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Tokyo Tower, Japan - Famous Columns and Towers
591    Dibyendu Banerjee    24/07/2023

Standing 1092 feet (332.9 m) high in the centre of Tokyo and built in 1958, the Tokyo Tower, a symbol of Japan's post-war rebirth as a major economic power, was the country's tallest structure until the construction of Tokyo Skytree in 2012. Designed by architect Tachu Naito, obviously inspired by Paris’ Eiffel Tower, the self-supported steel tower is around 11 feet taller than its French model, but much lighter, weighing in at four thousand tons, 3300 tons less than its Parisian counterpart. The Tokyo Tower is painted in a pattern alternating between red, a hue officially referred to as International Orange by aviation law and white, which support it to stand out prominently even in the daytime and make it easily recognisable for aeroplanes flying over.

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To ensure airspace safety and to comply with air safety regulations, the tower is repainted every 5 years by a band of 4,200 workers, entirely by hand, taking about a year to complete the job.

tokyo tower japan
tokyo tower japan

Apart from being a landmark of the city, equipped with observation decks, the Tokyo Tower also became a communication tower, when transmission antennae were added to it for using radio and television broadcasting. However, by that time, the broadcasters were aiming to fully convert the television system to a digital one. But as the Tokyo Tower was not able to support it due to the increasing number of tall buildings around the city, the installation of a new and taller broadcasting tower began in another side of the city in 2008.

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The new tower, named Tokyo Skytree, reached its full height of 2080 feet (634 m) in March 2011, making it the tallest tower in the world, displacing the Canton Tower, China.

tokyo tower japan
The twin Noppon Brothers

Designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoons with wind speeds of up to 220 km per hour (140 mph), the Tokyo Tower, serving as a broadcast antenna, is also a popular tourist spot, entertaining 150 million visitors in its first 50 years. The mascot of the tower, the twin Noppon Brothers, comprising the older brother clad in blue denim and the younger dressed in red, created in 1998 for the celebration of its 40th anniversary, can be seen outside the tower on special occasions, adorned with colourful flowers.

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In addition to the observation decks, the tower contains the Foot Town, an underground four-storey building, containing museums, shops and restaurants, as well as the Red Tokyo Tower e-sports entertainment complex, dedicated to E-sports and all forms of electronic games, including virtual car racing competitions, a concert venue equipped with a virtual reality system, gaming and board game spaces, all in a futuristic décor. It also had an aquarium, which that is now closed.

tokyo tower japan
A Look-down Window in the main observation deck
tokyo tower japan
The Daijingu Shinto shrine

The first of the two observation decks of the Tokyo Tower, known as the main observation deck, located 492 feet (150 m) above the ground level and accessible by negotiating a 600-step staircase or an elevator, has some portions of its floor made of transparent glass, serving as the lookdown window and offering a look view from the 150 m drop, enough to feel a chill through the spine. The floor contains the Daijingu Shinto shrine, the highest shrine in Tokyo, built in 1977, which is a popular place for students due to its height, praying for high grades. Additionally, the floor also has Club 333, where one can enjoy the night view while enjoying live music. However, for people preferring a quieter and more relaxed time, there is the Café la Tour on the same floor, where one can enjoy a coffee alongside the scenery.

tokyo tower japan

The special observation deck, located 250 meters above ground and a whole 100 meters higher than the main observation deck, just underneath the aerial, offers a 360 degree view of Tokyo, along with a view of Mount Fuji in clear weather. It was renamed Top Deck, on its reopening day, 3 February 2018, after its two-year-long renovation. However, the top deck is only accessible through the Special Top Deck Tour, which can only be joined by prior reservation. The tour offers an exciting ride by the transparent glass elevator, along with entry to the Tokyo Tower's Secret Library, housing several interesting anecdotes relating to the construction of the tower, in addition to a drink service, commemorative photographs and other special experiences and services. The top deck has a unique interior design named the geometric mirrors, in which a set of complexly angled mirrors reflects the outside scenery to create a futuristic aesthetic atmosphere and at night, the combination of LED lights and sound effects creates an unearthly and mystical space with the mesmerising night views outside the deck.

tokyo tower japan
View from the Special Top Deck Observation Deck

The Tokyo Tower was illuminated for the first time on the New Year’s Day of 1989 and since then, 180 colourful light bulbs have illuminated the structure beautifully every day, from sunset to midnight, which is known as the landmark light. Except on special occasions, the colour of the bulbs usually varies with the changing of seasons, like a cool-tone silver light in the summer and a warm-tone orange light in the autumn, winter and spring. Urban legend says that seeing the moment of illumination of the Tokyo Tower with the beloved, brings happiness for both.

tokyo tower japan

However, the tower hosts special event collaborations with an entirely different display of lighting from the regular. During the collaboration with a breast-cancer awareness campaign, it displayed pink lights, while in the collaboration with a movie from the popular Japanese manga series Doraemon, the tower took on a blue hue with the character's iconic bell in the centre.

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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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