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Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan

June 13th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Tokyo Tower (東京タワー Tōkyō tawā) is a tower in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, at 35°39′30″N, 139°44′43″E, whose design is based on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The Tower is 333 meters / 1093 feet tall (9 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower, or 33 if the latter's TV Antenna is not included) making it the world's highest self-supporting iron tower and the tallest structure in Tokyo. It is the symbol of Tokyo in the same way that the Statue of Liberty is the widely-recognized symbol of New York and the Eiffel Tower for Paris.

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo Tower is located in the middle of a city block. The tower only weighs about 4000 tons, which is extremely light compared to the 10100 ton Eiffel Tower, and it is painted in white and orange according to air safety regulations. From dusk to 11 PM, the tower is brilliantly illuminated in orange. The lighting is occasionally changed for special events; for the Japan premiere of The Matrix, for instance, the Tower was lit in neon green.

In the postwar boom of the 1950s, Japan was looking for a monument to symbolize its ascendancy as a global economic powerhouse. Looking to the Occident for inspiration, the Tokyo Government decided to erect its own Eiffel Tower. It was completed by the Takenaka Corporation in 1958 at a total cost of ¥2.8 billion. Although it chiefly functions as a radio and television broadcasting antenna, the Tower is best known as a tourist destination, though it is decried by some as overpriced and inconveniently located, and as having poor amenities. [citation needed]

The first floor houses an aquarium, home to 50,000 fish, the third floor is a wax museum and an attraction called the Mysterious Walking Zone, and the fourth floor a Trick Art Gallery. There are also two observatory floors, the main observatory (at 150 m) and the so-called "special observatory" (at 250 m); both afford a spectacular 360 degree view of Tokyo and, if the weather is clear, Mt. Fuji.

Just as the Eiffel Tower is used in cinema to immediately locate the scene in Paris, perhaps even to the degree of cliche, the Tokyo Tower is often used in anime and manga, especially by CLAMP, often as the setting for climactic events or battles. It has also been used often in monster films by Toho, having been destroyed by Mothra, Godzilla and also the location of the final battle of King Kong Escapes in which King Kong takes on his mechanical double. The James Bond film You Only Live Twice featured the tower when the Chinook helicopter is seen flying past by (in this particular scene, a Toyota Crown is held with an electromagnet).

Tokyo Tower can be seen from many points in Tokyo; recently, one of the best vantage points for viewing the Tower has been the Roppongi Hills complex, which has an outdoor terrace offering a panoramic view of the Tower and surrounding skyline. The Tower can also be viewed from Tokyo Bay and from the east gardens of Kokyo (the Imperial Palace).

Tokyo Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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