Tokyo Tower and surroundings
last update: December 08, 2020
Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) is a steel telecommunications tower, 333 meters high. For many years the tower has also become a tourist attraction, with panoramic observatories open to the public and other attractions. Often framed in many films and anime set in Tokyo, the Tokyo Tower has also become one of the most internationally well-known landmarks of the city. It is located in the very center of Tokyo, in the special ward of Minato, near the area of Azabu and Shiba Park.
Tokyo Tower area
Practical information for your visit
: 1200¥ for the main observatory (150m), 3000¥ for the highest observatory (250m)
Other useful info:
if you visit Tokyo Tower on your birthday, you will receive a special gift
A brief history of Tokyo Tower
The construction works for the Tokyo Tower began in June 1957 and ended just over a year later, at the end of 1958. The reasons that prompted the construction of the Tokyo Tower were two. In the first place it was necessary to build a broadcasting tower, following the spread of television in the country (in 1953 the broadcasts of the public TV NHK had begun). Also, there was a desire to build something incredible to symbolize Japan's post-war rebirth and rise as a new global power.
At the time of its inauguration, Tokyo Tower became the tallest tower in the world and held that record until 1967. The architect was Tachū Naitō
, who had already designed several similar towers around the country but much smaller, such as the Nagoya TV Tower (1954) and the Tsutenkaku Tower in Osaka (1956). For the design of the new Tokyo Tower, the architect was inspired by the Eiffel Tower
in Paris, surpassed in height by the Tokyo Tower of 13 meters. Tokyo Tower remained the tallest man-made structure in Japan until the construction of the Tokyo Sky Tree
On the Tokyo Tower there are two panoramic observatories open to the public, at different heights:
- The main deck (1200¥) is about 150 meters high, and is divided into two very spacious floors. Here you will also find a café, a small concert hall, a small Shinto shrine, and a mailbox for sending letters and postcards with an original stamp. On the first floor there are also glass floors for bold tourists.
- The top observation deck is about 250 meters high. Refurbished in 2018, it now has a very futuristic vibe, with the walls and roof covered in mirrors. This observatory can be visited through a kind of tour, which also includes an audio guide and other small things. It can be booked online with a 200¥ discount.
In the past you could sometimes find long lines to go up the Tokyo Tower. Since the opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree
it has lost some popularity, especially among the Japanese. It continues to be much loved by many foreign tourists who may have seen this tower as children in some anime or manga.
the main deck and the top deck (credits)
the glass floor on the first floor of the main observatory
Tokyo Tower Foot Town
There is a five-storey building at the base of the tower that can be accessed freely. On the ground floor there are ticket offices and lifts. On the first two floors there are several restaurants and a few shops. On the third floor there is a small exhibition area about this tower. On the top two floors, until July 2020 there was a theme park dedicated to One Piece (Tokyo One Piece Tower
). There is currently nothing.
Climb the Tokyo Tower on foot
Not everyone knows that it is possible to walk up to the main observation deck at 150 meters. The starting point of the long staircase, consisting of 600 steps, is located on the roof of the building at the base of the tower. The stairs are generally open to the public only on weekends and holidays and only if the weather is good. If you have no particular problems, you should be able to get there in about 10-15 minutes of climbing. It is a highly recommended experience to enjoy the climb of the tower in peace, because very few people use the stairs. In any case you will still have to pay the admission fee of 1200¥, but you will receive a special certificate, complete with a stamp on arrival, which will certify that you have completed the challenge.
Tokyo Tower seen from below, on the roof of Tokyo Tower Foot Town
along the steps to climb the Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower surroundings
(free admission to the temple grounds, opening hours 9-17)
Zojoji Temple (増上寺) is the main temple in the region of the Jodo Buddhist sect. This temple is a stone's throw from Tokyo Tower, and from its gardens you can take beautiful photos that frame Japan's ancient and modern together, the temple buildings with Tokyo Tower in the background. Inside the temple there are now some large buildings, a mausoleum of the Tokugawa family (500¥) and a small museum (700¥). In 1598 Tokugawa Ieyasu chose it as his family temple. The family mausoleum is located at the rear of the complex and contains the tombs of six Tokugawa shoguns. At its peak the temple had more than 120 buildings, nearly all of which were destroyed during bombing in World War II. Most of the current buildings of Zojoji Temple are recent reconstructions, with the exception of the main entrance gate, the Sangedatsumon, which has survived many centuries and dates back to 1622. A huge 1:10 scale reconstruction of the ancient temple that was destroyed is located inside the musem.
Next to the Zojoji there is also a large park, Shiba Koen, where to relax and from where you can see the Tokyo Tower emerging among the trees.
Azabu-Jūban is a residential area about 15 minutes from Tokyo Tower, one of the trendiest and most sought after in Tokyo. It is located within a much larger international area of Tokyo, where some embassies are also located. Numerous artists and famous people live around here, for example Ayumi Hamasaki
and Naoko Takeuchi
, the creator of Sailor Moon
. The Sailor moon anime and manga itself is set in this neighborhood.
The area has a very special atmosphere, with several narrow streets with both houses and small shops. One of the oldest temples in Tokyo, the Buddhist temple Zenpuku-ji
, is located near Azabu-Jūban.
This beautiful park is located not too far from Azabu-Jūban station and very close to Hiroo station
. Inside there is a very quiet atmosphere with a beautiful pond where you can see some old fishermen trying to fish who knows what. Sometimes in the morning it gets crowded with children from the many nearby schools. Some episodes of the anime and manga of Sailor Moon
are set in this park.
Hotels overlooking Tokyo Tower
It can be very fascinating to fall asleep looking at the lights of Tokyo Tower from the window. For this reason, we offer you four different alternatives of different price ranges.
A very comfortable capsule hotel located near Hamamatsucho station, 20 minutes walk from Tokyo Tower. As this is a capsule hotel you will obviously have no view from the room. On the top floor of the building, however, there is a panoramic common room with several tables and seats. On the roof there is also a terrace open to the public.
Price range: 3,000-4,000¥.
A no-frills, reasonably-priced business hotel located near Hamamatsucho station, and also about 20 minutes from Tokyo Tower. Some rooms have a view of Tokyo Tower, although not perfect (the building is not very tall). If interested, do not forget to specify this preference when booking.
Price range: single rooms 5,500-7,000¥, double rooms 6,500-8,000¥.
Henn na is a Japanese hotel chain that has become famous because the receptionists are robots. Beyond that, they are normal business hotels. The Hamamatsucho hotel, a stone's throw from the JR station and about 20 minutes from Tokyo Tower, also has rooms with a view of the tower that can be chosen directly when booking.
Price range: single rooms 7,000-7,000¥, double rooms 9,000-10,000¥.
The Prince Park Tower is a hotel from another planet, unfortunately it takes a lot of money to stay here. It is located inside a 33-story skyscraper surrounded by Shiba Koen park and practically in front of the Tokyo Tower (350 meters as the crow flies). The hotel is very elegant, with several fine restaurants inside and a panoramic lounge bar on the top floor. Inside there is also bowling, karaoke, spa, and many other services. Not all rooms face the Tokyo Tower side, you have to choose it specifically and it costs more. For an even more incredible view, book a corner room.
Price range: double rooms 25,000-45,000¥.
Eat around Tokyo Tower and in Azabu
Eating inside the Tokyo Tower
On the tower's main observatory there is a cafe (Cafe La Tour) serving drinks and foods including sandwiches, hot dogs, pastries and ice cream. It's nothing special, only good if you feel like munching on something while enjoying the panoramic view. In the building under the tower, the Tokyo Tower Foot Town, there are about ten cafes and restaurants, there you can find pizza, burgers, ramen, gyudon, ice cream and waffles. Outside, in front of the entrance to the tower, you will also find a crepes kiosk (Marion Crepes) and sometimes other temporary stores, for example at Christmas.
The Azabujuban area has a certain tradition for soba restaurants. There are several of them in the neighborhood. The most legendary is Sarashina-Horii, founded in 1789.
National Azabu Supermarket
A large supermarket with a lot of international imported food. Widely used by the large expat community in the area. It is located near Hiroo station.
How to get to the Tokyo Tower
The closest subway stations to Tokyo Tower are Onarimon station
(Toei Mita line
), Akabanebashi station
(Toei Oedo line
) and Kamiyacho station
), all about a 5-10 minute walk from the tower.
The closest JR station is Hamamatsucho station
), located 20 minutes on foot.
If you want to take a walk in the neighborhood of Azabu-juban
, Azabu-juban station
(Toei Oedo line
and Namboku line
), is located right there.
Reach Tokyo Tower on foot
The areas of Roppongi
are about a 15-20 minute walk from the tower.
Map of Tokyo Tower area
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences
How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences
Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience
, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities
all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets
for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table
in hundreds of restaurants.
Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences
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