Trip to the top of the Tokyo Sky Tree

The Tokyo Sky Tree isn’t scheduled to open to the public until next year but the good people at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club organised a press tour late last month. Here’s a story I did for the press club magazine.

It was a good trip, though the weather was terrible; quite a view, even on a very dull day. Just lucky I don’t have vertigo. The only time I got a bit nervous was when I was pressing my camera against the glass and looking down. Suddenly became aware of the almost 400m drop!

I have to admit to being a little skeptical about these super-tall towers and buildings. One Tokyo Tower is enough for me, although I’ve no doubt this will be incredibly popular with Japanese visitors, and probably foreign tourists too.

 

“The tallest self-supporting tower in the world, the 634m high Tokyo Sky Tree is scheduled to open in February 2012. On October 30th, the observatory deck of the tower, 350m up, was opened to overseas journalists for the first time. The tower is still under construction.

The structure is almost twice the height of the Eiffel tower and gives spectacular views over Tokyo. As well as serving as a broadcasting mast, it is set to become a major tourist attraction. It is a short train journey from Tokyo station and close to the historic Asakusa temple district.

The tower employs the latest architectural technology to protect it both from earthquakes and high winds. A cylindrical concrete core is structurally separate from the tower itself and acts as a counterweight to reduce the effect of tremors. It is an adaptation of the central column of traditional Japanese architecture, known as a shimbashira.

Work on the tower was well underway at the time of the March 2011 earthquake but the tower suffered no damage and no workers were injured.

The tower is made from wide-bore high strength steel pipes. They were made at plants around Japan in sections weighing up to 30 tons. The largest sections at the foot of the tower are 2.3m in diameter.

As well as two observation decks (350m and 450m) shops and restaurants in the tower itself, the surrounding development will house offices, museums and academic institutions.”

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