Tokyo Skytree

Completed and opened in May, 2012, the Tokyo Skytree is the world's tallest free-standing tower (634 meters tall) and the second tallest structure after Burj Khalifa. It is one of those attractions in Japan that you have to see. Or, at least we were told it was a "must see" by a Japanese friend from Perth. Being as "amazing" as we were told, we incorporated it into our itinerary and said to each other "We have to wake up early to get a ticket!".

So the night before we planned to go, we set an alarm for 6:30am. Needless to say, we didn't make it. By the time we were ready and made it to Tokyo Skytree, it was close to midday. I will say now, if you're not there by 9am, then don't bother going because you will be wasting your time.

The next available time of entry that we could buy a ticket for was 6pm that night. We heard that the view would be beautiful at night but we weren't prepared to waste 6 hours waiting for entry for a tower that might not deliver. Between the two of us, we had already been to Seoul Tower, Eureka Tower, Seattle Tower, KLCC and Sydney Tower so in all honestly, we felt like there was nothing we wouldn't have already seen. We made a joint decision not to enter that night but under recommendation of a staff member, decided to go back on Monday morning before 9am in order to secure a ticket. Come Monday morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed and made a few transfers on the subway to get to Tokyo Skytree.

Picture credits to Tokyo Skytree official website

Before 9am, the line was fairly short and moved quickly but soon after we bought our tickets, the line seemed to have lengthened considerably. We were so glad we got there when we did.

Pretty lights on the ticket counter

Waiting to go up into the elevator took a while, was super cramped and my sense of personal space was somewhat violated as it does in Asia and people like to get in as close behind you as they possibly can. It was something that really irked me but couldn't really be helped. Even though I lived in South Korea and personal space is a luxury like it is in Japan, it was something that I still couldn't get used to and made me appreciate the abundance of space we have in Australia.

When we finally were allowed up to the viewing floors, a group of us piled into the elevator. It lit up in pretty lights and had music that tinkled as we went up, up and up. It was all very exciting and the atmosphere in the fairly spacious elevator was that of excitement and awe.

Upon arriving on the deck, I found that I was sorely underwhelmed. I suppose in my mind, I had played it all up and when I actually arrived, it was so... Ordinary. It's a round deck that gives you a 360 view of Tokyo and all the districts, not that I would be able to pick out any just by looking out into the vast city.

Not only that, but looking out into the city that stretched out and out and out, made me feel so lonely. It is such a large city of grey buildings as far as the eye could see and imagining just how many people were out there in this city made me feel so immensely alone and insignificant. I could just imagine walking by hundreds, even thousands of people everyday but never really knowing anyone. I guess I'm just not a big city girl. In my neighborhood, there's always a smile and a hello when I walk the dogs, and sometimes even a chat here and there.

We managed to find Mt Fuji in the far distance on one side of the deck so of course, we began snapping away! But we weren't the only ones that gravitated that way! In fact, it was very crowded! It was so difficult to take pictures with Mt Fuji because there were very rarely any free spots by the window and there were random people that would wind up in the photos.

Close to about 10:30-11:00, Skytree really filled up with people and I was not impressed. There were just so many people shoving and pushing their way through and as soon as you moved from your spot by the window, someone would zoom in and claim the spot to take pictures. Social courtesies just don't seem to exist in these crowded, touristy areas.

I was completely fed up, as you can probably tell by my face.

Being as inexperienced as we were with photography, when we tried to take pictures of us and the background, we just couldn't quite get it right. When we took pictures, either the background didn't show or we were silhouettes (they turned out pretty cool, though).

In the end, we realised we had to use the flash so that both person and the background would show up in the pictures

A video showing the view of Tokyo at night from Skytree

Despite not enjoying it the whole time due to the crowds and the incessant shoving, I did have a good time and I really appreciated Perth again for the umpteenth time since arriving in Japan.

There were some absolutely beautiful views from Tokyo Skytree and it wasn't all grey and dreary, but I suppose seeing just how many buildings there were, how big the city is and how compact everything is, really put everything into perspective.

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