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Tokyo Tower

tokyo tower observation deck, tokyo tower height
Tokyo Tower 東京タワー, Tōkyō tawā is a communications and observation tower in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan At 3329 metres 1,092 ft, it is the second-tallest structure in Japan The structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower that is painted white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations

Built in 1958, the tower's main sources of income is antenna leasing but mainly tourism Over 150 million people have visited the tower FootTown, a four-story building directly under the tower, houses museums, restaurants and shops Departing from there, guests can visit two observation decks The two-story Main Observatory is at 150 metres 490 ft, while the smaller Special Observatory reaches a height of 2496 metres 819 ft

The tower acts as a support structure for an antenna Intended for television broadcasting, radio antennas were installed in 1961, but the tower now broadcasts signals for Japanese media outlets such as NHK, TBS and Fuji TV Japan's planned digital television transition by July 2011 was problematic, however; Tokyo Tower's height, 3329 m 1,092 ft was not high enough to support complete terrestrial digital broadcasting to the area A taller digital broadcasting tower, known as Tokyo Skytree, was completed on 29 February 2012 Every 5 years Tokyo Tower is repainted It takes 1 year to repaint it

Since its completion in 1958, Tokyo Tower has become a prominent landmark in the city, and frequently appears in media set in Tokyo

Tokyo Tower


  • 1 Construction
  • 2 Maintenance
  • 3 Functions
    • 31 Broadcasting
    • 32 Attractions
      • 321 FootTown
      • 322 Tokyo One Piece Tower
  • 4 Appearance
  • 5 Renovation
  • 6 Mascots
  • 7 In popular culture
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links


A large broadcasting tower was needed in the Kantō region after NHK, Japan's public broadcasting station, began television broadcasting in 1953 Private broadcasting companies began operating in the months following the construction of NHK's own transmission tower This communications boom led the Japanese government to believe that transmission towers would soon be built all over Tokyo, eventually overrunning the city The proposed solution was the construction of one large tower capable of transmitting to the entire region4 Furthermore, because of the country's postwar boom in the 1950s, Japan was searching for a monument to symbolize its ascendancy as a global economic powerhouse56

Construction underway on 25 February 1958

Hisakichi Maeda, founder and president of Nippon Denpatō, the tower's owner and operator, originally planned for the tower to be taller than the Empire State Building, which at 381 meters was the highest structure in the world However, the plan fell through because of the lack of both funds and materials The tower's height was eventually determined by the distance the TV stations needed to transmit throughout the Kantō region, a distance of about 150 kilometres 93 mi Tachū Naitō, renowned designer of tall buildings in Japan, was chosen to design the newly proposed tower4 Looking to the Western world for inspiration, Naitō based his design on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France7 With the help of engineering company Nikken Sekkei Ltd, Naitō claimed his design could withstand earthquakes with twice the intensity of the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake or typhoons with wind speeds of up to 220 kilometres per hour 140 mph4

The new construction project attracted hundreds of tobi 鳶, traditional Japanese construction workers who specialized in the construction of high-rise structures The Takenaka Corporation broke ground in June 1957 and each day at least 400 laborers worked on the tower4 It was constructed of steel, a third of which was scrap metal taken from US tanks damaged in the Korean War89 When the 90-metre antenna was bolted into place on 14 October 1958, Tokyo Tower was the tallest freestanding tower in the world, taking the title from the Eiffel Tower by 13 metres4 Despite being taller than the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower only weighs about 4,000 tons, 3,300 tons less than the Eiffel Tower10 While other towers have since surpassed Tokyo Tower's height, the structure was still the tallest artificial structure in Japan until April 2010, when the new Tokyo Skytree became the tallest building of Japan7 It was opened to the public on 23 December 1958 at a final cost of ¥28 billion $84 million in 1958911 Tokyo Tower was mortgaged for ¥10 billion in 200012

Planned as an antenna for telecommunications and brightly colored in accordance with the time's Aviation Law, the tower's two panoramic observatories are mostly frequented by tourists today; the tower constitutes a clear reference point in the center's chaotic skyline, forming a strong landmark, both night and day13


Every 5 years the tower is repainted in a process that takes about 12 months Tokyo tower is going to be repainted in 20191415


Looking down from the glass-flooring at the Tokyo Tower The Special Observatory located directly below the tower's digital television broadcasting equipment

Tokyo Tower's two main revenue sources are antenna leasing and tourism It functions as a radio and television broadcasting antenna support structure and is a tourist destination that houses several different attractions Over 150 million people have visited the tower in total since its opening in late 19586 Tower attendance had been steadily declining until it bottomed out at 23 million in 200016 Since then, attendance has been rising, and it has recently been attracting approximately 3 million visitors per year6 The first area tourists must visit upon reaching the tower is FootTown, a four-story building stationed directly under the tower Here, visitors can eat, shop and visit several museums and galleries Elevators that depart from the first floor of FootTown can be used to reach the first of two observation decks, the two-story Main Observatory17 For the price of another ticket, visitors can board another set of elevators from the second floor of the Main Observatory to reach the final observation deck—the Special Observatory18


Tokyo Tower, a member of the World Federation of Great Towers, is used by many organizations for broadcasting purposes The structure was intended for broadcasting television, but radio antennas were installed in 1961 because it could accommodate them6 The tower now broadcasts analog television, digital television, radio and digital radio Stations that use the tower's antenna include:10

  • NHK General TV Tokyo JOAK-TV: VHF Channel 1 Analog
  • NHK Educational TV Tokyo JOAB-TV: VHF Channel 2 Analog
  • NHK Radio FM Tokyo JOAK-FM: 825-MHz
    • NHK Radio 1 AM Tokyo JOAK-AM: 594-KHz
    • NHK Radio 2 AM Tokyo JOAB-AM: 693-KHz
  • TV Asahi Tokyo JOEX-TV: TV Asahi Analog Television/VHF Channel 10 Analog
  • Fuji Television Tokyo JOCX-TV: Fuji Television Analog/VHF Channel 8 Analog
  • Tokyo Broadcasting System Television JORX-TV: TBS Television/VHF Channel 6 Analog
  • Nippon Television Tokyo JOAX-TV: VHF Channel 4 Analog
  • TV Tokyo JOTX-TV: VHF Channel 12 Analog
  • J-WAVE JOAV-FM: 813-MHz
  • Tokyo FM JOAU-FM: 800-MHz
  • FM Interwave JODW-FM: 761-MHz
  • The University of the Air TV JOUD-TV: VHF Channel 16 Analog
  • The University of the Air-FM JOUD-FM: 771-MHz
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Television JOMX-TV: VHF Channel 14 Analog
  • Nikkei Radio Broadcasting Relay Antenna JOZ-SW: 3925-MHz
The tip of Tokyo Tower bent by the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake

Japan employs both analog and digital broadcasting, but by July 2011 all television broadcasting is to be digitalneeds update Tokyo Tower is not a reliable broadcasting antenna for completely digital broadcasting because the tower is not tall enough to transmit the higher frequency waves to areas surrounded by forests or high-rise buildings As an alternative, a new 634-metre-tall 2,080 ft tower called the Tokyo Skytree was opened in 20126 To make Tokyo Tower more appealing to NHK and five other commercial broadcasters who plan to move their transmitting stations to the new tower, Nihon Denpatō officials drafted a plan to extend its digital broadcasting antenna by 80 to 100 metres at a cost of approximately ¥4 billion US$50 million19 Because these plans have not been realized, Tokyo Tower is expected to stop transmitting digital TV radio waves with the exception of Open University of Japan, who will continue to broadcast through the tower FM radio stations will also continue to use the tower for broadcasting in the Tokyo area Masahiro Kawada, the tower's planning director, also pointed out the possibility of the tower becoming a backup for the Tokyo Skytree, depending on what the TV broadcasters want or need620

The antenna's tip was damaged on 11 March 2011 by the Tōhoku earthquake21 On 19 July 2012, the Tokyo Tower's height shrank to 315 meters while the top antenna was repaired for damage from the earthquake1


The base of Tokyo Tower with the FootTown building located underneath


Located in the base of the tower is a 4-story building known as FootTown The first floor includes the Aquarium Gallery, a reception hall, the 400-person-capacity "Tower Restaurant", a FamilyMart convenience store and a souvenir shop2223 This floor's main attractions, however, are the three elevators that serve as a direct ride to the Main Observatory17 The second floor is primarily a food and shopping area In addition to the five standalone restaurants, the second floor's food court consists of four restaurants, including a McDonald's and a Pizza-La2425

A Shinto shrine is located on the second floor of the Main Observatory

FootTown's third and fourth floors house several tourist attractions The third floor is home to the Guinness World Records Museum Tokyo, a museum that houses life-size figures, photo panels and memorabilia depicting interesting records that have been authenticated by the Guinness Book26 The Tokyo Tower Wax Museum, opened in 1970, displays wax figures imported from London where they were made27 The figures on display range from pop culture icons such as The Beatles to religious figures such as Jesus Christ A hologram gallery named the Gallery DeLux, a lounge and a few specialty stores are also located on this floor28 Tokyo Tower's Trick Art Gallery is located on the building's fourth and final floor This gallery displays optical illusions, including paintings and objects that visitors can interact with29

On the roof of the FootTown building is a small amusement park that contains several small rides and hosts live performances for children30 On weekends and holidays, visitors can use the roof to access the tower's outside stairwell At approximately 660 steps, the stairwell is an alternative to the tower's elevators and leads directly to the Main Observatory31

Tokyo One Piece Toweredit

Based on the hit Anime One Piece, Tokyo Tower features a small One Piece themed amusement park that opened in 2015 The amusement park offers a range of attractions, shops, and restaurants, all based on the characters from Eiichiro Oda's manga Patrons can enjoy various games or attractions based on their favorite characters, or enjoy meals from the world of One Piece There is also a gift store that features exclusive goods for One Piece fans 3233


Tokyo Tower in January 2011 with the Tokyo Skytree under construction behind

Tokyo Tower requires a total of 28,000 litres 7,400 US gal of paint to completely paint the structure white and international orange, complying with air safety regulations10 Before the tower's 30th anniversary in 1987, the only lighting on the tower were light bulbs located on the corner contours that extended from the base to the antenna In the spring of 1987, Nihon Denpatō invited lighting designer Motoko Ishii to visit the tower Since its opening 30 years earlier, the tower's annual ticket sales had dropped significantly, and in a bid to revitalize the tower and again establish it as an important tourist attraction and symbol of Tokyo, Ishii was hired to redesign Tokyo Tower's lighting arrangement34

Unveiled in 1989, the new lighting arrangement required the removal of the contour-outlining light bulbs and the installation of 176 floodlights in and around the tower's frame34 From dusk to midnight, the floodlights illuminate the entire tower10 Sodium vapor lamps are used from 2 October to 6 July to cover the tower in an orange color From 7 July to 1 October, the lights are changed to metal halide lamps to illuminate the tower with a white color The reasoning behind the change is a seasonal one Ishii reasoned that orange is a warmer color and helps to offset the cold winter months Conversely, white is thought a cool color that helps during the hot summer months35

Occasionally, Tokyo Tower's lighting is changed to specific, unique arrangements for special events The tower is specially lit for some annual events Since 2000, the entire tower has been illuminated in a pink light on 1 October to highlight the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month The tower has also had a variety of special lighting arrangements for Christmas since 1994 During New Year's Eve, the tower lights up at midnight with a year number displayed on one side of the observatory to mark the arrival of the new year Special Japanese events have also been cause to light the tower in several nontraditional ways In 2002, alternating sections of the tower were lit blue to help celebrate the opening of the FIFA World Cup in Japan Alternating sections of the tower were lit green on Saint Patrick's Day in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Japanese-Irish relations On a few occasions, Tokyo Tower has even been specially lit to correspond with corporate events For example, the top half of the tower was lit green to correspond with the Japanese premiere of The Matrix Reloaded and different sections of the tower were lit red, white and black to commemorate the first day of sales of Coca-Cola C235 The tower was also uniquely lit for the new millennium in 2000 with Motoko Ishii again reprising her role as the designer36 In December 2008, Nihon Denpatō spent $65 million to create a new nighttime illumination scheme—titled the "Diamond Veil"—to celebrate the tower's 50th anniversary The arrangement featured 276 lights in seven colors equally distributed across the towers four faces9

When employing specialty lighting on the tower, the Main Observatory often plays an important role During the second international "White Band Day" on 10 September 2005, the tower was completely unlit except for the Main Observatory, which was lit with a bright white light The resulting white ring represented the White Band referenced in the day's name The two floors of windows that make up the exterior of the Main Observatory are utilized to display words or numbers When the tower employed unique lighting to commemorate terrestrial digital broadcasting first being available in the Kantō region on 1 December 2005, each side of the Main Observatory displayed the characters 地デジ chi deji, an abbreviation for 地上デジタル放送 chijō dejitaru hōsō terrestrial digital broadcasting35 More recently, the observatory displayed both "TOKYO" and "2016" to stress Tokyo's 2016 Olympic bid37 Primitive images, such as hearts, have also been displayed using the observatory's windows35


The Tokyo Tower Special Observatory 250m Height will suspend operations for roughly 10 months, due to renovations set to begin from October 3, 2016 and the repairs are projected to finish until summer of 2017


The Tokyo Tower has two mascots named ノッポン Noppon They are two brothers: Older Brother, who wears blue dungarees, and Younger Brother, who wears red dungarees They were "born" on 23 December 1998 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Tokyo Tower38

In popular cultureedit

Just as the Eiffel Tower is often used in popular culture to immediately locate a scene in Paris, France, the Tokyo Tower is often used in the same way for Tokyo It is used in anime and manga such as Tokyo Magnitude 80, Magic Knight Rayearth, Please Save My Earth, Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon, Detective Conan, Sailor Moon, and Death Note39 The tower is also frequently used in the Japanese kaiju giant monster film genre It has been the location of the climactic 'battles' between Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera and King Kong King Kong Escapes wherein it is frequently destroyed and rebuilt1140 Based on the popular manga series by Ryōhei Saigan, the 2005 film Always Sanchōme no Yūhi was a nostalgic view of life in the neighbourhoods under the construction of the Tokyo Tower

The Japanese culture and lifestyle television show Begin Japanology aired on NHK World, featuring a full episode on Tokyo Tower in 2008

See alsoedit

  • Tokyo portal
  • Media of Japan
  • List of towers


  1. ^ a b "Tokyo Tower gets shorter for the 1st time" Retrieved 23 July 2012 
  2. ^ a b "Tokyo Tower" Emporis Retrieved 11 April 2008 
  3. ^ "Structural Engineering" Nikken Sekkei Archived from the original on 21 April 2008 Retrieved 11 April 2008 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gilhooly, Rob 17 March 2002 "The tower and the story" The Japan Times Retrieved 11 November 2013 
  5. ^ Bruan, Stuart "Big in Japan:Tokyo Tower" Metropolis Archived from the original on 10 June 2008 Retrieved 21 September 2008 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Ito, Masami 30 December 2008 "Half century on, Tokyo Tower still dazzles as landmark" The Japan Times Retrieved 21 January 2009 
  7. ^ a b "Tokyo Tower 東京タワー" SkyscraperPage Retrieved 29 March 2008 
  8. ^ 鉄の豆知識 in Japanese Otani Steel Corporation Retrieved 30 March 2008 
  9. ^ a b c Fackler, Martin 30 December 2008 "Tokyo Tower goes from futuristic hope to symbol of the good old days" International Herald Tribune Retrieved 21 January 2009 
  10. ^ a b c d "Tokyo Tower Data" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 29 March 2008 
  11. ^ a b "Tokyo Tower vs Super Tower: Crossed Signals" PDF Colliers International October 2005 Retrieved 21 January 2009 
  12. ^ Alex Vega 7 July 2006 "The Small Print" Metropolis Archived from the original on 24 February 2008 Retrieved 30 March 2008 
  13. ^ Sacchi, Livio 2004 Tokyo City and Architecture Skira Editore SpA p 58 ISBN 88-8491-990-8
  14. ^ "5年に1回のお化粧直し。" in Japanese Retrieved 2 August 2013 
  15. ^ "Tokyo Tower" Retrieved 2 August 2013 
  16. ^ Sato, Shigemi 23 December 2008 "Tokyo Tower turns 50 with big party" Associated Press Retrieved 21 January 2009 
  17. ^ a b "Foot Town 1F" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  18. ^ "View from the Observatory" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  19. ^ "Tokyo Tower to add 100 meters" The Japan Times 23 September 2007 Retrieved 18 September 2008 
  20. ^ Arpon, Yasmin Lee 22 March 2012 "Tokyo Skytree: A towering symbol" AsiaOne Retrieved 9 April 2012 Tokyo Skytree will serve as the new broadcasting facility for six terrestrial broadcasters headed by NHK Tokyo Tower, which stands at 333m… 
  21. ^ "Tokyo Tower antenna bent, tourists evacuate via stairs" Jiji Press in Japanese 
  22. ^ "Aquarium gallery" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  23. ^ "Tower Restaurant" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  24. ^ "FoodCourt" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  25. ^ "Foot Town 2F" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  26. ^ "Guinness World Records Museum Tokyo" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  27. ^ "Wax Museum" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  28. ^ "Foot Town 3F" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  29. ^ "Trick Art Gallery" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  30. ^ "Amusement Park" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  31. ^ "Direct staircase to the Main Observatory Starting Point" Nippon Television City Corporation Retrieved 1 April 2008 
  32. ^ "Tokyo One Piece Tower" One Piece Tower Retrieved 30 May 2017 
  33. ^ "Tokyo One Piece Tower" Japan Deluxe Tours Retrieved 30 May 2017 
  34. ^ a b "⑤起死回生のライトアップ" Yomiuri Shimbun in Japanese 6 January 2008 Retrieved 19 September 2008 
  35. ^ a b c d 特別ライトアップ in Japanese 日本電波塔 Retrieved 29 March 2008 
  36. ^ "Works" Motoko Ishii Archived from the original on 26 September 2008 Retrieved 19 September 2008 
  37. ^ "TOKYO 2016 Lights Up the Tokyo Night" Japanese Olympic Committee 29 November 2007 Retrieved 20 September 2008 
  38. ^ Tokyo Tower English, NOPPONs' Secret
  39. ^ Dong, Bamboo 17 September 2007 "Crashing Japan" Anime News Network Retrieved 23 February 2009 
  40. ^ Krafsur, Richard P; Munden, Kenneth W 1997 The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1961–1970 University of California Press p 578 ISBN 0-520-20970-2 

External linksedit

  • Tokyo Tower official site English
  • Tokyo Tower at Structurae

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