Our room from the Prince Park Hotel has a lovely view of this Tokyo icon.
My only previous exposures to it were racing around and under it in Midnight Club 2, and some characters who die in the manga GANTZ awaken in a hotel room overlooking it and are able to somewhat orient themselves based on its recognizability.
In postwar Japan, there were needs for a tall enough radio tower to transmit signals across the region. The designer of it was inspired by the Eiffel Tower but in typical Japanese tradition, they improved the design by making it both taller and 50% lighter than the source material. Its orange-and-white striping are due to international air safety laws, but honestly I think it looks neat and makes it stand out amongst a sea of gray monolithic buildings.
Atop Tokyo Tower are a few omnidirectional antennas that broadcast television and radio signals across Tokyo. That it is also a tourist attraction is kind of an afterthought, though I’m sure it does bring in a lot of revenue.
Tokyo Tower is the tallest structure in Japan at the moment and is soon going to lose the title to the Tokyo Skytree currently under construction. My understanding is that with countries switching from broadcasting analogue television signals to digital, Tokyo Tower just isn’t quite high enough for this to be feasible, since the height of the surrounding buildings will interfere– so they’re building another tower, the Skytree, much taller than this one to give such transmissions more range.
Hopefully they don’t shut Tokyo Tower down as a result. I doubt they would; surely it would be prudent to have multiple redundant broadcasting points in the event of disaster.
There are two options for going up the tower– you can go most of the way up for one fee, or you can go all the way up to the top for slightly more. I don’t remember our rationale but we opted to just go to the lower observation deck today.
Tokyo is beautiful at night. Though the skyline is dark, the lights dotting the landscape betray the forms of their structures, illuminating the whole thing like some sort of phosphorescent hive. Activity buzzes in every street below, visible or not. Tokyo is almost an organic entity, very much alive.
We spent a while looking out over the city, trying to identify what we were seeing and failing miserably. The bay is obvious, since we could see the Rainbow Bridge and the Ferris wheel on Odaiba. Everything else was completely foreign. Technically we should have been able to see our hotel from our location but weren’t sure which building it was from the darkness.
It had been a long day and we were exhausted. Tomorrow promised more of the same!