The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world; so, whilst it may be an enormously popular tourist attraction, it’s also not for the faint-hearted.
If you’ve ever visited the Eiffel Tower, you might expect something similar when going up the Skytree. Except, of course, the Skytree is far taller. However, it’s not just the height that makes it such an exciting attraction (although that is a very large part of it). There’s so much to do within the Skytree itself that you could easily spend the whole day there - the shopping centre at the base of the tower is huge, filled with all sorts of shops, cafés, and restaurants, enough to keep you preoccupied for hours. It’s basically a complex maze of amazing food and souvenirs.
Even beyond the lowest levels of the tower, up to floors 340-350, the spectacular view over the city isn’t the only thing to keep you entertained.
After a scarily fast trip to floor 345, you can try the infamous Sky Restaurant 634 (musashi) and eat food prepared by a Michelin star chef whilst gazing over the best view of Tokyo. On the same level there’s the Skytree shop (of which there are several dotted throughout the tower), and at 350 there’s the Tembo deck. Here, you can relax at the Skytree café, or you can use the Tokyo Space-Time Navigation systems to pick out buildings from an electronic city view; if you click on one of the buildings on the touchscreen, it will tell you which building it is. This is a helpful source of orientation if you’re looking down at the city below and have absolutely no idea of what you’re looking at.
Now that you’ve tried the soft-serve ice-cream from the café and admired the view, you’re not necessarily done yet. If you want, you can go even further up to floor 450. This is the Tembo Galleria, the highest point that visitors can go up the Skytree. Here, you can have a photo taken and printed by a professional photographer, take a picture with the Skytree mascot, Sorakara-chan, and stand on a glass floor to get the most frightening view of Tokyo.
There’s a lot to keep you busy in the Skytree, and it’s well worth the visit - but definitely not recommended for those even slightly frightened of heights. As someone who has never experienced vertigo, I found it quite unsettling, although in an exhilarating way. I also discovered that eating before was unwise, considering how fast the lifts go and how disorientating an experience being so high up can be.
If you’re an international tourist, you can get fast access to the Skytree tour. I hadn’t reserved my ticket, and it only took 10 minutes of queuing to get to floor 350 (¥2820 for an adult, tickets bought at 4F). It took five minutes to queue for floor 450 (tickets for this floor must be purchased on floor 350, adults cost ¥1030). All other prices are on the website. If you are not international, you cannot get fast access. Some days can be busy, so it might sell out; reserving tickets is a wise option.
All in all, the Skytree is an intense experience from top to bottom that should not be missed.