If you are one of those who is looking forward on stepping into the new World’s Tallest Free-Standing Tower come the opening date of May 22nd, don’t have your hopes up, chances are you have to wait for months before you are whisked away by Toshiba designed elevator to the 450m above sea level viewing deck. Rumor has it that though advanced reservation has been open for public, an over-whelming number of excited masses already paid the 2,000 yen entrance fee. So for the meantime, the rest of us just have to settle to the neck breaking picture taking down below.
The somehow quiet and low key neighborhood of Oshiage 1-chome and Mukoujima 1-chome of Sumida Ward in Tokyo, are now populated by eager local and expats alike who are hoping to get an advance view of the Tokyo Sky Tree. Though final construction preparation is still on-going, walking around the perimeter of the tower will let you have a future glimpse of how crowded it will be once the facility is open.
The first question in my mind, when I was trying to find my way from Asakusa to the tower is why built in this residential neighborhood? The only reasonable answer that I can come up with is the fact that the project is led by Tobu Railways which mainly operates in this area.
The construction of the tower and the surrounding vicinity is open for the public to see. There are no tarpaulins to cover the bulldozers and the men working inside. Some of the floor plans and monthly project development photos are proudly displayed outside for every visitor to study and appreciate.
Apart from claiming the title of tallest tower, the primary reason of building the 634m tower is to serve as a broadcasting facility as Japan’s transition from analog to digital. Five major commercial stations including NHK already signed up on using the tower for digital TV. But I think what will be the most interesting feature of the tower is how well-equipped and constructed it is to withstand the nation’s frequent visitor- earthquakes.
A new “town” will be created at the foot of the tower, connecting Oshiage Station and Narihirabashi Station. As expected, this new “town” will be consisting of indoor shops and restaurants, plus an outdoor facility with small park (Shinsui Park) overlooking across Kitajukken River.
Several shops within the vicinity including 7-11 are now selling every Tokyo Sky Tree related products there is, including the expected Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty with the tower key chains. There are photographers looming around which you can pay to take your pictures in case you forgot your camera. While attempting to take a picture of myself using the reflection mirror, a local TV crew approached me for an interview, unfortunately I don’t speak Japanese, so I miss my chance on the spotlight (haha!).
(For related web posts, click Tallest of Them All: Burj Khalifa )