Tokyo Sky Tree is a fairly new addition to Tokyo’s skyline, having opened to the public in May 2012.
The Guinness World Records (GWR) book ranks it as the tallest tower in the world with a height of 634m, which makes it about twice as high as the Eiffel Tower but it is still dwarfed by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (828m), the world’s tallest building.
If you are wondering what is the difference between a tower and a building, GWR defines a tower as a building in which usable floor space occupies less than 50% of its height.
This CNN graphic below compares heights of the tallest structures, including Sky City, a mega tower scheduled to be completed next year in Changsha, Hunan, China.
When Tokyo Sky Tree first opened, tickets to the observation decks were sold out months in advance. When we went last month there was not much queuing at all but it was still fairly busy.
As you might be able to make out from my photo, there is a lower observation deck level around 350m up and a higher deck at 450m. You pay more for the higher level. We only went up as far as the lower deck where it was already too high up to get a decent photo with my limited skills and lack of tripod.
They have some clever touch-panel displays which can zoom in on particular districts, switch from night view to daytime view, provide information on points of interest and show speeded up time-lapse shots of a 24 hour cycle.
There is also a glass floor section for thrill seekers.
While we enjoyed the Sky Tree, my kids preferred the Studio Ghibli shop which is located in the Solamachi shopping complex at the foot of the tower.
Studio Ghibli are the creators of Totoro, Spirited Away and other classic Japanese animated films.
The shop sells stacks of official merchandise and Mums and Dads have little chance of exiting the shop with wallets intact.
A good place for Totoro fans!
The shopping centre also has a food court and an excellent supermarket where we spotted this cuboid watermelon selling for a cool Yen 20,000 (USD200).
This rather risqué sign looked a little out of place in the supermarket’s bakery section.
I would definitely recommend a trip to the Sky Tree while in Tokyo.