The Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Skytree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from Asakusa. With a height of 634 meters (634 can be read as "Musashi", a historic name of the Tokyo Region), it is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. A large shopping complex with aquarium is located at its base.
The highlight of the Tokyo Skytree is its two observation decks which offer spectacular views out over Tokyo. The two enclosed decks are located at heights of 350 and 450 meters respectively, making them the highest observation decks in Japan and some of the highest in the world.
Tembo Deck, the lower of the two decks is 350 meters high and spans three levels with great views from all of its floors. The top floor features tall, broad windows that offer some of the best 360 degree panoramic views of the city. The middle floor has a souvenir shop and the Musashi Sky Restaurant, which serves French-Japanese fusion cuisine, while the lowest floor features a cafe and some glass panels on the ground from where you can look all the way down to the base of the tower.
A second set of elevators connects the Tembo Deck to the 450 meter high Tembo Gallery. Dubbed "the world's highest skywalk", the Tembo Gallery consists of a sloping spiral ramp that gains height as it circles the tower. The construction of the steel and glass tube allows visitors to look down from the dizzying height of the tower and out over the Kanto Region to spectacular distances.
At the top of the spiral ramp is a more conventional observation deck floor with lounging areas and tall windows from which to look out over Tokyo. This floor is officially located at 451.2 meters and constitutes the highest point of the observation decks.
A visit to the Tokyo Skytree starts on the 4th floor where the tickets for the first observation deck (but not for the second deck) are sold. A fast and smooth elevator ride takes visitors to the top floor of the first observation deck where tickets for the second observation deck can be purchased. Visitors then access the second deck before descending back to the lower floors of the first observatory where they board the elevator down to the tower's exit on the 5th floor.
For years before its opening in May 2012, the Tokyo Skytree has been a popular photo object. Below are some good spots to take pictures of the Skytree from (click on the markers for more details):
The entrance to the Tokyo Skytree is on the 4th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town, which spans the area between Tokyo Skytree Station (formerly known as Narihirabashi Station) on the Tobu Isesaki Line, and Oshiage Station on the Asakusa Subway Line, Hanzomon Subway Line and Keisei Oshiage Line. Alternatively, it is a 20 minute walk across the Sumida River from Asakusa.
Tokyo Skytree can also be reached by direct buses from Ueno Station (30 minutes, 220 yen, 3-4 buses/hour), Tokyo Disney Resort (45-55 minutes, 800 yen, 1 bus/hour) and Haneda Airport (50-70 minutes, 940 yen, 1 bus/hour).
First observatory: 2100 yen (weekdays), 2300 yen (weekends and holidays)
Both observatories: 3100 yen (weekdays), 3400 yen (weekends and holidays)
For foreign tourists only:
Fast Skytree Single Ticket (first observatory): 3200 yen
Fast Skytree Combo Ticket (both observatories): 4200 yen
Below are the various ways for individual travelers to visit the tower:
By same-day ticket
Same-day tickets can be purchased at the ticket counter on the 4th floor. On busy days (typically when the waiting time would exceed one hour), visitors will be assigned a 30 minute time slot during which they can enter. On very busy days, same-day tickets may sell out (there is a maximum of 10,000 per day).
By Skytree Fast Ticket
Skytree Fast Tickets are a special type of ticket available only to foreign tourists (and Japanese people accompanying foreign tourists). They are more expensive than regular tickets, but allow holders to skip the line and ascend the tower without waiting time. The tickets are sold at a separate ticket counter on the 4th floor. A passport is required at the time of purchase.
By prior reservation
Reservations can be made on the internet from one month before visiting date for specific time slots and at a discount of a few hundred yen. However, the online registration system is in Japanese only and limited to holders of credit cards issued in Japan, making it useless for most foreign tourists.