden) 71st floor on opposite corners of the building.

On the 69th floor there is an observatory, Sky Garden, from which one can see a 360-degree view of the city, and on clear days Mount Fuji.

The tower contains what were at their inauguration the world’s second fastest elevators, which reach speeds of 12.5 m/s (45.0 km/h). This speed allows the elevator to reach the 69th floor in approximately 40 seconds. The elevators’ speed record was finally surpassed by elevators of Taipei 101 (60.6 km/h) in 2004.”

IMG_20141003_193204 night view of yokohama, the landmark tower observation deck

The night time views of Yokohama from above didn’t disappoint, and were in a word, breathtaking.

Ryan and I spent a fair amount of time just chilling and taking in the night time scenery – and of course discussing the phenomenal lift speed that got us to this height in the first place!

IMG_20141003_204304 pokemon center in yokohama landmark plaza

Eventually we made our way down from Sky Garden and ambled around a bit in the by now deserted shopping sections of Landmark Plaza, eschewing the more fancy stores for views of the more nostalgia awakening ones – like this brilliant Pokemon Center we stumbled across.

IMG_20141003_205916 JR sakragicho train station in yokohama

And that was that.

Tired, sore feet, and no desire to walk back to Yokohama (from my side anyway), Ryan relented and expertly guided us to the nearby JR Sakragicho train station for a quick train hop back to our Super Hotel Yokohama rooms.

Where needless to say, I slept rather well.

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Related Links: World Porters | Cosmo Clock 21 | Cosmo World | Nippon Maru | Landmark Tower | Landmark Plaza

Japan 2014 – 08 Visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku (2014-10-03) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 27 OCT 2015

So day 1 of our Japan 2014 tour had been pretty awesome, and with tour guide Terrance still at our disposal for half a day, day 2 kicked off (after a delicious hotel breakfast of course) with a trip to Shinjuku, Tokyo!

IMG_20141003_111213 ryan lotter walking in shinjuku tokyo japan

Our target for the morning was the impressive Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building which literally houses the headquarters of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which governs not only the 23 wards, but also the cities, towns and villages that make up Tokyo as a whole.

Of interest to us were the panoramic observation decks situated on floor 45 of this unique looking, immense skyscraper complex, which would allow us fantastic views of the highly developed commercial Shinjuku ward.

IMG_20141003_111316 tokyo metropolitan government building in shinjuku, tokyo, japan

Coming from a small city like Cape Town, it was overwhelming to walk in the shadows of so many skyscraper and highrise buildings, and it is an absolute incredible sense of awe that one has walking through such an obviously productive area.

IMG_20141003_115910 craig lotter inside the tokyo metropolitan government building in shinjuku

It’s impossible to miss the imposing Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, and after a lackadaisical bag check, we were ushered into the elevator and whisked up to the 45th floor, to an spacious observation deck outfitted with a restaurant, curio shop, and of course, lots of posters in anticipation of the 2020 Tokyo Games!

IMG_20141003_112844 view of tokyo from the tokyo metropolitan government building in shinjuku

As expected, the views of Tokyo were phenomenal, and you eventually left the building now even more in awe at just how large the city of Tokyo actually is!

Oh, and did I mention that access to the observation deck was free? In other words, a definite tourist attraction if you ever find yourself in the Shinjuku area.

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Related Link: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

Japan 2014 – 04 Things to see in Tokyo – Tokyo Tower! (2014-10-02) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 22 OCT 2015

Having safely reached Japan, successfully travelled from Yokohama to Minato, and taking an unscheduled stop at Zojoji temple, we had finally reached the first tourist attraction on our list of things to see in Japan – the iconic Tokyo Tower!

DSC07156 tokyo tower from zojoji temple

Just as the Eiffel Tower is used to frame a shot as being in Paris, France, so does Tokyo Tower drive home the point that we’re in Tokyo, Japan.

This gigantic communications and observation tower, located in Shiba (Minato, Tokyo), was built in 1958 and towers at 332.9 meters high. With a design paying homage to the aforementioned Eiffel Tower itself, the Tokyo Tower was built to withstand earthquakes twice the intensity of the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, and typhoons with wind speeds of up to 220 kilometres per hour.

When the 90-metre antenna was bolted into place on October 14, 1958, Tokyo Tower was the tallest freestanding tower in the world, taking the title from the Eiffel Tower by 13 metres. Despite being taller than the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower only weighs about 4,000 tons, 3,300 tons less than the Eiffel Tower. While other towers have since surpassed Tokyo Tower’s height, the structure was still the tallest artificial structure in Japan until April 2010, when the new Tokyo Skytree became the tallest building of Japan.

DSC07183 noppon tokyo tower mascots

Greeted by Older Brother and Younger Brother (Noppon, the mascots of Tokyo Tower), we skipped FootTown (a four-story building located directly under the tower which houses museums, restaurants and shops), and headed straight up to the first observation deck, the two-story Main Observatory which is located at 150 meters up the structure.

DSC07189 japanese girls looking out at tokyo tower in shiba, minato, tokyo

Although plenty of things to see and buy inside (including a fun and friendly self-propelled robot merrily chugging along), it is without a doubt the spectacular views of Tokyo that steal the show here.

Pretty much all the big landmarks of Tokyo can be seen, and if the sky is clear enough (which sadly it wasn’t on the day), one can even glimpse a view of Mount Fuji itself!

DSC07187 view of tokyo from tokyo tower in shiba, minato, tokyo

Fun as he was, Mr. Robot couldn’t join us as we opted to shoot up to the even higher (but smaller) Special Observatory, which sits at an uncomfortable 249.6 meters up in the sky!

IMG_20141002_043734 admiring the view at tokyo tower in shiba, minato, tokyo

The smaller space obviously made things much more crowded up here, and as long as you weren’t suffering from any form of vertigo, you were treated to even more spectacular views of Tokyo and its surrounds.

DSC07201 view of tokyo from tokyo tower in shiba, minato, tokyo

It’s only really once you are this high that you can appreciated just how massive a city Tokyo actually is. Quite frankly, it dwarfs what we know as cities here in South Africa – and truly is something amazing to take in.

DSC07195 ryan lotter and terrance brown in tokyo tower in shiba, minato, tokyo

That said, I didn’t buy any curios or trinkets whilst we were up there! :P

(But we were treated to an impromptu and energetic drum solo by a very active girl drummer and her following video crew once we were back down on solid ground again…)

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Related Link: Tokyo Tower