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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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…)
Related Link: Tokyo Tower