Tokyo Tower is modeled after another of the tallest self-supporting steel towers in the world—the Eiffel Tower in Paris. However, it is 1,092 feet high and therefore taller than the Eiffel Tower. It is located just on the edge of the lively nightlife that can be found in the Roppongi District. One of the facts about Tokyo Tower is that its original purpose was to support a communications antenna. Today, it is supported about equally by tourism and communications antennae leases.
Its 1958 completion date marked a celebration of the rebirth of Japan as a worldwide economic power. The main Tokyo Tower Observation Deck is located at 492 feet, providing spectacular 360-degree views of the city and Tokyo Bay. This first deck has two floors containing a small dining spot and stage with live music. If you don’t suffer from vertigo, you will enjoy two particular windows that provide a clear, slightly dizzying view straight down. There is also a souvenir shop. Another of the facts about Tokyo Tower is that this deck also houses the highest Shinto shrine in the city.
There is a special Tokyo Tower Observation Deck at a height of 820 feet. Fewer people travel this far up; it is also more expensive to buy tickets to the elevators that go to the higher observation deck. This observatory is smaller and completely enclosed. On clear days, Mt. Fuji is visible in the far distance.
If you have a fear of heights, you can enjoy attractions on the ground. The base of Tokyo Tower contains a four-story structure called Foot Town, containing an aquarium, restaurants and a fast food court, shopping outlets, galleries, and museums. The Tokyo Tower Wax Museum contains a number of life-sized representations of pop icons including Frank Zappa and the Beatles as well as other figures from history, including Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper and Japanese astronauts. The Guinness World Records Museum has numerous displays including facts about Tokyo Tower that make it one of the record holders.
Those of you looking for some exercise can access the stairway to the main Tokyo Tower Observation Deck from the roof of Foot Town—up 600 or so steps. There is also a small children’s amusement park area here, which is great for those on a family vacation. Next to the tower is the Zojoji Temple, one of the city’s major shrines and temples.
In accordance with international agreements on air navigation, the Tokyo Tower is painted a bright orange, and is an iconic symbol of the city seen in numerous films. In films, it has been destroyed by Mothra, Godzilla, King Kong, and other celluloid monsters. For special events the lights are changed to different colors; they were green both for the Japanese premier of the film The Matrix and on St. Patrick’s Day to honor relations between Japan and Ireland. It has been lit pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and black and red for an event sponsored by Coca Cola. While views from the tower are spectacular, the tower itself is quite a sight from Tokyo Bay cruises and from the gardens of the Imperial Palace.