I’ve finally been able to gratify what could be termed an almost 3-year long obsession – after all, I could watch Tokyo’s new landmark grow into the sky from my balcony. Since I did not want to leave things to chance, I reserved my ticket online (only possible with Japanese credit card). We chose an 8pm time slot thinking that a night view of Tokyo would be particularly impressive. The precaution of the advance reservation turned out to be unnecessary: there was no queue to buy tickets (of course this may be different during the daytime).
On the evening of our visit, the Sky Tree shone in white and blue. Access is easy via the Skytree Station or Oshiage Station. The structures at the base of the Sky Tree are very modern and shiny. The admission price to the lower Tembo Deck at 350m is rather steep with 2000Y, but what could I do? It had to be done. At least I was right, the night view is very impressive. Upon exiting the elevator, a sea of light spread out below us. Easily recognizable landmarks are the Tokyo Tower (dwarfed by the Sky Tree and sadly obsolete) with the surrounding tall buildings of Central Tokyo, and the Ferris wheel on Odaiba. Tokyo Bay is recognizable by the lack of lights, and also the Rainbow Bridge can be made out easily. In all other directions, there are lights go far as you can see. They don’t end because there are no more of them, but because the ones behind are receding in the mist.
After the first round, we were compelled to spend another 1000Y to go up to the highest level, the Tembo Galleria at 450m. Once you get this far, how can you stop?
The view is noticeably changed from up there, with buildings seeming even more tiny. The overall impression becomes almost unreal. It doesn’t feel like looking at a real city from high up, but more like looking at something at the movies. The inclined Skywalk that snakes up around the tower was lit in an eerie blue. Unfortunately I did not have a tripod with me to take decent pictures, but I still tried to capture the overall mood.
On the way down, one arrives on the floor below the Tembo Deck which features a Cafe, a souvenir store (of course!) and a portion of floor with a glass bottom.
The Sky Tree is definitely an impressive structure and the experience of visiting the observation decks is well choreographed. Is the price prohibitively expensive? Well, almost. Should you go up there anyway (if you don’t have compelling personal reasons like me)? You definitely do get a view of Tokyo like you’ve never seen before and like you can’t get anywhere else. And it may well be the best way to get a taste of the vastness of the world’s largest conurbation.