The Tokyo Skytree certainly became a new symbol of Tokyo and is very popular among tourists.
But is it really worth visiting Tokyo Skytree considering it’s quite pricy to go up there?
When I moved to Japan in 2008, there was no Skytree (as it was completed in 2012).
For me as well as for the older generation the symbol of Tokyo will always be Tokyo Tower.
Access to Tokyo Skytree
If you’re already in Asakusa you can cross the Sumida River and walk there in about 20 minutes. I recommend this approach as it gives you the chance to take some nice photos of Skytree from further away.
You can also get there by train / subway either getting off at “Tokyo Skytree Station” (Tobu Skytree Line) or “Oshiage Station” (Tobu Skytree Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Narita Sky Access Keisei Line, Toei Asakusa Line).
Alternatively you can take a bus departing from various locations such as Tokyo Station, Tokyo Disney Resort, Ueno Station or Haneda Airport.
Is it crowded? Should I reserve a ticket?
In October 2014 when I happened to be in Tokyo, I thought I should finally give it a try.
The weather looked nice and it wasn’t high season, so I thought it might not be that crowded. I also had nothing else to do, so why not?
I arrived there around 11 a.m. and a lot of people had already lined up. So many that there even was a long line outside of the building.
1.5 hours later I was finally inside and the ticket counter was in sight.
A hint for foreign visitors: Purchase the “Skytree Fast Ticket“. It’s more expensive than the regular one, but it allows you to skip the lines. You need to have your passport with you. Reserving a ticket is difficult as you can only do it in Japanese and you need a Japanese credit card, so the “Fast Ticket” is a good alternative.
About Tokyo Skytree
The Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) is located in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward (not too far away from the popular Asakusa).
The region’s old name was “Musashi” and that’s how the height of the tower was decided:
6 (mu, 六), 3 (sa[n], 三), 4 (shi, 四) = 634 m.
At the time of its completion it was the tallest structure in Japan and the tallest tower in the world.
1st Observation Deck – Tembo Deck (350 m)
Both of Tokyo Skytree’s observation decks are the highest in all of Japan and among the highest worldwide.
The first observation deck has three floors, one with large windows to enjoy the view.
There’s also a café. Another floor has a restaurant and a shop.
And yet another one lets you stare at your feet standing on a glass floor so that you can see what’s beneath you.
Warning: Not for people who’re afraid of heights!! ;)
2nd Observation Deck – Tembo Gallery (450 m)
The second observation deck also offers large windows and a spiral ramp that slowly goes up all the way to the highest point at 451,2 m.
You have to pay an additional admission fee at the 1st observation floor to get up to the second one, though.
I don’t know if the view from up there makes any difference. As the weather wasn’t that great, I decided not to waste any more money.
So, is visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?
The view from up there is still quite impressive if you’ve never seen Tokyo from above. And the great thing about the Skytree is that you’re high above everything else. But considering how expensive it is, I’d still recommend cheaper or free alternatives.
As you know I’ve been on top of many buildings offering great views, not only in Tokyo but all over Japan. Personally I really liked the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku. It’s not as high as the Skytree with only 243 m (observatory at 202 m), but it’s offering awesome views of Tokyo and Mt. Fuji and it’s all free of charge!
If you’re lucky with the weather, I’d say visiting Tokyo Skytree’s observation platforms is worth it.
However, as you cannot control the weather, it’ll always be a gamble!
If you reserve tickets in advance, then you have to go on that specific date no matter how bad the weather is.
And if you go without a reservation on a clear day, you might have to wait in line for many hours and nobody can guarantee that the weather will still be ok once you get up there.
Please keep in mind that the weather forecast isn’t always accurate!
And that’s exactly what happened to me! By the time I finally got up to the 1st observation platform the weather had changed. It got kind of cloudy and the view wasn’t that great.
Usually you’re supposed to be able to see really far and even spot Mt. Fuji.
You can see Asakusa and the famous Asahi Beer Headquarters on the left photo (the one with the golden thing on top).
It’s really easy to guess when I went there, huh? ;)
One good thing about Tokyo Skytree is that there are huge touch screens where you can play around and figure out where things are, zoom in etc. A lot better than the good old maps you have in other buildings. ;)
Visiting Tokyo Skytree’s base is definitely worth it as there are many shops, restaurants and even an aquarium.
You don’t have to go up to the observation platform. Just stroll around the tower and take photos of it from far away and then enjoy shopping instead.
Tokyo’s night view from up there is certainly more interesting, so you might want to go up at night instead.
Again it only makes sense if the sky is relatively clear.
Or you just enjoy the night view and the changing colors of Tokyo Skytree (changing daily from blue “Iki” to purple “Miyabi”) from further away while strolling through Asakusa, for example.
Have you been to Tokyo Skytree yet?
I’d like to hear about your experience!
Have you been up to Tokyo Skytree yet? Did you proceed to the second observation platform as well? How was it?
Is the view from Tokyo Skytree worth the high admission price?
Or did you just go shopping there?
Let us know in the comments below!