1. Tourist friendly
When I initially strolled around the site, trying to find the ticket office, I was enthralled by the long line I saw. It was a blessing that just after I entered the back of the line, I noticed a sign for the International Visitors ticket booth. The North Entrance, typically the longest line, and the Main Entrance, for reserved tickets can be skipped for International Visitors, who get direct access to the Fast Skytree Ticket Counter, in the West entrance, which is exclusive for international visitors (though Japanese citizens accompanying a group of international visitors are also eligible.) The thinned line meant it took no more than five minutes to buy my tickets - which hadn't been reserved - and head to the elevator line.
On all of my other visits to city viewpoints, be it the Empire State building or CN Tower, there has always been a battle for the good windows combined with wars between arms of cameras. Tokyo is filled to the brim with examples of these large curious crowds - but the Skytree is not one of them. The landing area on the largest floor; the Tembo Deck, which is 350m up into the sky, has an almost leisurely amount of space which allows for apt viewing from all angles and lots of portrait photo opportunities. The spread-out crowd is partially due to Tokyo's layout; there isn't just one area which is particularly city-like and photo generic, it is the entire city.
At no time did I feel stressed, or limited with my opportunities, which allowed me to get the most out of my experience.
3. Shopping and food opportunities
If you're low on souvenirs for your family or groceries, you'll be glad to hear there's a shopping centre just before the entrance, on the ground floor. Tokyo Solamachi offers more than 300 conventional stores and several places to grab a bite of food. As a major Studio Ghibli fan, I was pleased to find out that there is a major Ghibli store in the same area, and one which I preferred to the 'real' one, in the Ghibli museum.
If you'd like to have your food with a view, the Skytree offers three dining opportunities:
- Skytree Café 340 offers light snacks and drinks (with seating)
- Tembo Deck Floor 350 focusses on mainly drinks (without seating)
- Sky Restaurant 634invites for authentic Japanese cuisine, served in a French manner (booking is required)
No booking is needed for the tickets which start at ¥3000 for a visit on the main floor, 350, and ¥4000 to include floor 450. Children's tickets are half price. With one of the most tourist friendly and enriching experiences in Tokyo, there are not many reasons to not drop by the Skytree on your stay.