Climbing the Tokyo Skytree

Climbing the Tokyo Skytree

Since 2012, Japan has been the home to the world’s tallest tower. That’s when the top section was added to the Tokyo Skytree; it reaches up a breathtaking 634 meters (2,080 ft) above the Japanese capital. Visitors can now go up and check out the view.

How high is 634 meters? It’s twice the height of the Eiffel Tower. On a clear day you can have lunch in the Skytree’s lower observation area and gaze out—way out—to Mt. Fuji on the horizon. From the upper observation deck you can distinctly see the curvature of the planet!

    WHOLE Family Travel

    This post is part of our ongoing series featuring family travel ideas that are as much fun for adults as they are for children. It’s brought to you in cooperation with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, whose properties are as luxurious and welcoming for adults as they are for children. For more kid-friendly travel ideas in Four Seasons locations check out their Have Family Will Travel blog.

    fourseasons4 Climbing the Tokyo Skytree

To be clear, the Skytree is not world’s tallest man made structure — that distinction still goes to the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai. Unlike a building, a tower does not have permanently inhabitable floors that go to the top.

The Tokyo Skytree bests the previous record holder for the world’s highest tower, China’s Canton Tower, by 34 meters. The Canton Tower, though, is made of concrete. So is the next tallest tower, Toronto’s CN Tower. In fact, you’d have to go down to #11 on the world’s tallest tower list, the 375-meter high Tashkent Tower in Uzbekistan, to find another made out of steel.

Building a tower this tall using steel as your primary material is a difficult (and expensive!) undertaking. In the case of the Skytree, the strength and flexibility steel was essential to seismic proofing. In order for the tower to withstand Japan’s powerful earthquakes, the engineers had to design a internal pillar that attaches to the outer structure via oil dampers 125 meters above the ground. This pillar acts as a sort of cushion in the event of a quake.

Visiting the Tokyo Skytree

There are two upper areas open to the public:

tokyo skytree tower s Climbing the Tokyo Skytree follow me on pinterest button Climbing the Tokyo Skytree The Tembo Deck is 350 meters high, a journey the high-speed elevators will make in a mere 50 seconds. The Tembo Deck is awash with restaurants and the obligatory bunch of souvenir shops. Between a meal/drink and looking around, one can easily wile away 90 minutes here.

The Tembo Galleria, at 450 meters above the ground, is another 30 second elevator ride up from the Tembo Deck. This is purely an observation area, with floor-to-ceiling windows of the view. (See pic, below.)

From the Galleria one gets a remarkable vista down on the teeming humanity that is Tokyo. Though you better hope the elevators don’t break while you’re up there — the way down via the emergency staircase involves 2,523 steps.

updated: 12 June 2013


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  Why 634 meters? Because the tower’s architect has a sense of humor. In Japanese, six (“mu”), three (“sa”) and four (“shi”) combine to make “Musashi,” the traditional name of the Tokyo neighborhood where the Skytree stands.

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Planning your trip

4seasons tokyo Climbing the Tokyo SkytreeWhere to stay: The Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is an intimate boutique hotel for parents. Kids get welcome amenities, child-sized bathrobes and a bedtime snack (to say nothing of complimentary PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo games!).

Getting there via public transportation: From the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi, walk to the Takaracho Station (about 10 mins), take the Asakusa Line towards Keiseitakasago and exit at the Skytree Station.

On a Narita airport stopover: Time between flights? You’ll need several hours to get to the Skytree and back. Take the 53-minute Narita Express to Tokyo Station. From there you’ll need to change subway lines twice to get to the Skytree’s eponymous station.

How much? Access to the lower Tembo Deck costs ¥2,500. You can purchase tickets in advance online but at the time of writing the website was only available in Japanese. To get to the upper Tembo Galleria you’ll have to purchase an additional ¥1,000 ticket; they’re sold near the queue for the elevator on the Tembo Deck.

Family friendly? Absolutely! Your kids will likely be more fearless about going up to the glass and looking down than you will.

For your bookshelf: Towering Giants and Other Tall Megastructures

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More from Spot Cool Stuff:

Fuji-Q in Yamanashi, Japan: The World’s Steepest Roller Coaster
Tokyo’s Bar of Buddhist Monk Bartenders
Aiguilles de Chamonix: The Most Amazing View in the Alps
The World’s Tallest Climbing Wall

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  1. Madeline says:


    I saw that typo later.


    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Madeline says:

    Um, if you’re going to write an article about something…be sure you get it’s name right. It’s not called “Tokyo Skytower”, it’s Sky Tree. You keep changing the name through out the article and it’s very disrespectful. The person who wrote this clearly has neither been there or simply doesn’t care. Also, you mention that it isn’t the tallest building, which is true but it IS the tallest Viewing Platform in the world. It isn’t called a tower at all, it’s a radio antenna. In addition, that hotel is not convenient to Sky Tree at all. You should have picked somewhere in Sumida or Oshiage neighborhood. If you want a more realistic article about Sky Tree, you should read it here:

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Travel Stuff Reply:


    Where to start?

    We referred to the Tokyo Skytree as a “tower” because that, technically, is what it is. Tower with a small T. We never used “Tower” in the context of a proper name.

    On the subject of the name, one of the many questions we asked our Skytree PR contact concerned the correct way to refer to the tower in English. She stressed that “Skytree” was one word (not two, as you used) and that it should be in all caps. As in: TOKYO SKYTREE. To us, writing it that way made it seem like we were shouting the name, so we made the editorial choice (as many other publications did) not to use all caps.

    By any name, the Skytree does not have the world’s tallest viewing platform. (Nor is “viewing platform” capitalized). In fact, it only ranks as the fourth tallest.

    It is true that there are hotels that are closer in proximity to the Skytree. Our recommendation was based on the assumption that our readers weren’t going to Tokyo ONLY to see the Skytree. In terms of a cool place to stay in a central location, we think our hotel recommendation would compare very favorably to anywhere you can suggest in Sumida or Oshiage. That said, it would have been a good idea to explain our thinking a bit more.

    We love different thoughts and opinions and invite everyone to share. We wish your comment had been more in that spirit. Spot Cool Stuff cares deeply about EVERY post we write. For you to declare that we don’t when you’ve had zero contact with anyone here — now THAT’S disrespectful.

    ~ SCS

    [Reply to this comment]

    Madeline Reply:

    I admit I was snarky in my comment although, for anyone who has actually visited Skytree this article doesn’t seem like the person who wrote it has actually there. But first, thank you for changing your mention of Tokyo Sky tower (as a proper name) with Sky Tree. I appreciate that you listened to me.
    One of the best things to do with kids (and should be featured in a series about traveling with the family) at Skytree is the Sumida Aquarium. Also, it isn’t easy to see Skytree as a Narita stopover. It takes much longer than the 53 mins that is suggested.
    Thank you for taking the time to edit your article. The corrections you made to my grammar are absolutely correct and I should have payed more attention to that.
    Madeline recently posted..Abracadabra AbecedariumMy Profile

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Kerwin says:

    I was there on the opening day and have blogged about it.
    It’s an awesome structure in an awesome neighborhood.
    Thanks for sharing it.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Travel Stuff Reply:

    Thanks, Kerwin. (And nice meeting you at the travel conference last weekend).

    For our readers, Kerwin took lots of photos of the opening day: check them out here

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Traci says:

    Wow! Love this, despite my paralyzing fear of heights! Pretty sure my knees would buckle as I walked over to the windows.
    Traci recently posted..The Wienermobile, Bootmobile, and other BIG Things on Wheels This Year!My Profile

    [Reply to this comment]

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