Many people ask me if they should visit Tokyo Tower or Tokyo Skytree when they go to Japan. While my recommendation is to do both if you can, I realize vacation time is often (sadly) limited. So, if I have to choose, Tokyo Skytree wins hands down. Here’s why.
Tokyo Skytree is An Architectural Marvel.
While both towers are iconic landmarks with impressive architectural designs, only the Skytree is unique. Tokyo Tower is a replica of Paris’s Eiffel Tower, which, while beautiful, isn’t unique. And then there’s Skytree’s sheer magnitude. At 2,080 feet (634m) tall, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan (and the 2nd tallest in the world!) with Tokyo Tower coming in at a distant 2nd, standing at approximately 1,093 feet (333m) tall.
Tokyo Skytree is also an incredible feat of modern anti-earthquake engineering. Completed in 2012, designers incorporated seismic-proofing features into the Skytree, such as a central shaft made of reinforced concrete, and dampers, which move at different intervals than the outer structure during an earthquake, creating a stabilizing effect. (And the design has already been proven in major earthquakes, including the disastrous 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake).
The Views are Unparalleled.
With its 360-degree observation decks at 1,148 and 1,476 feet (350 and 450m) high, Tokyo Skytree has breathtaking views that simply can’t be matched. The observation decks provide endless photo ops of Mt. Fuji, Rainbow Bridge and even Tokyo Tower. (And the views at sunset are nothing short of awe-inspiring.)
There’s A lot to Do at the Tower.
While the Minato area (where Tokyo Tower is located) definitely has its fair share of entertainment (and is worth a visit), attractions are fairly spread out and require some searching. However, the area surrounding Tokyo Skytree is packed with dining and shopping options, all conveniently located at the foot of the tower. Tokyo Skytree Town is located underneath the tower itself and has restaurants, shops and an indoor Japanese-style market. Next to Tokyo Skytree, there is TOKYO Solamachi Mall, which has a planetarium and aquarium (in addition to shops and dining). Finally, the tower also features Sky Restaurant 634 (Musashi). The venue serves (excellent but pricey) modern Japanese cuisine in an elegant setting perched 1,132 feet (345m) above the city (and yes, reservations are required).
As a bonus, getting to Tokyo Skytree and its surrounding attractions is truly convenient. Tokyo Skytree Station is located at the tower, and Oshiage Station is right across the street. Both stations are served by the Tobu Line. (Toei, Keisei and Tokyo Metro also serve Oshiage Station).
So, if your time in Tokyo is limited (or even if your time in Japan is limited) and you have to choose between Tokyo’s two famous towers, I recommend you see Tokyo Skytree. It will be a fantastic experience you will always remember. In fact, of all the incredible places I have been in Japan, Tokyo Skytree is still one of my favorites.
For helpful tips to plan your visit to Tokyo Skytree, check out 5 Insider Tips for Your Tokyo Skytree Visit
Sources: Tokyo Skytree