20 February 2015

Up the Worlds Tallest Tree

As towers go then this must be the ultimate one, what with it being the worlds tallest. Rising to a height of 634m (2080 ft) Tokyo SkyTree should be a must on any visitors itinerary to the big city. Its not just about getting a great view from the two observation decks you can go too but also because it can be part of a day's experience, with enough to keep you occupied for many an hour. So here is why it should be the first place you visit when coming to Tokyo.

Tokyo SkyTree sits rather awkwardly, alone without other skyscrapers to keep it company, unlike its now dwarfed cousin Tokyo Tower. Because of this SkyTree dominates the landscape and when close up is an imposing site, reaching up and touching the sky. Once inside you are welcomed by friendly attendants and large queues. Its advisable to pre-book your tickets to jump the queue (link to a really good website is given below). You are then whisked up to the Tembo deck thats at the 350m (1148 ft) mark. From there you have panoramic views of the giant metropolis extending ever outwards, Mt Fuji and the mountains far into the distance (as long as the weather is good of course).  There is also the obligatory (in towers anyway) glass bottomed floor to stand on, not for the faint hearted that part.

You can go further, up to 450m (1476 ft) and take the Tembo Galleria, a spiralling walk the takes you up to a more conventional observation deck. I hope that the pictures do it justice? The views are amazing and although very crowded you should get an opportunity to have a little time to observe and take in the surroundings. There are also interactive screens that help to point out key features and will keep the children amused. Cafes, gift shops and a restaurant attempt to keep you there for as long as possible. If these don't take your fancy, you could easily spend a good hour perched on top of the tallest tree just looking out. Although not cheap, just over 2000 yen for adults, its still well worth the expense. Once you've conquered the tower your day doesn't end there, oh no. There's shopping and eating to be done! Well it is Tokyo and Japan.

Tokyo SkyTree Town is a niche shopping mecca. Quirky outlets selling fashion and gifts, speciality foods and cinematic experiences can be had here, and large amounts of your cash if not careful! Theres also the very popular Studio Ghibli store with all your favourite characters such a Totoro. It all adds up to a rather fabulous day out. So why should Tokyo SkyTree be number one on your list? Because its cleverly managed, shops and restaurants, cafes and other gimmicks help to keep you there for as long as possible. And at the end of the day its just a tower with a view but boy its one hell of a view!

Do you agree? Let me know if you've been there and if its all its cracked up to be? 

Next from Sketches in Travel: We head back to Europe and a city that will get lots of exposure this year.   

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