Tokyo Tower. photo by Ian Chun

Tokyo Tower. photo by Ian Chun

Tokyo Tower stands as a landmark in the cityscape as well as a landmark in history. At one point, it was the tallest freestanding tower in the world and was the tallest artificial structure in Japan up until 2010 (That title now belongs to the Tokyo Sky Tree in Asakusa at 634 meters in height). Like a big, traffic cone-colored Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower looms over the surrounding buildings in Minato ward. Built in 1958 for antenna leasing and tourism, it’s had over 150 million visitors and broadcasts a variety of networks that include NHK, TV Asahi Tokyo, Fuji Television Tokyo, Nippon Television Tokyo, TV Tokyo, etc.

The tower’s lighting emits a warm, orange glow during the cold winter months and a cool, white glow during the summer. Although, the lighting changes in accordance with special events. The current lighting design was introduced by famous light designer Motoko Ishii in 1989 to help revitalize ticket sales.

Upon entering the base of the tower, visitors arrive at FootTown where they can eat, shop, and visit museums and galleries. From here, elevators take visitors up to the main observatory (150 m) and for an extra cost, visitors can go up to the special observatory (250 m). The observatories offer a 360 degree view of Tokyo and even the iconic Mt. Fuji is visible on clear days. Due to the tower’s great view of the city and atmosphere, it is a popular spot for couples to spend a romantic afternoon.

Interesting Fact: 1/3 of the steel used to build the tower was scrap metal taken from US tanks damaged in the Korean War

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