Proudly sitting high above the vast Tokyo skyline in the district of Sumida sits one of Japans greatest modern structures, the Tokyo Skytree. It is an amazing piece of engineering and design and looks amazing in the daytime and even better at night.
I have visited the site myself a couple of times and it is not just the tower, it has a whole complex called Skytree Town at the base with many shops, restaurants and even an aquarium to enjoy.
Here are some interesting facts about the Skytree for you.
- Skytree was completed on Leap Day, 29 February 2012, with the tower opening to the public on 22 May 2012.
- Tokyo Skytree was designed by sculptor Kiichi Sumikawa. The tower was created with a very Japanese-like shape in mind, as it is inspired by a mix of the curve of a Japanese sword as well as the rise of the pillars typically found at shrines and temples.
- In 2008, there was a national vote and 30% of the voters selected to call it “Tokyo Skytree”. One of the bases for the name of Skytree was the warm and hopeful image that it evokes.
- The tower is the centrepiece of a large commercial development funded by Tobu Railway (which owns the complex) and a group of six terrestrial broadcasters headed by NHK. The tower is the primary television and radio broadcast site for the Kanto region.
- The total cost of the Tokyo Skytree is reported to be about 65 billion JPY (806 million USD).
- In November 2011, the Tokyo Skytree was given the rank of the world’s tallest tower as granted by the Guinness World Records. It has a height of 634 metres. The numbers 6 (mu), 3 (sa), 4 (shi) implied Musashi Province which is the previous name for the province where the Skytree sits.
- It is now the second tallest building in the whole world, coming right after Burj Khalifa in Dubai (829.84m). *This is classed as a skyscraper so didn’t knock Skytree off the highest tower top spot.
- The Skytree has been built to stand firm even if a magnitude 7 quake were to strike beneath the building or strong typhoon were to hit, the tower was constructed with extremely strong steel tubes surrounding a central concrete column that are designed to offset each other to reduce the building’s overall motion.
- You can see as far as 75 Kilometres across the city on a clear day from the 450m high Tembo Galleria, one of Tokyo’s most famous sightseeing spots.
- Skytree is painted in its own unique colour, “Skytree White.” The colour is based on “aijiro”, a traditional Japanese light blue, that helps the tower blend into both its traditional and modern surroundings.
- It has 2 main light formations. The blue lights ‘Iki’ represent the spirit of Edo, the royal purple ‘Miyabi’ hints at Edo’s elegance and grace. The added orange represents a special flag called nobori. During special holiday seasons such as Christmas the light display changes accordingly.
- There are 13 elevators. It takes just 50 seconds in a high-speed elevator to arrive at the lower observation deck and another 30 seconds to the top deck. A trip down the emergency staircase, however, involves 2,523 steps.