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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The tower

Ground floor: models

Elevators await

Summer

Floor 350: Viewing Level

Tokyo!

Northwest

East/southeast

South

Up we go

Viewing platform from viewing platform

Curves

451.2m

Higher ground

Roads and rails

Walkway

38M

Vertigo

Sprawl

Cafe

Straight down

Standing in the sky

Night tower

Night!

Mood lighting

Tremendous

Visual aids

Lines and light

Ghost in the shell

Southwest

Golf

Long way down

2.080 feet/634 meters, bottom to top. It's huge.

For the full story behind the tour, check out The view from the Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest structures on Earth.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

While you wait in line you can gander at an exhibit where artists interpreted the Skytree in their style.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

There are four elevators that take you to "Floor 350." Each is decorated to represent a season.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I got the same elevator twice. It represented summer with these fireworks made from "Edo-Kiriko" glass.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The round viewing deck was quite large, and quite crowded. Use a bit of patience and you could get up to the glass looking whatever direction you wanted.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

It was pretty hazy during my day visit (the night visit was better). I tried cleaning them up a bit, but there's only so much "dehaze" can do.

We're looking southwest here, toward the main core of Tokyo, across the Sumida river.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Tokyo goes on forever. It's got the sprawl of LA with the height of New York. And yes, it's the biggest city in the world.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Tokyo, but it's a city of rivers and canals.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Parks and "green spaces" are scattered throughout the city.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Glass-ceiling elevators take you the last 100 meters, if you so choose, for an extra 1,030 yen.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

That's the main viewing platform, way down there.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

As you exit the elevator, you ascend this ramp to get to the 450m point. It's lovely, but the window muntins get in the way more than on the big windows down on 350.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The highest point you can stand (as a visitor, anyway). 451.2 meters, or about 1,480 feet.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

As you can see, we're definitely higher up. I can't say the view is "better" per se.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

As impressive as all the roads are, the amount of railways is even more so, especially since these are just the ones we can see (Tokyo has two different major subway companies, and several minor ones).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

On the right is outside of the curving walkway. There's something about how it sticks out into space, with the ground way out and down below. I dig it.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

After getting bored with the picture opportunities at 450, I went back to 350.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I cropped this a bit to take out the window frame, but you really can see almost straight down.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I think I need to re-read "Neuromancer" again.

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Tea with a view. Not bad.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The real "glass floor" is next. This is just a viewing window. It's somehow cooler, though, being closer to the structure itself.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

A glass (OK, plexiglass) floor lets you see the drop. Not scary really, since there's a whole other layer below the one you're standing on.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I went back a few days later to catch the views at night. I was not disappointed.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I didn't even notice until I had looked at the photos, but the ceiling lights change color at night!

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The Skytree has two main colors at night, purple and a sort of light-blue/cyan (miyabi and iki, respectively).

It occurs to me now that the lighting up here probably reflects that as well. As in, had I come back the next night, cyan would be the tone.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

I love this city, and at night, doubly so. Paris may be the city of lights, but Tokyo is the city of, um, more lights.

You can see Tokyo Tower in the upper left, lit up in its iconic orange.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Touchscreens let you see the view from different times of day, and let you find out about specific landmarks.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Around 38,000,000 people live in the Tokyo metro area.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Is it me or does this look like a shot from "Ghost in the Shell"?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

The fabled Chiba from "Neuromancer" is way off in the distance.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

Impressive ~15 story nets for a tiny golf course.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET

At night, the drop seems far more ominous.

After this it was into the elevators and back down to the world. Thankfully, there's a great ice cream shop near the exit.

For the full story behind the tour, check out The view from the Tokyo Skytree, one of the tallest structures on Earth.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/CNET
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