On the road again! This week my transportation specialist took a break from the books to visit the local landmark called the Tokyo Skytree. We started off fairly early, as we also wanted to visit the Sumida Aquarium while we were in the area, as well as possible visit a Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple nearby. You can see me posing with my transportation specialist’s breakfast, including pork cutlet sandwich, rice ball, tea, and a Crunky candy bar. The Crunky is spelled that way on purpose. Apparently the internet is fond of misspelled English and will work to spread it around. I didn’t begrudge my transportation specialist breakfast, as he can be a bit of a bear when he hasn’t eaten, but the Crunky bar was so close . . . . One of these days I’ll get a job, earn my own money, and buy myself some proper snacks, but today is not that day.
The trip into Tokyo took about an hour and a half by train, switching trains at Nagatsuta Station. Usually he stands when riding the trains, but because we were travelling after the morning rush, my transportation specialist took advantage of the available seating and worked on his vocab and kanji for Japanese. The train can be good for that thing in a way that cars really shouldn’t be. We eventually arrived at Oshiage station, the Skytree destination.
The Skytree is a freestanding broadcast tower that is 634 meters tall. It’s primary use is to broadcast digital terrestrial signals to the surrounding area. That’s what it’s designed to do. What it really does is serve as an anchoring point for a mall containing a number of shops including numerous restaurants, souvenir shops, and many other high-end looking establishments. Did I mention there’s also an aquarium here? I’ll go into my tour of it next time, I promise.
The main attraction of the Skytree is the view from the two observation decks. They are reached by an elevator so smooth that the only clear indication of speed is when my fluffy ears reacted to the change in air pressure only a couple of seconds into the ride.
The Tembo deck of the Skytree is at 350 meters hosts the Skytree Cafe, serving ice cream and drinks, the Skytree shop for all your souvenir needs, and the Skytree Restaurant for those who want an unbeatable view with their meal, in addition to the viewing windows offering breathtaking views of the outside. Access to this level costs about 2000 yen, which currently translates to just under $20US.
Access to the next level the Tembo Galleria at 450 meters, costs an additional 1000 yen. In addition to another round of viewing windows, there was a small gift setup celebrating Attack on Titan a popular anime that just released it’s second season.
The only true downside to our visit is that the day turned out to be fairly hazy. On a clear day, Mt. Fuji is supposed to be visible from the Skytree. On the day we went, while the city spread out a truly breathtaking distance, the haze blocked our vision before the city petered out. Tokyo is truly mind-boggling.
Having already visited the aquarium earlier, my transportation specialist decided to grab a bite to eat before heading home. In the mall downstairs, we found a good noodle shop (next to the Supermarket!!!!) and ordered a lovely dish. Of course I didn’t get to eat any.
Once back on the ground floor, my transportation specialist attempted to find the Buddhist temple he had noticed on the map earlier, but was disappointed when he realized that it was an office building, instead of the historical temple he was looking for. Dismayed, but not discouraged, we decided that we would postpone our visit to religious sites until we could find a local guide that could help us avoid missteps like this in the future. All in all, a day well wasted. Next time I’ll put up pictures of the visit to the aquarium. There’s penguins!
Until then, Hippo, Hippo!