The main character of my all-time favourite Japanese drama, “Overtime”, lamented: “Love is like taking a taxi... There are plenty of taxis waiting for you to get on when you do not need one. Yet, when you are trying to flag for one, it never seems to stop.”
Centered around the life of people who lived in Japan, this drama often feature the famous Tokyo Tower with romantic notions, thereby leaving me with a deep impression of it as a monument of love.
Built in 1958, Tokyo Tower is a 333m tall communications and observation tower that provides a magnificent view of Tokyo city. Located in Shiba Park at the city centre, this iconic landmark is one of the tallest structures in Japan and its design takes after the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The idyllic Zojoji Temple lies at the foot of Tokyo Tower, adding further character to the surroundings.
I have to admit that I wasn’t planning to visit the Tokyo Tower when I stumbled upon it while exploring the streets. Nonetheless, I like to think of it as a chance encounter, not unlike when one stumbles onto love.
Within Tokyo Tower, there are several entertainment and dining options. To begin with, the ticket counter at the entrance of Level 1 would provide you access to two of the observation decks. The Main Observatory at 150m offers a 360-degree view of Tokyo, with interactive display stands (in various languages) that point out famous landmarks. Venturing skywards, the Special Observatory at 250m marks the top floor of the tower. On good days, one can even see as far as Mount Fuji.
Prior to boarding the elevator at Level 1, I was captivated by the beautiful photos of Tokyo Tower in yesteryears. Stroll down memory lane and discover the different views of this iconic landmark at the public gallery next to the elevators. Moving on, the pretty smiles of the elevator ladies mark a warm welcome. Despite my fear for heights, there was a sense of magic as the elevator transported me vertically north. After years of seeing the Tokyo Tower in movies and dramas, I am finally visiting it in person!
If one is feeling game enough, you can take the special route and climb up a direct staircase to the Main Observatory (available only during weekends and holidays). Feel the breeze while making your way to the top in just 600 steps.
At the Main Observatory, there are two levels of observation decks that allow one to go around endlessly in search for the perfect view of Tokyo. Helpful signboards also mark the directions, so that one would know which way to look for sunsets or to identify other interesting landmarks. At the center, a café and club with live music promises breathtaking views amidst good times.
Beyond that, pockets of glass lined the floor and commanded the attention of excited kids and adults. Known also as the “Lookdown Windows”, these are one of the highlights of Tokyo Tower. Somehow, it felt exhilarating and fun just stepping gingerly on these glass floors.
After a brief grapple with internal fears, I took my chance and sat down. In case you have any doubts, the glass remained intact. Fellow travellers with heights phobia can be rest assured that the Tokyo Tower is friendlier and safer than you imagined.
It has been said that the fear of heights is due to a fear of a desire to jump. Perhaps it is so, but one would never know if you never try. Take your chance with Tokyo Tower.
Other fun entertainment options within Tokyo Tower include the Foot Town that houses an aquarium, museum, gallery, souvenir shops and restaurants.