Saturday, July 02, 2011

Tokyo Sky Tree

I'd forgotten they were even building this thing until our second to last day in Japan, but I had seen it from a distance and wondered what the hell it was. I looked it up and suddenly remembered reading about a "new Tokyo Tower" a while back - well, it's now the Tokyo Sky Tree.  And it's the tallest free-standing tower in the world.

That's a stitched panorama, so I know there's a little weirdness at the seams.  (Autostitch seems to want to match the wires rather than the tower.)

It's not really in such a dumpy neighborhood, I just liked this juxtaposition as we walked around it.  It's actually in Asakusa, which is both an area with a famous temple and from where we took the Himiko boat to Odaiba a few years ago.  And they're building a whole new tourist destination around this tower, but it's not done yet.

It's kind of impossible to convey how tall this thing looks in person.  Here's a side view:

It is the tallest structure in Tokyo by far.  At 634 meters (2,080 feet), it is currently the second tallest free-standing structure of any kind on Earth, next to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  (It doesn't get included on lists of "world's tallest buildings" because it is a "tower", not a "building", though that's kind of a meaningless distinction when you're talking about a tower like this.)  It probably won't hold that distinction for long, but in any case, it's freakin' tall.  It's kind of weird that hardly anybody outside of Japan seems to even know about it.

One reason may be that it's not finished, but then everybody knew about the Burj Khalifa or CN Tower before they were finished.  But you can't go up in it yet; all you can do is walk around it and take pictures like I did.  When they do open the observation deck, they're apparently going to be charging around $30 to get up there - kind of a ripoff, but I'll bet people will pay it.  It's not like views like that are so easy to get in Tokyo.

If you're wondering what's wrong with Tokyo Tower (other than the fact that it's bent) and why they need a new huge tower like this in Tokyo, apparently you can blame it all on HDTV and other digital broadcasts; Tokyo Tower is too short and in too congested an area to carry those kinds of signals.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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