OWL Magazine Korea

Tokyo, Japan’s Tallest Building. ‘Skytree’

Similar to Seoul, South Korea, where you can find Namsan Tower (Seoul N Tower) along with Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, Tokyo has undergone a similar history to Seoul. In addition to Tokyo Tower, various towers can be found in Tokyo, including the Roppongi Hills Observatory in Roppongi. Among them, Tokyo Skytree has been erected.

“The Tokyo Skytree Observatory Built in 2011”

Until the construction of Skytree, Tokyo Tower was considered the iconic observatory representing Tokyo. However, in 2011, with the completion of Tokyo Skytree Tower, the title of the tallest tower in Tokyo passed from Tokyo Tower to Skytree.

The reason for building a new tower besides the existing Tokyo Tower was simple. Tokyo Tower alone could not transmit broadcasts throughout Tokyo due to the city’s expansion. As Tokyo expanded, a taller tower was needed to transmit signals over longer distances, leading to the construction of Skytree in 2011.

“Skytree Tower, the Tallest Building in Japan”

Currently, Tokyo Skytree Tower stands as the tallest building in Japan, reaching a height of 634 meters. This surpasses the height of the original Tokyo Tower, which is 333 meters, making it the second tallest man-made structure in the world.

In terms of height alone, Tokyo Tower and Skytree Tower have become incomparable. However, Tokyo residents still consider Tokyo Tower more symbolic of Tokyo than Skytree Tower. This situation is quite similar to the relationship between Namsan Tower and Lotte World Tower in South Korea. Although Lotte World Tower is now significantly taller than Namsan Tower, people still view Namsan Tower as the representative tower of Seoul.

“Skytree Tower Observatory”

Like most tall buildings, Skytree Tower operates observatories. There are two observatories: a regular one at 350 meters and a special one at 450 meters.

To access the special observatory, visitors must first go to the regular observatory, and then pay an additional fee to go up to the special observatory. The fees for each section are as follows:

  • 350m Observatory Adult Admission Fee: 2,060 yen
  • 450m Observatory Adult Additional Admission Fee: 1,030 yen

“If you purchase tickets online, you can go directly to the observatory without waiting in line.”

To visit the Skytree observatories, you need to purchase tickets at the ticket office. If you buy tickets online in advance, you can avoid waiting in line at the ticket office and use the Fast Track to go directly to the observatories.

During my recent trip, I purchased tickets online in advance in Korea, which allowed me to enjoy a discount and use the Fast Track to go straight to the observatories without waiting. I booked through a company called “Veltra,” and it was a very satisfying experience, especially not having to wait for the elevator.

“The Observatory Wasn’t Ideal for Night Photography”

While observatories are primarily visited for enjoying night views, Skytree seems to offer a better daytime view than a night one. Although the tower provided a decent view for enjoying night photos, taking pictures was challenging.

The distance between the glass and the safety bar was too great to get the camera close to the glass, and various LED monitors and lights inside the tower kept reflecting on the glass, interfering with photography. Thus, it was difficult to fully enjoy the night view and capture it in photos.

If I were to visit again, I would prefer enjoying the daytime view from the Skytree Observatory and then going to Tokyo Tower for the night view. Despite this, I could still appreciate the panoramic view of Tokyo from a high vantage point. Particularly, the sight of Tokyo from above was impressive, and compared to Seoul, it was notable that there were fewer cars on the roads. This made me contemplate the differences between a car-centric city and a railway-centric city. If you travel to Tokyo, visiting this iconic spot is a must.

“Skytree Observatory in Sumida, Tokyo, Japan”

  • Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan
  • Phone Number: +81 570-550-634
  • Website: Tokyo Skytree
  • Operating Hours: 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM (Last admission 9:00 PM)