Tokyo Day 5

Your poor reporter is exhausted, so today I'm going to keep this short. Here's the condensed version:

  • up late after my very long Tsukiji day
  • Senso-ji - a temple, a red-painted madhouse
  • meet Trine at Skytree
  • soba and tempura shrimp lunch
  • Shibuya crossing, Shibuya area
  • video game parlour
  • Harajuku
  • Meiji-Jingu, so much more peaceful than Senso-ji
  • Yoyogi Park
  • Takeshita Street, so tacky
  • Omote-sando for the high end shopping
  • Skytree
  • kaiten sushi

I hope to expand on some of that later, although I can't promise. At the moment, let me talk about Skytree. Tokyo Skytree is the second tallest tower in the world, second only to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Which made it ironic that I was attending with Trine - who had two weeks previously been up the Burj. I like to make a point of going up tall towers wherever I travel, and they often have a chart of the usual suspects showing where they fit in amongst the various towers of the world. At Tokyo Tower the CN Tower was still the tallest, so they clearly hadn't updated their stats in a while. But I get a kick looking at those charts and going "been up it, haven't been there, been up it ..." I remember being particularly amused this time to be able to say I'd been up the Fernsehturm - in the former East Berlin, one of the ugliest towers in the world.

We showed up at the Skytree in Asakusa (which was a backwater part of Tokyo before they built this - sort of like building the CN Tower in Woodbridge) at 1215. We were given a piece of paper that entitled us to return between 1830 and 1900 to line up to buy tickets. (Apparently there was an option to reserve either tickets or possibly a time slot online: we didn't know that was needed.) So we did some other stuff, and came back at 1830. We lined up for an hour for the ¥2000 ($20) ticket before we got on the elevator - this is definitely one of the hot tickets in town. By which time the sun had gone down so we got great views of Tokyo at night from 350 meters up (did I mention that this is a big tower?), but also our feet were so damn tired from standing in line for an hour and walking all day that we only stayed 40 minutes. I think the ideal time to go up towers like this is just before sunset: you get to see the city by day, see the sunset, and see the city by night. Managed it once at the CN Tower, and it was pretty fantastic.

Speaking of the CN Tower - for comparison, the observation deck there is at 346 meters, so essentially identical to the height I was at in Tokyo Skytree. They both have a higher deck, I haven't compared those two and we didn't bother with it at the Skytree.

photo: Tokyo Skytree

A slightly dizzying view up the very welded-metal-tubing-looking Skytree