The Tokyo Skytree stands as the worlds tallest tower. Along with the height, the tower has a unique look with a certain Japanese flair about it, making it an incredible tourist landmark for taking pictures. But, apart from standing there and looking pretty, there are many uses for the record-breaking tower. I took to the internet to carry out some research on everything that the Skytree has to offer.
Photo Source: imai3104
So then, what is the Tokyo Skytree used for? The Tokyo Skytree’s primary purpose is to act as a digital broadcaster for television, radio and emergency signals. The Skytree is also used as one of Tokyo’s main tourist attractions, with two observation levels, a restaurant, an aquarium, a planetarium and many shops.
With a huge investment of around ¥65 billion($600 million), the Skytree has many different ways it regains the money spent on it. Find out why the tallest tower in the world is such a successful tourist attraction by reading on.
What Is The Purpose Of The Tokyo Skytree?
The Skytree started being built back in 2008 and only took around 4 years to finish and become an active broadcaster. This truly is a surprising amount of time, considering the height of the tower was so optimistic for its time.
Today it stands as the tallest tower on Earth. But, this wasn’t an easy job by any means, despite the amazingly short construction time.
Around 585,000 workers were put to the test of constructing this ambitious landmark, with approximately ¥65 billion being spent.
But, why was it built? What was the thinking process behind this record-breaking tower? What is the purpose of the Skytree?
Before the tower’s construction, Tokyo faced numerous challenges with receiving relay signals, regarding TV and radio. This was due to the large number of skyscrapers surrounding the city. The tall structures prevented, and made it difficult for the Japanese capital to receive various television and radio signals.
This is why the tower is so tall.
The Japanese had to build a structure that was tall enough to overshadow all of the other skyscrapers within the city. And this is where the world record height comes from…
That being said, it’s pretty obvious that the Tokyo Skytree’s primary focus, to begin with, was to solve the problems of receiving relay signals.
However, there was A LOT of money spent on this landmark. Improving TV & radio within the city is great, but it wouldn’t make that much money back.
So, they decided to add other uses of the tower that would generate larger and more steadier streams of income…
Different Ways The Tokyo Skytree Is Used
The tower has been a massive success for Tokyo, bringing in millions each and every year since it was constructed. The Tokyo Skytree is a world-class demonstration of modern Japanese architecture, and its many different uses make it truly outstanding.
Photo Source: Nicolas Wauters
The Observation Decks
The main obvious use (like many other tall manmade buildings in the world), is the fact that visitors can check out the amazing views!
The first thing I and many other people think when seeing such a tall tower is “Wow! I wonder what the view is like from up there!”
Well, good news as the Tokyo Skytree has not one, but two observation decks. Snap pictures of the Tokyo skyline to your heart’s content from the height of 350m or 450m.
The Tembo Deck(350m) is the lower of the two observation levels, and is the basic booking option for the Skytree observation. This deck features 5m high glass that provides for perfect 360-degree views of the city. Don’t be worried about it being the lower of the two levels, it is still very high!
The Tembo Galleria(450m) is the highest observation point of the whole Skytree tower. It features a glass spiralling staircase that goes up from floor 445 to floor 450. This observation deck puts you at the highest viewpoint of Tokyo, while giving you the feeling of walking in the sky. For the thrill-seekers who want to see the highest point of the Skytree, be sure to book the Tambo Galleria Deck!
You can book tickets for the Tembo Deck on the 4F entrance floor via Tokyo Skytree Town. You can purchase tickets for this online also, but I highly recommend buying them from the counter on the day. This will avoid you being disappointed on foggy or rainy days, where it makes it harder to see the views!
To buy tickets for the Tembo Galleria Deck, you can only do this via floor 350 a.k.a the Tembo Deck. So, you have to purchase a ticket to the lower floor if you want to go to the highest observation point. To avoid wasted time, you can buy combo tickets that include both observation decks in one for a combined price.
Sky Restaurant 634
5 floors below the Tembo Deck, lies Tokyo’s prime restaurant for eating with a view! The 345-metre high restaurant is classy and elegant, ensuring you will receive a truly unforgettable experience.
However, for this experience, you definitely have to pay a high price. Lunch courses can cost up to ¥8,712($80 USD) per person, and dinner courses can go as high as ¥30,492($280 USD).
Yeah, that is insane money…
Especially when you think that a meal for one at Sukiyabashi Jiro(home of the worlds best sushi, allegedly), costs around ¥32,700. Personally, I would rather pay for the worlds best sushi, over Tokyo’s best dining view. Of course, Sukiyabashi Jiro is not easy to reserve and requires a lot of special steps to even get a booking there. But you know, the money really puts into perspective how expensive Sky Restaurant 634 is.
I’m not by any means saying that their food isn’t good, I have no idea! Their food may be just as good at Sukiyabashi Jiro, only those who have tried both would know! I just feel that it is a lot of money for just food, especially when you are seeing the view either way, with or without the meal…
Truth be told, this is a very common occurrence in these unique and record-breaking landmarks. Dinner courses in The Shard in London are probably even more expensive than the Skytree. You are paying for the experience, the luxury and maybe even bragging rights to your friends.
The Sumida Aquarium opened up back in 2012 along with the Skytree. It’s located in Tokyo Skytree Town, which is a dedicated area that surrounds the base of the Japanese tower.
It’s definitely not the largest aquarium in all of Tokyo, and probably not the first choice of an aquarium for people to visit.
However, it is a great activity to do on the day of visiting the Skytree if you have an hour or two spare.
The aquarium itself features around 7000 sea creatures! The main attraction is without a doubt the penguins, the fur seals and the jellyfish.
The admission fee for an adult is ¥2,300($21.15 USD). In my opinion, I believe this is very fairly priced and a great pass-time to participate in if you have a few hours to spare while waiting for your Skytree tour!
Konica Minolta Planetarium
If you are a fan of the stars and planets, then the Konica Minolta may just be the perfect side activity for you to undergo during your visit to the Skytree.
From adult shows with an 18+ age restriction, to family-friendly shows for the kids to enjoy; the planetarium is an amazing experience if you have never tried one before.
With a range of different seat types available, you can pick yourself up a ticket for a fairly low-cost.
Skytree Shop & Tokyo Salamachi
If you’re more one for shopping then maybe you’d fancy a trip to Tokyo Solamachi. This bustling shopping centre has over 300 shops and restaurants than you can delve into when in Tokyo Skytree Town.
However, I would definitely recommend doing this shopping trip AFTER you have seen the tower, if you have already booked a time slot.
It is very easy to get lost in this huge shopping mall, so if you are going before your tour, make sure you know the way back and give yourself plenty of time!
There is a dedicated Skytree shop that sells tower merchandise for you to keep memories or gift to someone close at home.
Is The Tokyo Skytree Worth It?
So, you now know what the Skytree is used for, and all of the different things you can do when visiting for the day.
But, is it worth it?
Well, to put it simply, if you have read this far in this article then it’s pretty obvious that you have an interest in the Tokyo Skytree.
I mean, who can blame you!
It’s amazing modern architecture merged with traditional Japanese earthquake-proof foundations, make it a truly stunning sight to behold.
The admission fee for the Skytree varies on age and whether you want to also visit the Tembo Galleria deck.
Personally, I feel the prices are very fairly priced. You are seeing a once in a lifetime view of Tokyo, and that cannot be matched.
The skyline of Tokyo from above is honestly breathtaking. As the largest city in the world, when you look over in any direction you can see buildings upon buildings stretching for miles in the distance.
That for me, makes the Tokyo Skytree extremely worth it.