Considered by many (okay, by me) to be the poor cousin of the Eiffel Tower, it wasn’t until I had celebrated my 3rd Japanniversary that I actually went up it – and that was only because I had a friend visiting and she wanted to do it. So I was duly dragged kicking and screaming up to the first observatory.
I had always been quite adamant that I had done the Eiffel Tower on many an occasion, therefore I did not need to add the Eiffel Tower to my “To do” list. Tokyo, after all, is certainly not as architecturally blessed as Paris, so what could I possibly gain from going up Tokyo Tower?
A lot, actually, it turns out.
As I stepped out of the lift and made my way to the windows, I could only stare in wonder. The night view of Odaiba is magnificent – All of the colourful lights were twinkling like precious gems peeping shyly out of a jewellery box. The massive Ferris wheel was proudly displaying an array of neon lights in the distance, and Rainbow Bridge was glimmering with all its might, not to be outdone. Even Tokyo’s newest landmark, the Sky Tree (an ugly building to rival all ugly buildings by day) was standing tall and gleaming proudly from afar, like a lighthouse.
There is a lovely café where you can take refreshment while admiring the view, and of course, the obligatory gift shop. You will, however, probably not want to treat yourself to a stuffed Tokyo Tower mascot. They come as a pair (and are as creepy as Hokkaido’s green representative, Marimokkori). One sports red dungarees, the other blue ones, and they look like penises. There, I said it. What? Well it’s only what everyone is thinking anyway!”
I can’t believe someone was paid to design them. What on earth were they thinking? And more importantly, who even buys them??
But, offensive mascots aside, Tokyo Tower is a marvellous alternative to the overcrowded Sky Tree. It can be enjoyed as part of a romantic date night (ooh la la), or during a touristy visit to impress visiting friends and relatives.
Sunset and night time are both lovely times to take advantage of the popular landmark, and if you’re lucky, it may be glittering specially for certain special occasions, for example, cherry blossom season or a collaboration with a band or artist such as Arashi or KyariPamyuPamyu (I hope I’ve spelled that right…).
Gentlemen, if you would like to take it one step further, you could even use the opportunity to propose à la Tom Cruise. I’m sure your debonair efforts will be rewarded.
I will end on this note: To call it a carbon copy of La Tour Eiffel would be incorrect. It is after all, red and white, and taller than its Gallic counterpart. If you are looking for something fun to do, make like the Japanese and make sure you visit what has become one of Tokyo’s most iconic landmarks.