Tokyo Tower. An orange-red structure of steel standing amidst a sea of concrete. Modelled after the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tokyo Tower stands at 333 meters, 13 meters taller than its inspiration. A national icon, it was the country’s tallest structure for more than 50 years, until it was knocked off its proverbial shelf by Tokyo Skytree in 2012.
Although it does function as a broadcast antenna, it is more well-known for being a popular tourist spot. And for good reason! In addition to the main feature of the observatory, there’s a ton of fun to be had at Tokyo Tower.
1. Visit the Observation Decks
Located in a relatively central part of Tokyo, Tokyo Tower commands a fine view of the megacity, and an ultra-romantic night view. If you go at night, be prepared to be surrounded by countless couples. (Insider tip: to catch both the day view and night view without having to go twice, go around the time of sunset. You won’t be able to avoid the couples though. Sorry.)
There are two observation decks, both paid. The lower deck at 150m costs JPY 900 per adult, while an additional JPY 700 is required to proceed up to the upper deck (250m).
* Please note that the upper deck of the Tokyo Tower is closed for renovation until summer 2017.
You can see out towards Tokyo Bay with little difficulty even on the lower deck, and on an especially fine day, you may even spy Mt. Fuji from the upper deck.
There are also some “lookdown windows” – clear portions of floor where you can see the parking lot and feet of the tower below you. Pretty cool.
Although there are only limited numbers, you can also rent Nikon binoculars for free.
2. Experience Tokyo One Piece Tower
Opened in 2015 in Tokyo Tower’s Foot Town, Tokyo ONE PIECE Tower is an indoor amusement park for the popular anime series that will push fans off their excitement barometer. Even those not too familiar with ONE PIECE will find much to entertain themselves inside the delightfully creative theme park that sprawls the third to fifth floor of Tokyo Tower, as well as a ONE PIECE-themed cafe/restaurant and souvenir store on the first.
The entrance is found on the 3F, and from there you will be taken into the 360 Log Theater to watch, as the name suggests, an introductory video to the amusement park on a 360 degree wide screen. The Tongari Transponder Snail, an original character created especially for Tokyo ONE PIECE Tower, will guide you around the “island”.
With more than 9 attractions, including Chopper’s Thousand Sunny Tours and Luffy’s Endless Adventure, as well as an exclusive powerful live show, you can easily spend hours in here.
Admission costs JPY 2,200 on the day, but you can get JPY 200 off when you pre-purchase online at JAPANiCAN.com. The ticket is an additional JPY 1,000 if you wish to include a live show: See tickets for all available sessions.
3. Drop by the Tokyo Tower Tourist Information Center (TTTIC) + Animate JMA
Opened just a few months ago in March, this brand new sparkling clean corner of the 3F is one of the coolest tourist information centers you will ever visit.
Reason 1: It’s connected to an animateJMA
Not only that, the first (and currently only) animateJMA to open in Japan. JMA stands for Japan Manga Alliance, and is joint venture between Animate Co., Ltd and 4 of the biggest players in the manga publishing industry: Kadokawa Corp., Kodansha Ltd., Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan Inc. The store in Tokyo Tower attracts overseas visitors through English and Chinese specially-designed in-store event campaigns and interesting product displays.
The store is currently running a FINAL FANTASY 30th ANNIVERSARY PREMIUM STORE, with a ton of limited edition FF goods and more.
Another hot seller is the Tsukiuta plushie. The Tokyo Tower limited edition version went on sale on the 15th April, selling out almost immediately. The next time you can get your hands on one is early August!
Differing from your standard Animate, there are also plenty of goods from all-time animated favourites like Doraemon, Studio Ghibli, EVANGELION, Sailor Moon, and the recent smash-hit Your Name.
Reason 2: It features a VR Experience corner
For JPY 400 a viewing, you can select from a large range of virtual reality videos to watch, ranging from anime to extreme experiences to music videos. We sampled Attack on Titan and GANTZ:O that day, and it was truly like being in that world itself.
If you’re looking for a fully immersive experience, put on the Galaxy eyepiece, slip on those headphones, sink into the ball-shaped seat, and let your senses take you to another world.
Reason 3: It has an event space
Currently running is an EVANGELION exhibit, with life-sized models of Ayanami Rei and Asuka in their plugsuits posing in front of a wall adorned with black EVANGELION-themed t-shirts.
During certain times of the year, famous figures in pop culture also make an appearance for photo sessions and the like.
In addition to the above, the TTTIC also of course offers a plethora of tourist information, free Wi-Fi, foreign currency exchange, and friendly staff eager to help you in Japanese, English or Chinese.
4. Eat and Browse Cool Souvenirs at Foot Town
The remainder of the public accessible floors at the base of Tokyo Tower feature an array of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and people who want to sketch your face.
And this monstrosity of a burger.
Available only the Tokyo Tower store of Mos Burger, this limited edition tower burger features 14 layers, in this order: bun, lettuce, hot chilli sauce, onions, mayonnaise, beef patty, tomato, hot chilli sauce, onion rings, ketchup, onions, pastrami bacon, beef patty, bun.
Cost: JPY 900. JPY 960 with cheese.
You know a burger isn’t playing around when there are 3 different sauces inside it. Even more impressive, the real thing looks as good as the picture, and according to our model, tastes delicious as well.
Tokyo Tower should be on the bucket list of every visitor to Tokyo, and with new things and events popping up throughout the year, even locals don’t tire of going back again and again.
Model: Takuya Komatsu is an actor/singer active in Asia. Originally from Kanagawa Prefecture, he has starred in dramas such as Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo 2013 and Fire Boys (2004), as well as released an album in Taiwan.