Japan Series – Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree is impossible to miss – in fact, if you do visit Tokyo, I challenge you to count how many times it pops up as you explore the city. At 634 metres, the world’s second tallest structure does anything but blend in.

In the spirit of the saying ‘If you can’t beat them, join them‘, a trip to the Tokyo Skytree is a must. The views from the tower are reminiscent of those from a plane, and it’s quite tricky to wrap your head around the fact that you are indeed still attached to the ground by a structure below you.

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If you literally want to have your head in the clouds, here are some tips to keep in mind for visiting the tallest tower in the world:

Getting here

Two underground lines can get you here, the Asakusa line or the Hanzomon line. Either way, you want to get off at the station Oshiage (Skytree). The escalators will take you straight to the Tokyo Skytree Town shopping centre from here. The mall mainly features souvenir shops and overpriced items. Unfortunately there is no way of getting around this and you will need to pass through the complex to get to the tower entrance. Make your way to the 4th floor and head outside.

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Tickets

There are several ticket tills and entry queues, so figuring out where to go can be a bit confusing from here. It is possible to get advance tickets for a set time, but they are generally more expensive than on the spot tickets and unless you can guarnatee you’ll have good weather, I wouldn’t bother with them.

Instead, you have two options: If your budget is really tight, you can get a same day ticket for a couple hours later, this will cost you ¥2,060 (approximately £11 or $17). However, if you have an extra fiver to spare, ¥2,820 will get you a fast track ticket and you can go in immediately. While the ticket promises no waiting, do note that you will probably still end up queuing for approximately 15-20 minutes. Nonetheless, I think this is great value and by far the smoothest way to tour the tower effectively.

Another thing to point out is that you will only be able to buy lower deck tickets at the entrance tills, and will need to upgrade your ticket for an extra ¥1,030 at the deck till if you want to go higher.

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Viewing decks

The Skytree staff will proceed to efficiently maneuvr you into one of the available lifts. Here is where you’ll really notice how high up you’re going for the first time – while the lift blasts you up in almost no time, your ears are going to feel the air pressure changing, much like during plane takeoff and landing.

You’ll arrive at the Tembo Deck, 350 metres above the ground. Aside from the expected amaying views, there’s also a posh bar and restaurant in case you want to enjoy a glass of wine in the sky (keep in mind that the luxury naturally comes with a corresponding price tag).

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If this is not tall enough for you, you can purchase the additional ticket upgrade to go an extra 100 metres higher. The Tembo Galleria is slightly smaller than the previous deck, and frankly it’s difficult to tell much of a difference in terms of what you can see, but your trip would not really be complete without coming all the way up here – when are you going to have your next opportunity to pop by the Skytree? The floor is a circular slope, and you’ll be notified when you do reach the highest point of the tower.

Photo opps

As expected, the scenery and photo taking will be a varying level of success depening on the weather and time of day. When we visited, it was early evening, but still not quite sunset time, and it was practically impossible to take photos that would show both the person and the view. My advice would be not getting too hung up on the photo taking and simply enjoy the beauty of the Tokyo skyline.

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Now that I’ve shared all of the information I have about Tokyo Skytree, I’m going to leave you with a burning question that occurred to me as I was looking through the pristine windows of the tower’s viewing deck. How on Earth do they keep the glass clean?

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