Standing some 333 metres tall, Tokyo Tower is one of the most recognisable features of the Tokyo skyline. Built in 1958, it is a striking symbol of Japan’s rebirth as a major economic power following the Second World War as well as an icon of the city. The tower was designed as a transmissions platform, and still functions as one – 14 Japanese TV and radio stations currently use it as an antenna – however it may soon be left as a tourist attraction as we move towards digital broadcasting. No matter its use, it’s a stunning architectural display, with the retro design contracting with the modern streets of downtown Tokyo.
Tokyo Tower is the world’s tallest self-supporting steel structure, offering visitors unrivalled views of the city on two observation platforms – the first, the Grand Observation Platform sits 150 metres above the streets, while the Special Observation another 100 metres beyond that. It is famed for its light shows, which change every day – some are simple beautiful displays manipulating the medium of light, while others incorporate culturally or historically significant designs. The website details the meanings of each day’s display, but no matter which display you catch there is no doubt that the 164 light bulbs are used to spectacular effect.
Onarimon Station is the closest metro station to Tokyo Tower, accessible on the Mita line. After you’ve admired the view of Tokyo from the observation decks, be sure to visit the wax museum or aquarium housed in the building below From there, it’s less than ten minutes to the base of the tower. It’s also worth spending a few hours in the surrounding area, as there are some fascinating things to explore. Zojoji Buddhist Temple complex, founded in the 14th century, is only 15 minutes away by foot, and there’s a Shinto Torji in the gardens right next to the tower. Also keep an eye out for the traditional Japanese architecture as you walk through the area.