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The red and white Eiffel Tower of Tokyo

During Tokyo’s reconstruction after World War II, the city built several replicas of famous buildings from other countries. One example is the Tokyo Tower, a red and white tower inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. This tower is perhaps Tokyo’s most beloved retro icon and at over 333 metres tall, the views are even more impressive than those of its Paris rival.

The Tokyo Tower has appeared as a backdrop in numerous movies, from ‘Godzilla’ to ‘King Kong’. Since the inauguration of the Tokyo Skytree in 2012, a structure which is almost twice the height, the Tokyo Tower is no longer the city’s tallest building. But it is still an important tourist attraction: 3 million visitors a year flock here to visit cafés, restaurants, souvenir shops and the aquarium with 50,000 fish. However the highlight of the tower is still its breathtaking view.

The Tokyo Tower is 333 metres high
The Tokyo Tower is 333 metres high


View of the Fuji volcano

Just like the Fernsehturm in Berlin, the CN Tower in Toronto and the Menara KL in Kuala Lumpur, the Tokyo Tower doubles as an active communications tower and tourist attraction. Whilst these other towers feature a futuristic concrete space age design, the Tokyo Tower is made with 4,000 tons of steel. To make the structure highly visible to air traffic, it is painted every 5 years using 28,000 litres of paint. The tower is the most recognisable landmark in Tokyo; in the daytime it stands out with its red and white colours and at night it is beautifully illuminated - bright white in summer and warm orange in winter. 3 express elevators depart from the base of the tower, transporting visitors to 2 different viewing platforms at heights of 150 and 250 metres. On a clear day you can see the skyscrapers, temples and city parks of Tokyo, as well as the Bay of Tokyo and even the Fuji volcano in the distance.

“The paint job every 5 years uses 28,000 litres of red and white paint”

The Zojo-ji-temple and the Tokyo Tower

The temple of the Tokugawa shoguns

The only obvious drawback of being in the Tokyo Tower is that you don’t get a view of the city with the landmark building itself. For that you must go up another building. So for a great view of the Tokyo Tower, visit the panorama platform on top of the 238-metre-high Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills. A nearby alternative for a beautiful view is from the bar on the top floor of Prince Park Tower Tokyo Hotel in Shiba Park at the foot of the Tokyo Tower. The park is also home to the Zojo-ji, a 14th-century Buddhist temple complex with the mausoleum of the Tokugawa shoguns. The temple and adjoining buildings were rebuilt after the destruction of World War II, but the impressive 21-metre-high red-varnished main gate is a 17th-century original.

Photo credits

  • The Zojo-ji-temple and the Tokyo Tower: Hiroshi Naito, 123rf