I’ve been sort of poo-pooing the fuss over the newest, tallest structure in Tokyo, the Tokyo Sky Tree. It’s been hyped since before it was even begun in 2008 and ever since it got big enough to photograph well, it’s been featured on TV, in magazines and well, everywhere you turn. Yeah, yeah. It’s just another big tower to broadcast media. Whatever.
Well, today I caught a glimpse of it from the top of my street and suddenly, I just had to go there. I needed to make a pilgrimage to the Sky Tree and I couldn’t stop myself. It didn’t hurt that the day was almost 24 degrees, with blue skies and lots of fresh wind. I wouldn’t be able to stay inside, even if I should be packing for Prague.
Destination Sky Tree!
So after checking the level of the river after this morning’s huge rainstorm (it had risen, but only 30 cm or so) I took the bus to Ueno and the subway to Tawaramachi and walked to Asakusa. I stopped in and said konnichiwa to the deities, then crossed the bridge and walked to Oshiage.
The tower is huge and exceedingly impressive. It’s gorgeous, a pure white lattice with oversize bolts and handles running up as far as I could see. The construction site is in constant motion with trucks crisscrossing the area, which will be a giant commercial complex with several buildings when Tokyo Sky Tree opens in Spring 2012. The tower is enormous. It will be the second tallest structure on the planet when it’s finished (I had no idea) and at 511 meters currently, it is taller than the Empire State Building and Petronas Towers.
I wasn’t the only one looking at the construction. There were dozens of sightseers taking pictures.I was surprised at home many people turned up to look at this unfinished tower. I can only imagine what it will be like when it is finished. Busy! I’ll be there, for sure. I might skip opening day, though.
The surrounding neighborhood is taking advantage of this popularity. There are holiday lights in the shape of the tower, signs featuring the silhouette of the Sky Tree, and food specials in cafes’. A tiny storefront nearby selling calendars, keychains and other memorabilia was doing a brisk business today. I saw the manufactory where an old man was heat stamping wooden postcards with the Sky Tree logo. There seems to be a lot of secondary construction around, too - old buildings being rebuilt as money comes into the area.
I walked all the way around the tower site, taking in the back streets and viewing it from different angles until I’d had my fill of Tokyo Sky Tree. Then I walked all the way back to Ueno and caught the bus home.
It was a great day out and I shall poo-poo no more. Tokyo Sky Tree deserves the adulations and attention it gets.