Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree

Today, on the 14th day since its official opening, I visited the Tokyo Skytree. For those who haven't heard, this is the new tallest structure in Japan, and it has also been entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest tower in the world - as of now. In the world that we live in, countries compete to be the best this and the greatest that; to have the longest this and the highest that; who knows how long the Skytree would be able to hold its record, before another structure rises to dizzying heights and overtakes it.

I had arranged to meet with Schauwecker at 13:45 at the entrance to the Skytree. Arriving at Oshiage Station 10 minutes before, I thought that the time was more than enough to get to the meeting place, only to barely make it as I was slowed down more than expected by the massive crowd. Pace slowed to a crawl as I made my way through the Solamachi shopping complex and it was only a weekday afternoon; I wonder what it must be like over the weekends.

Elevator with a summer design

The four elevators serving the lower portion of the Skytree are each designed differently to represent the four seasons. In 50 seconds we were 350 meters above ground, looking down at everything else in the city of Tokyo - and beyond. On a day with clear skies, Mount Fuji can be seen from here, but I could only imagine on this occasion as the clouds obscured visibility.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the aerial view that lay before me. I have always thought that cars are the cutest when looked at from far above: they resemble colorful toys neatly arranged in lines and systematically moving amongst buildings which appear like lego blocks.

View from above
Tembo Galleria

I purchased another ticket and proceeded to the second observation deck (called Tembo Galleria) which was a further 100 meters higher. The view was great, although I have to be honest and mention that I would have enjoyed myself much more had it not been so crowded. Well, firstly the cafes were all packed and thus I wasn't able to catch a breather, and secondly there were usually black polka dots within my range of sight caused by the cascading droves of heads. You'd even have to queue up to enter the souvenir shop.

Shoppers at Solamachi
Skytree souvenirs
Onigiri weighing 634 grams going for 634 yen.

"634" in Japanese sounds like "Musashi", the name by which the surrounding region used to be called
Shop selling products packaged the way they were in the past
Hello Kitty merchandise shop

For the rest of my visit I toured around the Solamachi complex. The mix of shops was good. There were, as at any shopping complex, boutiques carrying famous brand names; but more interestingly, there were many other shops with unique concepts and goods on sale. One of the shops, for example, exhibited and sold products in their traditional packaging from decades ago. Another was a bar/pub selling different kinds of beer from around the world.

I finally found a spot to quench my thirst at a chic open air cafe. Looking around, I saw many excited people pointing their cameras at the tower which was towering above us. I looked up and took another second to marvel at the tremendous architectural feat. After the rest, I visited the Dome Garden on the eighth story of the east side of the complex. The scenery from the garden was pretty nice with views of the Skytree in the setting sun.

I will definitely be coming to the Skytree Town again, especially since I have yet to visit the Sumida Aquarium, which I was told to be very well done. I will wait though, until the crowds have subsided somewhat. That could yet take a couple more months, judging by the interest generated by this latest must-see landmark of Japan.

The dome of the planetarium and the Skytree

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs