Image by Krzysztof Baranowski Getty Images
Tokyo Sky Tree opened in May 2012 as the world’s tallest ‘free-standing tower’ at 634m. Its silvery exterior of steel mesh morphs from a triangle at the base to a circle at 300m. There are two observation decks, at 350m and 450m. You can see more of the city during daylight hours – at peak visibility you can see up to 100km away, all the way to Mt Fuji – but it is at night that Tokyo appears truly beautiful.
It's not the world's tallest man-made structure (that honour goes to Dubai's Burj Khalifa at 829.8 m), but it is Japan's. The panorama from the lower observatory, the Tembō Deck, is spectacular. Don’t miss the small section of glass floor panels, where you can see – dizzyingly – all the way to the ground.
The upper observatory, the Tembō Galleria, beneath the digital broadcasting antennas, features a circular glass corridor for more vertiginous thrills. The elevator between the two has a glass front, so you can see yourself racing up the tower as the city grows smaller below.
The ticket counter is on the 4th floor. You'll see signs in English noting the wait and the current visibility – if the line is really long and you have your passport, you can join the fast-track line (350m/450m observation decks ¥3000/4000).
At the base is Tokyo Sky Tree Town, which includes the shopping centre Solamachi.