CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON
I found out about this site from a friend stationed at Yokota just a few months after it officially opened to the public. Since I planned a trip up to Tokyo anyway, this place was on the top of my to-do list. If you plan to go, you should know that it is still pretty new, even the train station and the entertainment area built under it.
Running a search for this area now-a-days pulls in a slew of great pictures; millions of tourists have already visited Tokyo’s new icon. They even have an English version of the website to assist in convincing you to visit. With a little planning, you can skip the lines and be in and out in under an hour.
First, if you know you are going to Tokyo on a certain day, make your reservation on their website. If you don’t have a reservation, you will have to wait in line for the ticket booth. The wait can be anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours long depending on the time, day, and the amount of people already there. The staff are usually outside holding a sign showing the number of minutes it will take to get to the top.
The best time to visit is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. because the sun won’t be too much of a problem in any direction. Of course, sunrise/sunset and even night times are just as scenic.
Before going up, there are shops, restaurants, a nice park and even an aquarium to visit. I spent a few minutes taking pictures of the tower and getting a quick bite before standing in line. (Really wish I made the online reservation). While standing in line, I saw monitors explaining everything about the construction of the tower and other fun facts in heavy repetition. Once at the ticket booth, you have the option of paying for everything in yen or with most major credit cards.
Once reaching the observation deck, there is a small area to eat as well as shops to purchase souvenirs. There is also a photographer there to take pictures of you at their setup. If you love the view and wish to go even further up, you can purchase additional tickets to the scenic Galleria Level (another 100 meters up) – if you haven’t already purchased these from the booth at the base. This level tends to be less crowded.
Payment: Yen, most major credit cards
Directions: If you are coming from Sensoji Temple and Nakamise Shopping Street in Asakusa, (optional) you can hire a rrr for a scenic ride to the SkyTree for about 4,000 yen. Anywhere else in Tokyo, you can exit the Tobu SkyTree Line’s SkyTree station or Oshiage Station (A20) on the Asakusa Line/(Z14) on the Hanzomon Line.