TOKYO SKYTREE 東京スカイツリー (there’s a new man in town)

From October to November 2007, the nationwide of Japan was engrossed in the thrilling moment of selecting a name for a very unique new tower which would soon be the tallest structure in Japan. 6 names were shortlisted to be voted in a public poll: Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Edo Tower, Rising Tower, Tower of the Future, Dream Lookout, and Rising East Tower. You can well imagine the excitement and the heated debates ensued amongst the public to bestow a name to this distinctive structure. The result of the poll was released on 10 June 2008; “Tokyo Skytree” won with 33,000 votes out of the 110,000 votes cast (30%), with “Tokyo Edo Tower” being the second most popular name.

A visit to Tokyo Skytree is often planned side-by-side with a trip to Sensoji Temple, both sites being in the close proximity between one another and within the walking vicinity of Asakusa. We can either access the tower by taking a 2km (20 minutes) stroll across the Sumida River from Asakusa Station, or by way of metro to the Oshiage Station (Toei- Asakusa Line or Metro Honzomon Line).

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A cylindrical bluish white tower of 634 metres in height with a fusion of futuristic and traditional Japanese design equipped with the world’s first vibration control system, Tokyo Skytree (officially opened to the public on 22 May 2012) is now the second tallest structure in the world (after the Burj Khalifa, Dubai) and the tallest building in Japan.

Two observation decks form the highlight of the Tokyo Skytree (opens from 8.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. without closing day):

(i)            The Tembo Deck at 350 metres above ground, spanning 3 levels with a 360 degree panoramic views at the top floor, souvenir shop and Musashi Sky Restaurant (a French-Japanese fusion cuisine restaurant) at the middle, and the café at the lowest floor. Tickets (2000 yen each) are sold at 4th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town, with a pretty impressive high-speed elevator bringing you up to the deck within 50 seconds.

(ii)          The Tembo Galleria at 450 metres above ground with the world’s highest skywalk. Tickets are sold at the top floor of Tembo Deck with additional 1000 yen per ticket.

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If you are an acrophobic, or if the panoramic view of Tokyo at the elevated dizzying height amongst the massive tourists crowd does not sound like an interesting venture to you, then perhaps you might want to consider the option of immersing yourself in the colourful and amazing marine world at the Sumida Aquarium. Housed with 10,000 sea creatures and some fascinating coral reefs at the 5th and 6th floors of Tokyo Solamachi, Sumida Aquarium is a home to dozens of penguins and fur seals, equipped with a 350,000 liter largest open indoor tank in Japan. Sumida Aquarium opens from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m., with no closing days. Tickets are sold at 2,000 yen each.

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(My humble opinion though, compared to Sumida Aquarium, Singapore has a more awe-inspiring and marvelous S.E.A. Aquarium at the Sentosa Island, but that is a story for another day.)

And of course, last but not least is the shopping and dining paradise- Tokyo Solamachi at the base of Skytree, with 312 shops to keep you busy for the remaining day.

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(Even the 4th floor of Tokyo Solamachi offers spectacular view of modern Tokyo)

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