Travel

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree Worth it?

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?

Visited: October 20th 2014

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

 

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it? Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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 Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

 

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

 

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it? Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

 

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

The first observation deck has three floors, one with large windows to enjoy the view.

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

There’s also a café. Another floor has a restaurant and a shop.

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it? Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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!! ;)

 

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it? Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

 

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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!

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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!

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it? Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

You can see Asakusa and the famous Asahi Beer Headquarters on the left photo (the one with the golden thing on top).

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

It’s really easy to guess when I went there, huh? ;)

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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. ;)

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it? Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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.

Is Visiting Tokyo Skytree worth it?

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!

Tourist Information:
Opening Hours:
8:00 – 22:00 (entry until 21:00)
Holidays:
none
Entrance fee:
2060 yen (1st observatory, regular); 1030 yen (2nd observatory); +510 yen for reservations in advance.
Time required:
60 mins (you want to enjoy the view after paying so much money …)
Contact:
1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045; (+81)0570-55-0634
Access:
20 mins walk from Asakusa or by bus (from Tokyo Station, Tokyo Disney Resort, Ueno Station or Haneda Airport) or by train / subway 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).
Please note: Prices as well as opening hours / holidays are subject to change. Please make sure to follow the provided link to the official website to check out the latest updates.

25 Comments

  • Good post. Always wondered about this. I remain skeptical. It is a lot of money. To be honest though, I’ve been put off since I saw it wobble on TV during the earthquake in 2011 even though everyone says it’s a testament to the good construction.

    • Japanese buildings are generally all really strong against earthquakes. I would be a lot more worried in a region that isn’t used to quakes.
      Our houses in Germany would all fall apart immediately, I suppose.

      Though for bridges and super high towers like the Tokyo Skytree, I’m also quite skeptical.
      Then again I wouldn’t have seen anything if I had always been afraid of such things. ;)

  • I visited both observation platforms in august during the “Little Twin stars meet Sayaka(?)-chan” collaboration. The weather was a blast and we could even see the mountians on the other side of the tokyo bay and also catch a glimpse on the clouded Mnt. Fuji. It was a great experience but even with this good weather, the price for both platforms and the foreign fast pass (cutting down the waiting time from >2h to <5 minutes) with a total of ~3100 yen per adult (~25€ depending on the exchange rate) is a bit to high in my oponion.

    The most funny thing I rememeber was discovering Braille writing on the hand rail at the highest point of second platform telling you something along the lines "You are now 435 meters above Tokyo and have a wonderful view over the whole city", pretty dark humor. I hope blind people get a discount when visiting the skytree. Well, at least they aren't dependent on the waether, right?

  • I actually have been there two times. In 2012, I wanted to go up on the day of Sumidagawa Summer Festival. We went there 9am, but all tickets for the day were already sold out. And noone was up there. We asked if we could go up for an hour or so, because everyone was waiting for the evening hours to watch the fireworks from up there anyway… but we were still not allowed. So it really looks like the tower was empty until it got dark.

    Last year I finally climed up the tower, although it was raining. We went there in the afternoon and waited until it got dark. Although it was raining and cloudy, we had a beautiful view. The grey clouds and the enlightened Tokyo looked so beautiful together. And it was not crouded at all. It looks like that many pleople think that they only have a good view when the weather is clear. But it only has not to be foggy to have a great view. :)

    • That’s too bad, but I understand why they wouldn’t let you up there. Would have been cool to be one of the only ones up there, though. ;)

      I suppose the night view must be stunning. I’ve always loved the night views of Tokyo from higher up. ^__^

  • I visited several observation decks in Tokyo and Osaka, and Sky Tree for me is one of the best. I was not waiting in the line at all (it was a Thursday evening somewhere close to Christmas), and I’d say it’s worth the price

  • Hi, I have just spent 3 weeks in Japan with my husband for our honeymoon, and I’d first like to thank you for your useful articles. Our trip was great and well-prepared thanks to all the info we found beforehand.
    So we have been to Tokyo Stytree Tembo Deck. We took the fast tickets, and queued only about 20 min. We had our passports but actually didn’t need them to buy our tickets. The fast tickets seem not to be restricted to foreigners as far as we can tell. The difference with the usual tickets is only price and queueing time. The extra cost to go up “fast” is definitely worth it. We didn’t go to the Galeria because we read that there is not much difference with the panorama from the deck, and thought the Deck was enough.
    We are not used to visit observation decks. We had a room at the 32th floor of our hotel and could already enjoy the view (incl. Skytree), and the hotel bar at the 45th floor (160m) was also something. Plus we live in Paris and have been up the Eiffel tower a couple of times. But these can’t compare with the Skytree!!
    About the Strytree itself: I would definitely recommend it but I think my husband wouldn’t. My husband doesn’t really like being so high, and didn’t think it was worth the money, whereas I could have stayed there for hours… The sensation up there is really like being in the sky, it’s so high (and modern) it felt like being on another planet, like in a sci-fi movie. The emotion was strong when the doors of the elevator opened at the deck. We went at day time, the weather was great, and the view was really enjoyable and interesting, even though Fuji-san didn’t show up… Anyway the facility is very well organised, and we have no negative comment.

    • Thank you so much for the additional information, Ludivine! :)
      I’m glad to hear you enjoyed your trip! ^___^

      I suppose part of the joy of being up there was the great weather then. You need to be really lucky to see Mt. Fuji. T_T

  • Went to the Tokyo skytree yesterday at 7.30pm but was told that it was cloudy so the view was misty so we did not go up. Then my son who had piloting lessons said that the Japanese counter girls tricked us into believing that all was ‘gray’ up there on the the TV screen. My son was so mad because he had flown into clouds and even in bad conditions you can always see the the buildings on the ground. I think this was so that we returned the next day to purchase the express ticket since yesterday night there were not many people and we were told to purchase the normal tickets. If this is true then we really cannot trust the Japs huh?

    • I’m not sure what to say. If the view was really bad, I think it was nice of them to tell you.
      I very much doubt they had any bad intentions. They make more than enough money without relying on tricks like that.

  • A big thank you I am heading off to Japan in March 2017 and I am very excited to spend 11 days in Japan, during our time although it,s not on our itinerary would love to check out The Tokyo Sky Tree Tower

      • Thanks for your feedback, in regards to the Skytree Tower which would be a buzz, judging by the crowds it’s no doubt hugely popular amongst the tourists upon things to do, i guess to guarantee a visit it would be better to purchase a ticket in advance? This is one trip i am really looking forward too for the first time thanks

        • Yes and no.
          If you purchase a ticket in advance for a certain date, then you might be super unlucky with the weather on that day and then CERTAINLY it’s not worth going up there. :/ …

  • Hello, thanks for the background info. We are booked to go up on 24th March and looking forward to it. Then we are off to Kyushu for 2 weeks our 4th Trip from NZ

  • My friend and I planned to go to Tokyo Skytree after Asakusa today,when there were few clouds around the region. We originally wanted to purchase express visitor tickets on the spot, but seeing there were few people and with the counter lady’s recommendation, we bought normal tickets instead.
    When we got up there, more clouds clouded our view so we couldn’t see the Disney resort and Mt Fuji, which was quite disappointing. Tokyo tower was only slightly visible. Another downside is that there were no upward-heading escalator, since we didn’t want to wait for the lift when we moved between floors. (There were stairs, but our legs were burnt out after our trek in Sensoji.
    The overall view was nice though.
    We then decided to see the Galleria Deck after that, to see if there was anything worth seeing: the view was a bit more impressive (tinier tiny people), but generally more or less the same.
    However, there was a collaboration with Attack on Titan, so there were special goods, additional story and sounds to the walkway and giant figures of the giants and something-corps, along with copies of original animation drafts. It’s worth our money that way.
    I guess whether it was worth it or not depends on the weather itself. For the Galleria Deck, wait for special events.
    (PS, I then did some research and there was a collaboration with Macross F a few years ago.I wished I was there)

    • It definitely depends on the weather which is why I wouldn’t purchase a reserved ticket.
      Because then you’re bound to that day – no matter if it’s rainy or sunny.

      But as we both have experienced, the weather can change in a matter of a few hours and once you’re up there, it can be quite horrible.

      I’m a bit envious you got to see a special Attack on Titan collab.
      For something like that, it might be worth even in bad weather. ;)

      • I guess it always pays off to do some research or have dumb luck.
        Only if weather was predictable, but that would be asking for too much. Maybe it would be better if there was a plan B so there might be a chance on switching dates for clearer weather, perhaps right after a rainy day.

  • As a wannabe videographer I rather INCLUDE Skytree in my shots than be in it. Tokyo’s skyline consists of clusters of bldgs here and there. Being in Skytree doesn’t make for great photos.

      • The comparison between Skytree & Fujisan: it’s the hike up Fuji, the activity in itself, that one pursues, not the view from the top of it. I don’t know or read of anyone who walked up Mount Fuji for the view.

        Of course “climbing” Skytree would be just as, if not more exhilarating than checking out the view from the top of it. Tell me about it after you do THAT.