Written by Samuel Phineas Upham
Standing over 2,000 feet above the ground, the Tokyo Sky Tree is the second largest building in the modern world and the largest free-standing tower on record. It trumps the Canton Tower in Guangzhou China by thirty-four meters, and it’s twice the size of the Tokyo Tower that it is meant to replace. It will be run by a consortium of railway and broadcast companies, carrying messages into the surrounding Kanto region.
The land the tower stands on is known to be unstable, and the tower was completed nearly a year after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked the city of Tokyo. Still, Obayashi, the builder behind the project, seems confident the tower will resist quake damage. The tower uses a central column that helps stabilize the structure by acting like a kind of pendulum. This counterbalances the effects of seismic waves and reduces the sway of the building.
Visitors can take a high-speed elevator to an observation deck that is over one-thousand feet above the ground. The ride is extremely smooth, most don’t even feel the acceleration of the elevator, and you rise in less than a minute. On clear days, you can spot Mount Fuji in the southwest. Standing atop the deck, with a 360 degree view of Tokyo, it’s hard not to think of the rich history of Japan. You can see that history from the deck itself, admiring a screen painting of Edo from Japan’s feudal era while you compare the layout of the city it would eventually become.