Tokyo Tower is an observation and communication tower in Minato, Tokyo. The tower is a prominent landmark in Tokyo, and one of the most visited tourist destinations in the city, it houses several attractions from its bottom to the upper portion.
Below are some interesting facts about Tokyo Tower.
Tokyo Tower is 333 meters (1,092 ft) tall, it had long been the tallest man-made structure in Japan, until in 2010 when Tokyo Skytree was built higher than it, however Skytree Tower is located near the edge of the city, Tokyo Tower is still the tallest structure around the city center area.
The design of Tokyo Tower is based on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but 9 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower for its longer spire. Despite the higher height, Tokyo Tower weighs only about 4000 tons, 3300 tons less than Eiffel Tower. In contrast to the reddish-brown color of Eiffel Tower, the lattice on Tokyo Tower is painted white and red, such bright colors is designed in accordance with the local air safety regulations of that time. Many other smaller broadcasting towers in Tokyo are also painted in same colors.
Now the regulations no longer restrict the colors of tall structures in Tokyo, but the original colors of Tokyo Tower is retained, as the colors of red and white have become an indispensable feature of this landmark.
The tower constitutes a clear reference point in the chaotic skyline of the city center, in both daytime and nighttime.
There are several observation decks on Tokyo Tower, offering spectacular aerial views of Tokyo in 360 degrees, the observation decks attract 3 million tourists every year, over 150 million people have visited the observation decks since the completion of the tower.
The Main Observatory has two stories, it's at 150 meters (490 ft) high from the ground.
On some clear days, the Mount Fuji in the distance can be seen from the observation deck.
Above it a smaller observation deck is set at a height of 250 meters (819 ft), right below the antenna of the tower, it's called Special Observatory.
Visitors need to visit the 4-story building directly under the tower first, named FootTown, it houses museums, galleries, souvenir stores and an aquarium, the elevators that reach the observation decks can be accessed from the first floor of FootTown.
The elevator will take visitors to the 2-story Main Observatory first, after visiting the deck, visitor can choose to board another set of elevators from the second floor of the Main Observatory to reach the highest observation deck below the antenna.
On weekends and holidays, visitors can go to the roof of FootTown to access the tower's outside stairwell. With approximately 660 steps, the stairway is an alternative to the tower's elevators and leads to the Main Observatory.
Tokyo Tower was built in 1958, to change the circumstance in Tokyo that none of antennas is high enough to handle the signal transmission for entire Kantō region. In addition, Japan was in its postwar boom at that time, a tower of that size can serves as an symbol to demonstrate its economic power.
Tokyo Tower is lit up with bright colors from dusk to midnight every day. The colors of illumination depend on the seasons, festivals and special events. From October 2 to July 6, which is of cold months, the tower is lit in a warm orange color by sodium vapor lamps, reducing the cold feeling.
And from July 7 to October 1, which is of hot months, the lights are changed to cool white color using metal halide lamps, reducing the hot feeling.
The body of Tokyo Tower is repainted every 5 years to make the tower look bright and attractive, the process of the painting takes about one year to complete, and requires a total of 28,000 liters of paint, the last repainting was done in 2014, the tower will be repainted again in 2019.
Aside from being used for broadcasting TV and radio waves, the tower transmit stop signals for Japan Rail Pass when earthquakes occur, and can also be used to measure temperature, wind speed and directions, and also acts as a landmark for flights.
With more and more high-rise buildings built near the tower, the height of Tokyo is no longer tall enough to transmit the high quality signals for some remote areas in Tokyo, a new broadcasting tower known as Skytree was built in 2012 and has replaced Tokyo Tower as the main structure for transmitting the signals for television and radio stations.
Tokyo Tower was originally planned to be built taller than the Empire State Building, which stands 381 meters and was the tallest structure in the world of that time. However, the plan fell through because of the lack of both funds and materials.
About one third of the steel used to construct Tokyo Tower is scrap metal taken from the damaged US tanks in the Korean War.
The antenna's tip at top of the tower was bent on March 11 2011 due to the affection of Tōhoku earthquake, the bent antenna tip was dismantled on July 19 2012 when the repair work was carried on the antenna, making the tower's height shrank to 315 meters. The height restored in 2014 after the restoration work for the antenna completes.