The Tokyo Tower (東京タワー) is a 333 meter tall tower located in Shiba Park, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. The structure is known as the tallest self-supporting structure in the world, the tallest artificial structure in Japan, and the 11th overall tallest building in the world.
The Tokyo Tower was started in 1957 as a joint civic works and communications project and was later finished in 1958 and cost a total of 2.8 Billion Yen to build. Designed by Tachu Naito and built by Nikken Sekkei Ltd., the building is currently owned by Nihon Denpato and is used both as an observation tower, national landmark, and broadcast platform.
Built as a symbol of its quick ascendancy to a worldwide economic power, the Tokyo Tower was specifically modeled after the Eiffel Tower. More than 220,000 individuals worked on the tower daily for the 18 months during which construction took place. Made from mostly steel (30% of which is from recycled World War II scraps), the tower weights 4,000 tons and is visible from most points of in Tokyo, despite its growing high rises.
The tower is home to broadcasting equipment and antennas for vital Japanese television and radio outlets such as NHK, Fuji TV and TBS. The tower has also been used recently to help in the drive to transition from analog to digital signals.
More than 2.5 million tourists visit the recreational area of the tower and its two observation decks each year. A four story building directly beneath the tower known as Foot Town is home to multiple museums, shops, and restaurants. Observation Deck 1 is located at 150 meters and Observation Deck 2 at 250 meters.
Currently, plans are in development for a new Tokyo Tower to be built in Sumida which would almost double the size and dwarf the current Tokyo Tower. This new tower would be built to provide full broadcast coverage for television and radio signals whereas new development in the city has caused the current tower’s coverage to become only partial.
The Tokyo Tower is currently used mostly for broadcasting purposes, with analog and digital television and analog and digital radio signals broadcast from it daily. Current stations using the tower include:
Tokyo Tower also serves a cultural purpose, offering a series of attractions for visitors in Japan and from around the world. The tower is home to Foot Town, a four story building directly beneath the tower which is home to numerous restaurants (both Western and Japanese), shopping area, and three museums. Elevators can be taken from here to the first observation deck, the Main Observatory.
The main observatory is a 2 story deck located 150 meters up the length of the tower. In addition to its view, this deck has a café, a small club where live music is performed, and look down windows where visitors can see the ground below their feet. The second floor of this observatory is home to a small souvenir shop and a Shinto Shrine as well as the elevators to reach the second Special Observatory
The second observatory deck, located at 250 meters is a much smaller, completely enclosed observation deck with glass walls. It has an almost 360 degree panoramic view of the city and is available to anyone who pays an additional ticket price to ascend the tower.
The Tokyo Tower is an iconic cultural touchstone in Tokyo and has been used in multiple different films, anime, and manga that have become well known in both Japan and the rest of the world. Shows like Tenchi Muyo and Sailormoon and films like Godzilla and Mothra have all showcased the tower and its iconic status in the landscape.