Tokyo Tower: From anime to real-life architectural magic

Many cities across the world have iconic skylines - piercing rugged outlines that pop into the mind with unique shapes to sum up in the mind’s eye what that city looks like. Add to that, many have viewpoints that look out to these skylines too. But for Tokyo, one of the most iconic cities in the world - does it even have a skyline? There’s certainly jaw-dropping architecture in Ginza and its many neighbourhoods, but because of WWII bombings and the city’s many rebirths, pin-pointing a skyline is quite hard to do. Though since the 60s, one tower in Tokyo has stood the test of time and become a mesmerising symbol in its own right, piercing through the mass concrete of this metropolis. That structure, Tokyo Tower, has in modern times not only become an icon for the world’s most populated city, but a defining component of Japan’s capital skyline. Curious? Follow me on Instagram and YouTube for more adventures! 

© Photo by Logan Ly

Erected in 1958, this gleaming structure was designed to serve as a broadcasting tower, replacing the towering antenna of the Tokyo Radio Tower. Tokyo Tower swiftly became an emblem of the nation's post-war recovery and a testament to Japan's technological prowess. With a nod to the Eiffel Tower's grandeur, Tokyo Tower stands proudly at 333 meters (1,093 feet) and captures the imagination of visitors from around the globe. Before eventually moving to Tokyo, it was one of the first thing I knew about the city. 

Now, as I gaze upon Tokyo Tower's magnificent silhouette, it becomes evident that its architecture is a harmonious blend of elegance and innovation. This graceful structure boasts two observation decks, allowing visitors to ascend to breathtaking heights. The Main Deck, located at 150 meters (492 feet), provides a panoramic vista of Tokyo's sprawling cityscape. For those seeking even greater thrills, the Special Observatory, situated at 250 meters (820 feet), offers an awe-inspiring bird's-eye view that stretches as far as the eye can see.

© Photo by Logan Ly

I think what’s so striking to me about this structure amongst Tokyo’s playful architectural scene is its flaunts in a striking array of colours. Every five years, it receives a fresh coat of paint, showcasing vibrant shades that captivate the imagination. Additionally, this towering masterpiece houses a collection of quirky attractions, including the Guinness World Records Museum, where you can marvel at remarkable feats achieved by extraordinary individuals. 

While I love seeing Tokyo Tower’s bright orange spell piercing through the stark blue sky during the day, it’s also a sight to see in the evening. As twilight casts its enchanting spell over Tokyo, Tokyo Tower metamorphoses into a luminous beacon, illuminating the city with its mesmerising lights. During the evening hours, this iconic landmark dazzles with a stunning light show, showcasing a kaleidoscope of colours that dance in perfect harmony with the bustling metropolis below. Beyond its visual splendour, Tokyo Tower has also played a significant role in the nation's cultural fabric, being featured in countless films, manga, and anime, further cementing its place in the hearts of Japanese and international pop culture enthusiasts.

©Cardcaptor Sakura/ CLAMP

Speaking of manga and popular culture… Ah, the enchanting realm of magical girl anime! Tokyo Tower holds a special place in the hearts of fans of this beloved genre (aka me, and when I first learned about this mega-tropolis). The tower has often been featured as a significant landmark in magical girl anime (a sub-genre of anime), playing a role in various captivating storylines. Amongst my favourites, Sailor Moon. Tokyo Tower is an iconic setting in the Sailor Moon series, where many pivotal moments unfold. In the anime, the main protagonist, Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), often finds herself at Tokyo Tower, either meeting her friends or engaging in epic battles against the forces of evil. The tower's prominence in Sailor Moon showcases its symbolic significance as a beacon of hope and power. 

© Photo by Logan Ly

My other absolutely all-time favourite series is Cardcaptor Sakura, where Tokyo Tower is basically a character in of itself. Sakura Kinomoto, the charming magical protagonist of Cardcaptor Sakura, frequently visits Tokyo Tower during her adventures. It serves as a picturesque backdrop where Sakura captures the magical Clow Cards, and it becomes an integral part of her journey as she unlocks the mysteries of the cards' magic. The tower's presence adds a touch of wonder and grandeur to Sakura's quest - being the backdrop of a trip where she captures the Dream Card and then where the Final Judgetment battle against Yue takes place.

The inclusion of Tokyo Tower in these magical girl anime series symbolises the connection between the fantastical realm and the real world. Its towering presence represents a beacon of hope, a meeting place for friends, and a stage for epic battles against evil. Tokyo Tower's architectural grandeur and its prominent position in the cityscape make it a fitting backdrop for the magical transformations and adventures of these beloved characters - and now getting to be here myself, makes it feel like I’m the main character of my own anime.

©iStock/ TOA

A journey to Tokyo Tower is a testament to the captivating allure of Japan's capital city. It’s one spot where I really cherish in this ever-changing, always-growing city. From its storied history as a symbol of post-war recovery to its awe-inspiring architecture and delightful fun facts, Tokyo Tower stands tall as an ambassador of Japanese resilience and innovation. So, whether you’re an anime fan like me, an architectural lover, or just an admirer of great sights and skylines - let Tokyo Tower be your gateway to adventure as you bask in the sheer beauty and wonder that this remarkable metropolis has to offer. 

©iStock/ somchaij

There's plenty of great accommodation near Tokyo Tower for your adventures in Japan's capital city and this architectural marvel. For an affordable, budget-friendly single room, check out Tokyo Grand Hotel. Now, if you want unrivalled sweeping vistas of this iconic structure, The Prince Park Tower Tokyo is the ultimate hotel to stay in (or just head to the bar for a drink with a surreal view of it). Likewise, in the same family of hospitality, Tokyo Prince Hotel has suites with direct views of Tokyo Tower. 

©iStock/ StockByM

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