The Tokyo Sky Tree , the tallest tower in the world turned one year old today.
The Sky Tree opened to visitors on 2012 May 22nd…one year ago today.
I went up to the observation deck in the Tokyo Sky Tree on a clear day last January. I wrote a post about it with some photos that I took of the view.
(Click here to read it.)
Today is the first anniversary of the Tokyo Sky Tree‘s grand opening…but two days ago (Monday, 2013 May 2oth), another milestone was reached for the tower: Tokyo Sky Tree welcomed the 6.34 millionth visitor.
6.34 million visitors is a key number for the Sky Tree because the tower stands 634 meters tall. Officially the world’s tallest tower.
The height of 634 meters wasn’t chosen arbitrarily. In Japanese 6-3-4 can be pronounced 「ムサシ」 (mu-sa-shi)…and the Tokyo Sky Tree stands near an area that is referred to as 「武蔵の国」 (Musashi Region).
What do you think about giant skyscrapers and towers? What is the tallest one you’ve visited? Are there any near where you live?
Last weekend, we went to a 藤祭り (Wisteria Festival) in Tokyo.
藤 (Wisteria) is a type of flower that is purple and blooms around this time of year.
Here are some photos that I took:
We also saw the new Tokyo Sky Duck bus.
Here’s a photo that I took of it:
The Tokyo Sky Duck is a new bus service that just started in Tokyo last March.
It gives passengers a tour of Tokyo both by street…and then by river cruise because it’s both a bus and a boat!
Here is a video of the Tokyo Sky Duck bus getting into the river:
Yesterday I went up the Tokyo Sky Tree.
634 meters tall … the tallest tower in the world!
First of all, the elevators move at 600 meters per minute! But they’re so smooth, I could hardly feel them move!
The sky was clear, blue and sunny … so I could clearly see Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Tower, Shinjuku, Tokyo Disneyland, the Tokyo Dome…all of Tokyo and beyond!
The shadow of Tokyo Sky Tree
Summer in Tokyo is very hot and humid. There is a typhoon season and sometimes a sudden thunderstorm with heavy rain will start seemingly out of nowhere…and then stop just as suddenly with blue skies returning.
Japanese people are sometimes surprised if I tell them that summer in Florida (where I grew up) is very similar.
Summer in Florida is also hot and humid. There is a hurricane season (hurricanes, for all intents and purposes, are basically the same as typhoons) and sometimes sudden short thunderstorms occur there too.
In fact, the area in Florida where I lived, Tampa Bay, is called “the lightning capital of the world”.
When the weather is sunny and then a rainstorm suddenly starts…with the sunny weather returning just as suddenly, Floridians call that a sun shower.
So I also referred to the same phenomenon in Japan as a sun shower, as well.
But a few years ago, the Japanese media gave these storms an original Japanese name. Here in Japan, these storms are called 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (“Guerrilla rainstorms“) because of the way they violently come out of nowhere.
Well, yesterday, there was a sudden, short, ゲリラ豪雨 (Guerrilla rainstorm)…and someone photographed it from the Tokyo Sky Tree tower.
The 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (guerrilla rainstorm) that hit the Tokyo area yesterday. It looks like a tornado!
Earlier this month, I participated in one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals.
(Click here to read that post.)
There are many great festivals all year round…but especially so in the summer.
(Click here to see a list I made of some of Tokyo’s best festivals.)
I like Japan’s festivals a lot…and I go to many of them.
In early August, my family and I went to watch a summer 花火大会 (fireworks show) near our house that we usually go to every year.
The 花火大会 (fireworks shows) in Japan are excellent! If you have a chance, you should see one!
(Here is a list of some of Tokyo’s biggest fireworks shows.)
It’s not easy to photograph fireworks with the camera I have…but here are a few that I took:
花火 (“hanabi”)…literally “flower (of) fire”, is the Japanese word for “fireworks”.
We also went to a festival at a temple not far from the Tokyo Sky Tree.
After that, we went to 上野公園 (Ueno Park):
(Click here to see some other photos I took in Ueno a couple of years ago.)
If you have any questions about festivals in Tokyo, things to do in this city, or whatever…feel free to contact me.
Yesterday a 日食 (solar eclipse) could be seen over Tokyo and a few other parts of the world.
Did you watch the eclipse? To look at it, you needed to wear special glasses otherwise you could risk serious eye damage.
I got a (cheap) pair of the glasses and watched the eclipse. It was visible in Tokyo at 7:30AM.
I took a few photos of it with my cell-phone camera. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a very good shot of the “ring of fire” (when the moon was directly in front of the sun and a perfect ring was visible around the dark moon)…this one is probably the best of the pictures I got.
Solar eclipse over Tokyo, 2012 May 21
Another “sky-related” event in Tokyo is the grand opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree today (2012 May 22).
It says “Tuesday, 2012 May 22, Tokyo Sky Tree grand opening”
Personally, I don’t plan to go inside the Tokyo Sky Tree at least until the “novelty” wears off because it’s going to be very crowded (for awhile, a reservation is required to go inside) and also, the admission cost is expensive—¥2,000 – ¥3,000 for adults (depending on which level of the tower you want to go up to).
Two days ago (April 29th) was the Japanese holiday 「昭和の日」 (“Showa Day”). It was a Sunday so the holiday was “observed” yesterday (April 30th).
It was the unofficial start of Golden Week. Many people, like me, have to go to work today and tomorrow but had a day off yesterday and next Thursday til Sunday (May 3rd – May 6th) will be days off, too.
But some people get a full nine-day Golden Week holiday from April 29th – May 6th. A lot of those people take an overseas trip.
Click here to read my short FAQ about this holiday period…and also how some of the holidays changed names a few times fairly recently.
Anyways, as we had the day off yesterday and the weather was warm, we went to a 藤まつり (Wisteria Flower Festival) not far from the Tokyo Sky Tree.
Here are some of the photos I took:
About five years ago, Australia began turning all non-essential lights off for an hour on the last Saturday of March.
They called it “Earth Hour” and it was done to remind people to conserve energy.
The following year most major cities around the world followed suit and now Earth Hour is a world-wide annual event in which all lights (except those that are absolutely necessary) are turned off from 8:30 – 9:30PM on the last Saturday in March.
Yesterday was Earth Hour 2012.
It says 「つながる気持ちが 世界を変える」 ("This attitude can change the world").
—(The “60″ in their logo represents the sixty minutes that lights are dimmed)—
So, last night from 8:30-9:30PM (Japan Standard Time (JST)), all non-essential lights were turned off…including the usually illuminated Tokyo Tower (it was only lit enough to prevent planes from hitting it).
The darkened Tokyo Tower at Earth Hour 2012.
Tokyo’s new, bigger tower…the Tokyo Sky Tree won’t be opened to the public until this May—so it’s not illuminated at night yet (except for the lighting necessary for air safety).
But, beginning next year, the Tokyo Sky Tree will be joining the world every year in dimming it’s lights for Earth Hour every year.
On the news today they said that the construction of the 東京スカイツリー (Tokyo Sky Tree) reached a height of 634 meters tall at 1:34PM this afternoon.
That means that they are finished building it upwards because it was designed to stand at 634 meters tall.
This height was decided upon for two reasons…first, it is now the world’s tallest free-standing tower, and also in Japanese “6-3-4″ can be pronounced as “Mu-sa-shi” which sounds like 「武蔵の国」 (“Musashi“) which is the old name for the area of Tokyo that the towers stands in.
Even though the Tokyo Sky Tree now stands at it’s full height, there is still construction yet to be completed on the tower which isn’t scheduled to be completed until sometime in 2011 December.
The tower is due to open to the public in the spring of 2012.
Last October, they did a test of the tower’s lighting, so we had a preview of what the Tokyo Sky Tree will look like when it’s illuminated every evening.
It’s quite beautiful.
Click here to see the post I wrote with a few photos of the lighting test and a preview of what it’s expected to look like completed and illuminated.
In Japan, Christmas isn’t a national holiday. If December 25th falls on a weekday then it’s just a normal workday in Japan.
But that said, クリスマス (X-mas) is still a big holiday in Japan. Not the biggest though…the most important holiday in Japan is 正月 (New Years).
I wrote a post before that explains a bit about Christmas in Japan…and another one that explains a bit about New Years in Japan.
To summarize though, Christmas isn’t the same in Japan as it is in Western countries.
Even though New Years is Japan’s biggest holiday, stores and streets in Japan put up X-mas decorations on November 1st (as soon as the Halloween decorations come down) and take them down on December 26th.
On December 26th in Japan, the Xmas decorations are quickly replaced with New Years decorations which stay up until around January 5th.
So Japan is decorated for the imported holiday of Christmas for fifty-six days but only about two weeks for New Years.
Basically the image of X-mas in Japan is a romantic evening for couples on クリスマス・イヴ (Christmas Eve) and a day for families with children on クリスマス (Christmas Day).
One of the popular dates spots for couples on and before X-mas Eve is to look at クリスマス・イルミネーション (X-mas lights (or, as they’re called in Japan, “Christmas illumination“)).
X-mas illumination at "Roppongi Hills" in downtown Tokyo.
There is a website that shows some of the best 「全国イルミネーション・スポット」 (Illumination Spots around Japan).
One part of that website lists 「イルミネーションおすすめスポット Best 5」 (“Top 5 Recommended Illumination Spots”).
The list is:
- 「六本木ヒルズ Artelligent Christmas 2010」 (“Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2010” in Tokyo, Japan)
- 「神戸ルミナリェ」 (“Kobe Luminarie” in Kobe, Japan)
- 「２０１０SENDAI光のページェント」 (“2010 Sendai Light Pageant” in Sendai, Japan)
- 「第３０回さっぽろホワイトイルミネーション」 (“30th Sapporo White Illumination” in Sapporo, Japan)
- 「OSAKA光のルネサンス２０１０」 (“Osaka Light Renaissance 2010” in Osaka, Japan)
Also, check out this post that I wrote with photos of the X-mas illumination at Tokyo Tower and in Roppongi, Tokyo.
And also this one that I wrote about Omotesando, Tokyo turning the X-mas illumination back on last year after eleven years of not decorating.
How is Christmas celebrated where you live? Are stores already decorated for X-mas? Is looking at 「クリスマス・イルミネーション」 (X-mas lights) popular?