Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
A Blue Tokyo Tower? Summer-Only Milky Way Illuminations
Written by Anna
Tokyo Tower is a symbol of Tokyo. It usually has an impressive red appearance, but it actually changes colors through the seasons. Today we'll be introducing its starry Milky Way illuminations.
What Is Tokyo Tower?
Tokyo Tower is a communications tower finished in 1958. It is a symbolic tower of Tokyo, complete with commercial facilities and observatory. The tower has been loved by the people of Japan since long ago.
Tokyo Tower is known for its impressive warm red appearance, but did you know that it actually changes colors depending on the season?
Seasonal events and light-ups are held regularly at Tokyo Tower. Today we will be introducing the blue Tokyo Tower of the summer.
Summer Only! "Milky Way Illumination"
The highlight of Tokyo Tower in the summer is the Milky Way Illumination that is held annually on the first floor of the observatory. Visitors can enjoy illuminations representing the summer night sky and the Milky Way. During this season, the outside stairs connecting the ground and the observatory are also decorated in the same way, and are opened to the public as the "outer staircase of blue stars".
They can be used between 17:00 - 22:00 on weekdays and 11:00 - 22:00 on weekends and holidays, however it is not open on rainy days. You can check the official website for more details on whether or not the staircase is open. Climbing the shining blue stairs will have you excited even before you reach the observatory.
There is a daily-changing event stage on the first floor of the observatory called Club333. The day we visited was a Thursday, and a live performance called the "Thursday's Concert" was being held. It was a perfect performance for an adult night out. The audience listened attentively to the beautiful singing, and combined with the illuminations, the place had an entrancing atmosphere.
This is the Look Down Window where you can look directly down through the floor. From here you can see the road way down below and realize how high the observatory actually is. Even if you're normally scared of heights, the Milky Way illuminations might give you enough courage to try it out.
Held At The Same Time: "Tokyo Tower Summer Light Fantasia"
This is the Tokyo Tower Summer Light Fantasia that started in the summer of 2016. Projection mapping can be found at the north and west of the observatory second floor. The Japanese summer is represented with shooting stars and fireflies. Virtual fireworks presentations are also held four times a day, at 19:15, 20:15, 21:15, and 22:15. Enjoy the fireworks in the Tokyo night sky!
This projection mapping is done on the the upper two windows here. Can you tell why? Projecting the starry sky on the upper windows puts the stars above the actual Tokyo cityscape. Here, visitors can enjoy a star-filled sky along with the Tokyo city night view.
For 2016, a song called "Hoshi ga Kireina Yoru Deshita" ("It was a night with beautiful stars") by the Japanese band Kobukuro is used as a theme song. The voices of the two male vocalists fill the room. Performances associated with Kobukuro music can be seen six times a day at 7 PM, 8 PM, 9 PM, 9:30 PM, 10 PM, and 10:30 PM.
On the second floor of the observatory there is a small shrine called the Tower Daijingu. It is the shrine at the highest location in Tokyo's 23 wards. Because it is located at a high altitude, students hoping for better grades often come to visit. It is also said to have good effects for romantic connections, so go ahead and make a wish if you feel the need.
I Can't Speak Japanese...?
Some people might be worried about visiting as they can't speak or understand Japanese, but there's no need to worry. Pamphlets are available in English, Chinese, and Korean. The announcements in the elevator are also made in English. Free Wi-Fi can be used at the Special Observatory (250 m), the Main Observatory (150 m), and on the third floor of the Foot Town. So you probably won't have any problems enjoying the facility. It's said that about 30% of all the visitors here come from overseas.
Tokyo Tower isn't just a fun communications tower. It's a tower where you can learn about Japan's four seasons and the city of Tokyo itself. How about visiting Tokyo Tower and its bright starry sky this summer?