Today’s mission sounded easy: Visit the new Tokyo Skytree. We arrived at Ueno (the closest JR station) and decided against taking the metro to the Skytree and preferred to walk there, so we could see more of the city while also grabbing a cache or two.
The walk to the Skytree was quite nice, found some temples and an area that is obsessed with kappa (some shinto water god/demon that’s half human, half other creatures, mostly turtle). The story behind this is, that a merchant named Kappaya invested in water management for this area and since his name is somewhat homophone with the water creature… well you get the idea. There’s even a golden statue of a kappa (not of Kappaya).
But let’s cut to today’s main story. So we arrived at the Skytree around 14:00 and wanted to get some tickets. But that ain’t easy, folks. After walking around a bit and trying to interpret the Japanese signs, we figured out with the help of some guides, that we can’t buy the tickets to go up to the tower – at least not yet. We were given waiting tickets, that indicated at which time we were allowed to enter the lobby to buy tickets… 18:30. And this is how it really works. You stand in line to get a waiting ticket, that will allow you to stand in a line to enter the lobby at a certain time (in our case several hours in the future). There you stand in a line again to buy the tickets that you need to actually go up the Skytree (for which you need to stand in line for the elevator, of course). Well, at least you can go to the lower observation decks. If you want to go to the upper decks, you gotta go to the lower one first, stand in line there and buy a ticket, so you can stand in line to go up to the upper observation decks. Confusing? Well, you didn’t have to go through this personally.
To make things worse, even though it’s Monday, half of Japan has nothing better to do than go onto the same tower – so it’s quite crowded at the observation decks, making the observation part quite hard, not to mention the photography part. That had it’s own difficulties., like the fact that you you’re not supposed to reach the windows, meaning that you either extend yourself quite a bit till your camera can touch the windows – or that your photographs will have a lot of reflections. The weather was okay, but not perfect, so we couldn’t get the photos we were hoping for. And to finish the that whole stuff, here are the numbers. Going to the lower observation decks: 2,000 Yen. Going to the upper observation decks: Additional 1,000 Yen. Oh, speaking of money. No need to worry about the time you have to spend waiting, since they have numerous shops and restaurants, so you can spend the time spending a lot of it. The whole thing is a bit of a rip-off. We assume that the whole tower will have redeemed itself in one year.