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17 sensational observation towers that aren't in Paris

By: Matt Hickman on Aug. 5, 2016, 10:39 a.m.
Tokyo Skytree

Photo: Antonio Tajuelo/flickr

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Tokyo Skytree

The streets of Tokyo can be exhausting and oppressively chaotic. What better way to escape the maddening crowds than to ascend nearly 1,500 feet into the sky?

Okay, so while visitors to the Tokyo Skytree might still face sizable crowds on the dual observation decks of this tripod-shaped edifice — it's the second tallest freestanding structure in the world after Dubai's Burj Khalifa — at least it offers a dramatic change of scenery, right? Like many freestanding towers of monumental height, the primary purpose of Tokyo Skytree is radio and television broadcasting. In fact, the tower was built to replace the iconic, Eiffel Tower-inspired Tokyo Tower which, at a little over 1,000-feet-tall, had become dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers and could not fully support digital terrestrial television (DTT) transmissions.

Unlike the Tokyo Tower's international orange-accented paint job, the Tokyo Skytree is fully done up in "Skytree White," with a faint indigo hue "representing harmony with the surrounding scenery, its name and the design concept: 'The creation of city scenery transcending time: A fusion of traditional Japanese beauty and neo-futuristic design.'" As for the tower's full height of 634 meters (2,080-feet), that number is intentionally easy-to-remember: "634" said aloud sounds like "mu-sa-shi," the name of the historic Japanese province in which Tokyo is located.