Translated by MATCHA-PR
Thorough Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree Comparisons by a Thai Student
In this series we rediscover Japan's charm through the eyes of a Thailand student. In part two, we bring you the Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree.
Written by MATCHA-PR
In this series we rediscover Japan's charm through the eyes of a student from Thailand. The topic of this second part will be Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree.
Just like on the occasion of our visit to Akihabara, presented in the previous article, Ginny will be accompanying us.
Ginny: Friends who visit Japan often ask me "Between Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, which one would you recommend?" After seeing a television program that did a comparison between them, and I knew I just had to confirm it on my own.
Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree - Basic Information
Let's first learn a bit of basic information regarding Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree.
Tokyo Tower is located within the business district of Minato ward, while Tokyo Skytree is found in Sumida ward, in eastern Tokyo. The surrounding scenery and townscape are thus very different.
The distance between the two towers is 8 km, and traveling by subway from one to another takes approximately 30 minutes.
Tokyo Tower was built in 1958 during the period of Japan's economic growth. The 333 meters high tower with its distinctive white and red appearence is truly worthy of being Tokyo's symbol.
Situated at the base of the tower is "the Town at the Foot", where stores, souvenirs and food can be found.
Ginny: Tokyo Tower is famous even in Thailand. It looks cute and everyone wants to take pictures of it. However, not many people know what is actually in the tower. I would like to see today even the parts that the program did not cover!
Because the surrounding area comprises mostly company offices, sightseeing facilities are few. The 600 years old temple Zōjō-ji (増上寺) is nearby, so it would be a nice idea too visit it if you are interested in Japan's traditional culture .
The tower gets lit up in beautiful illumination during the night. By taking a stroll away from the tower, you can enjoy the romantic scenery.
On the other hand there is Tokyo Skytree, a new broadcasting tower built in 2012. With its height of 634 meters, it is almost twice as high as Tokyo Tower.
At the base of this tower, there is a shopping complex called Tokyo Skytree Town, a place where you can spend an entire day shopping to your heart's content.
Ginny: People from Thailand love new things, so we are very curios about the Skytree. However, its image may not be as strong as that of Tokyo Tower. It seems to be a great spot for shopping, so I really want to check out what shops are there.
Due to it being a new facility, Tokyo Skytree has excellent support for tourists visiting Japan. There are even specialized ticket counters set up just for visitors from overseas.
Even the TV program of NHK World has shown staff explaining details to overseas tourists.
Many members of the staff are non-Japanese. Written on their name tags are the languages they can speak, allowing visitors to easily seek help.
Comparison 1. The View From the Observation Deck
The best part about towers is the townscape that you can see from the observation deck. Here we compare the view from the two towers.
This is the view from the observation deck of Tokyo Tower. Since the tower is situated in the middle of the business district, you can view the typical Tokyo metropolitan landscape.
Japanese and tourists alike are constantly taking pictures here.
Ginny: There are many beautiful buildings, such as Roppongi Hills, and if you're looking to take selfies to proclaim your arrival in Tokyo, this might be a good place.
On days with good weather, you might also be able to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji.
Ginny: There is another Tokyo Tower over there!
A photography spot found by Ginny. The traffic flow viewed from the observation deck resembles Tokyo Tower itself.
The appeal of Tokyo Skytree lies in its location and height. With its observation deck situated 100 meters higher than Tokyo Tower's, you can view a wider landscape of the city.
Tokyo Skytree is in Sumida Ward, a district where simple people live. Compared to Tokyo Tower, it is has a more Japanese feel, allowing you to enjoy a townscape reminiscent of the old days.
Ginny: Tokyo is so huge, with so many facets ...!
Over the river away from Tokyo Skytree is Asakusa's Sensōji (浅草寺). You can find Sensōji from the observation deck.
Tokyo Skytree's observation deck is split into two sections. Let's go now even higher, to the Tokyo Skytree Tenbō kairō (天望回廊 Tenbō kairō), which literally means "the Skyward Corridor".
This photo illustrates the glass ceiling of the elevator that goes up towards the Tenbō kairō deck. The visitors are able to see from within the elevator how high they have risen.
Ginny: It feels like I'm being pulled in by a magnet. It's so exciting!
Just as its name suggests, the Tenbō kairō is an observation deck shaped like a corridor wrapped around the tower.
Ginny: It feels like walking in the sky!
The Tenbō kairō's highest point is at 451.2 meters above the ground. Be sure to enjoy the view that stretches as far as the horizon.
Comparison 2. Shopping
There are several official souvenir outlets in Tokyo Tower. Here is one located in the observation deck itself, called THE SKY. Tokyo Tower-related souvenirs can be found in this one shop.
Ginny: Look! Look! There is candy in shaped like the tower!
There are also items made in collaboration with popular anime characters that are exclusively sold here.
In "Tokyo Soramachi", the shopping area located at base Tokyo Skytree, there is a floor named "Japan Souvenir", which gathers Japanese brands selling goods that are perfect as souvenirs. We particularly recommend to brand stores here.
The first is Nippon Ichi (日本市), which literally means "Japanese market". Just like the name suggests, it sells various Japanese goods.
Popular among tourists from abroad is the daruma (ダルマ), a traditional Japanese decoration that is said to bring good fortune.
Ginny: It looks like an old man but it has such a cute smile. I recommend getting these since they have a Skytree-blue color version that can only be bought here.
Second on the list is Cosmétics Makanai (まかないこすめ). This shop handles cosmetics made with natural ingredients that are gentle to the skin and body.
Ginny: What items would you recommend?
Upon asking, a member of the staff introduced a special face mask, created through a Japanese technique that uses gold powder, with each mask costing 3,000 yen!
She received a sample and tested it.
Ginny: What a luxurious feeling! It leaves my skin feeling silky; once I've saved up some money I'll give the facial mask a try for sure.
Comparison 3. Entertainment
In Tokyo Tower, the popular manga/anime One Piece has a permanent large scale theme park that has quickly become popular. It is called "Tokyo One Piece Tower".
Aside from the numerous life-sized character models, there are plenty of other "One Piece"-related attractions.
Ginny: There are many areas where you can take souvenir photos by yourself. "One Piece" has many fans in Thailand also, so I think my friends will all be jealous to see these photos.
The information around is mainly in Japanese, but you can use a smartphone application that helps you with the translation, as shown in the picture above. With this, people who speak little Japanese can also enjoy their visit.
In the Tokyo Skytree Town, you can spend magical moments in the high-definition planetarium called "Konica Minolta Planetarium Tenkū (天空)".
On this day, we viewed a unique program called "Watching shooting stars with you" (Kimi to miru nagareboshi, starring Motohiro Hata) and admired the starry sky along with music themed around shooting stars.
Image courtesy of Konica Minolta Planetarium Tenku (Japanese)
Ginny: In Thailand the word "planetarium" is associated with "study", but Tenkū is an entertainment venue. The time spent here was romantic and wonderful. It changed my image of a planetarium, so I think it is a must-see for people from Thailand.
In the End
Lastly, we asked Ginny what she thought about the trip.
Ginny: At first all I wanted was to visit both places and recommend one of them to my friends. But as I went to Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, I found out that each of them has its own charm, so I cannot decide on one of them. Which is why I would recommend my friends who are coming to Japan to visit both towers like I did.
If you enjoyed this article, please do visit the two symbols of Tokyo - Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree.
Photos by Junichi Higashiyama
Interview Carried Out in Cooperation with: NHK WORLD TV(TOKYO EYE 2020)
Address: Tokyo Minato, Shiba Park 4-2-8
Hours: 9:00 - 23:00
Language: Japanese, English
Menus Available in: English, Chinese, Korean
Station: Akabanebashi Station (Toei Oedo Line)
Access: 5-minutes walk from Akabanebashi Station
Price Range: Main Observatory 900 yen, Special Observatory 700 yen
Phone number: +81-3-3433-5111
Official Website: Tokyo Tower
Address: Tokyo Sumida, Oshiage 1-1-2
Hours: 8:00 - 22:00（Last entry 21:00）*Observatory operating hours
Closed: None *Restrictions may be imposed during strong winds
Credit Cards: Yes
Language: English, Chinese, Korean, French, Spanish
Menus available in: Pamphlets come in 13 different languages. Details can be found here.
Nearest Station: Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu Skytree Line), Oshiage Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
Access: 2-minutes walk from Tokyo Skytree Station and Oshiage Station
Price Range: TEMBO DECK 2,820 yen (Fast Skytree Ticket)
Phone Number: +81-5-7055-0634
Official Website: Tokyo Skytree