The famous red and white colored Tokyo Tower is one of Tokyo’s most iconic structures, serving as an active broadcasting facility as well as a popular tourist hotspot. The 333-meters tall tower, with a design inspired the Eiffel Tower in Paris, was completed in 1958 when the city was in need of a large broadcasting tower. Nowadays it is a popular spot to visit mainly because of its skyline views overlooking the greater Tokyo Area. Even though Tokyo Tower is still an active broadcasting antenna, Tokyo’s current tallest tower Tokyo Skytree took over as main broadcasting tower. Tokyo Tower attracts attracts a large number of tourists, welcoming 3 million visitors each year! In the article we will explain everything you need to know about Tokyo, including some great photo spots!
- History of Tokyo Tower
- Best Tokyo skyline views from the observation decks
History of Tokyo Tower
The history of Tokyo’s iconic landmark dates back to the early 1950’s, when television broadcasting started in Japan. Thanks to the rapid economic growth that Japan experienced at that time, more people could afford to buy TVs to watch tv at home and a better broadcasting service was needed. To avoid transmission troubles that could be possibly caused by tall buildings in Tokyo, the new tower had to be much taller than other structures, which resulted in the tallest structure in Japan at the time with a height of 333 meters. In 2012, the tower was surpassed by one of Tokyo’s other iconic structures: TOKYO SKYTREE, but up until today, Tokyo Tower is still the second tallest tower in the country.
Best Tokyo skyline views from the observation decks
Tokyo Tower has two observation decks which are called Main Deck (150m) and Top Deck (250m), from which you can enjoy the panoramic view of Tokyo’s seemingly never ending skyline.
Tokyo Tower Main Deck (150 m)
The Main Deck is the lower observation deck located 150 meters high above the sea level. It consists of two floors which offer a range of facilities and experiences. Challenge yourself and jump on the glass floor Skywalk Window. Through the window you can look down 145 meters straight and see the tiny people and cars at the ground lever. Pay a visit to Great Shinto Shrine of the Tower, the highest located shrine among the all shrines in Tokyo! Relax at Café La Tour before heading to a gift shop The SKY to purchase some memorable gifts. From the Main Deck you can take a high-speed elevator that takes you to the Top Deck in just 45 seconds!
You can reach the Main Deck by elevator or you can choose to walk the stairs! After walking the almost 600 steps you will arrive to the Main Deck at 150m high. Once you reach the top of the open air stairs you will receive an “Ascending Stairs Certificate”, there are 10 different designs to collect! The outdoor stairs of Tokyo Tower are opened daily, unless the weather conditions don’t allow for it.
Height: 150 meters
Highlight: Skywalk Window (Glass Floor)
Needed time: ~30 min
Facilities: restaurant, cafe, restrooms, gift shop
Tokyo Tower Top Deck (250m)
The Top Deck is a special observation deck that fascinates visitors with a stunning view of the metropolitan city. You need to join a Top Deck Tour to enter the luxurious space from which you can enjoy the great view with some extra welcoming services. The interior of the deck is fabulously decorated with mirrors, creating an amazing world perfectly matches the panoramic view. An audio guide, available in 13 languages, helps you get a better understanding of the city and the tower itself while immersing yourself in the cityscape of Tokyo!
Height: 250 meters
Time: 30 min
Facilities: restrooms, photo service, welcome drinks, audio guide, photo shoot service
Note: Reservation is required
Special Lighting up Events at Tokyo Tower
Every five years the red and white of Tokyo Tower is repainted, a process taking up one year. Occasionally, Tokyo Tower’s lighting is changed to specific arrangements for special events too. Depending on the event Tokyo Tower’s light-up frequently changes displaying different themes and designs. There are two major light-ups that welcome visitors with an impressive appearance of the tower dressed with bright illuminations!
1. Basic Light-up: Landmark Light
Landmark Light is a regular light-up that show visitors different light patterns in summer and winter. The tower is set with 180 LEDs that brightly light up the whole tower on the weekdays from Monday to Thursday. You can enjoy the winter version from the early October when the lights turn warm colors such as red and orange! In the summer, the lights shine with a cooler teint of red and white.
2. New Light-up (2020): Infinity Diamond Veil
Infinity Diamond Veil is a new illumination that just started in 2020 to celebrate the arrival of the new era Reiwa in Japan. The tower gets illuminated with 268 LEDs that frequently change the color, creating an endless range of designs and light patterns. Visitors can enjoy different light patterns for each month based on 12 different colors, and the color also changes every hour!
In addition to these ‘normal’ illuminations, there are specific arrangements for special events including National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Christmas and recently there has been a special illumination for the corona pandemic too.
How to get to Tokyo Tower
There are several stations located in the vicinity of Tokyo Tower, you best options are:
- Akabanebashi Station – exit Akabanebashi Gate
~5 min walk
- Kamiyacho Station – exit 1
~7 min walk
- Onarimon Station – exit exit A1
~6 min walk
Tickets Tokyo Tower
There are two ways to purchase the tickets to Tokyo Tower; you can purchase your tickets online or at the counter in person.
Tokyo Tower online tickets
On the Tokyo Tower website you can choose which tickets to buy, with a discount up to ¥200. However, you are required to select the date and time at the time of purchasing.
- Combo tickets for both observation decks.
- Single tickets only for the lower observation deck.
Buy tickets at ticket counter in person
Visit the ticket counter to buy tickets for the observation decks. No reservation is required. Tickets prices are as follows:
|Main Deck (150m)||Top Deck Tour (150m/ 250m)|
|Adult||¥1,200||¥2,800 (online), ¥3,000 (ticket counter)|
|High School Student||¥1,000||¥2,600 (online), ¥2,800 (ticket counter)|
|Elementary/ Junior high school student||¥700||¥1,800 (online), ¥2,000 (ticket counter)|
|Aged 4+||¥500||¥1,200 (online), ¥1,400 (ticket counter)|
Interesting places near Tokyo Tower
Besides the cool views from the observation decks, Tokyo Tower boasts a number of tourist attractions that satisfy your interests and appetite at the same time. Visit Tokyo Tower Foot town that is conveniently located on the lower floors of the tower and houses a range of shops and restaurants!
Another highlight that you shouldn’t miss is Zojoji Temple, a historical spot located next to the tower! It is a Buddhist temple which was originally established in 1393. As a family temple, it had a strong connection with the Tokugawa family, which led over 260 years during the Edo era in the 17th to 19th century. It also plays a significant role as the head temple of the Jodo Sect in Kanto region. Many tourists combine a visit to the temple with Tokyo Tower, which gives them a great opportunity to experience both modern and traditional sides of Japan at one time!
Where to see Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower is one of the most known landmarks of Tokyo visible from afar, making it also a popular photo spot in Tokyo. There are a number of recommended spots, located in the vicinity of the tower as well as further away, that allow you to take great pictures of the iconic tower including TOKYO SKYTREE and Odaiba. Here are our suggestions of the best locations to get the best shots of the landmark, within a short distance from the tower.
As we mentioned above, Zojoji Temple is a popular tourist attraction conveniently situated next to Tokyo Tower. Many tourists flock there not only to explore the historical structures but also to take beautiful pictures showing the contrast between the new landmark and the traditional buildings.
Shiba Park is one of the oldest parks in Japan that was once a part of grounds for Zojoji Temple back in the Edo Period. It was later opened to the public, and is enjoyed by a number of people as a refreshing spot rich in nature. From the peaceful street located in the east part of the park, you can see the iconic tower in front with a row of street lights lighting up the street brightly at night.
Known as one of the most beautiful Christmas illumination spots in Tokyo, Keyakizaka Street offers a stunning view of Tokyo Tower with a sparkling street completely covered with bright lights. The 400 meters street is situated near Roppongi Station, about 20 min by train from Tokyo Tower. The best season is definitely the Christmas season, but it is worth a visit every day.
Hidden photo spot Tokyo Tower: Steps of Tokyo Tower Parking Center
From the Tokyo Tower Parking centre, there is a shortcut to the tower. From these stairs you can take some really cool pictures. It is one of the most popular hidden spots to snap a picture of Tokyo Tower. It is not easy to find from the outside, but once you’ve found it it allows you take take some amazing pictures. When you from from Tokyo Tower towards Hoshuin Temple, you will see the stairs on your right hand, across the street from the restaurant Tokyo Shiba Toufuya Ukai. The exact address is 東京都港区芝公園 4-5-17.
Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Tokyo
Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency offering guided tours in Japan.
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we will organize the best tours for you! If you want to explore Japan to learn more histories and backstories of the area, our knowledgeable and friendly guide will happily take you to the best spots!
Also, we can provide you with any assistance for your upcoming trip in Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions/need some help!
▶Tokyo Fish Market Tour @Tsukiji – Enjoy Local Food and Drink
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo to try some local’s favorite street foods and sake with a friendly guide!
▶Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore the area than being with a knowledgeable guide. You can learn the history and background story of the town, and discover some hidden gems which can be difficult to find otherwise.
▶Asakusa Local Bar Hopping Tour (Evening Tour)
Visit local’s favorite Izakaya bars and enjoy Tokyo’s drinking scene with a guide. We visit a couple of bars to introduce you to the Japanese sake, foods, and monja-yaki (Tokyo’s specialty food). Kampai (cheers)!
Since its completion in 1958 Tokyo Tower has always been a prominent landmark of Tokyo and Japan. Did you known Tokyo Tower has its own emoji; 🗼? You might think Tokyo Tower is now old and less attractive because of all the other (newer) tourist attractions around Tokyo, but the tower is definitely worth a visit! The symbolic tower continues to be a must-visit spot that entertains visitors with exciting events and experiences that you can find only there. It also gives you a great opportunity to learn about the history of the construction of Tokyo, as well as how the metropolitan city was formed through the rapid developments for the past decades!
Do you want our latest travel tips every week in your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter!
Other articles you might like
This post may contain some affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase we may receive some commission, at no extra costs to you.