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Tokyo towers ahead with its skyscraper skyline

15 January 2014 No Comment

It’s the world’s largest metropolis, home to over 13 million people but also some of the most sensational skyscraping structures on the planet. Welcome to Tokyo, a creative cityscape that’s alive with awe-inspiring architecture.

But what makes up its vast volumes of high-rises and tall towers? Let’s take a closer look at some of this city’s most iconic residents – you’re going to need a head for heights for this trip…

Tokyo Skytree

As the tallest tower in the world, this is one tree you’ll definitely want to climb. The Tokyo Skytree, which opened just last year, branches out to an incredible 2,080 ft.

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Designed to relay television and radio signals, it was created to boost the broadcasting for the digital switchover, something which the Tokyo Tower – at around half the height – couldn’t do because of its surrounding high-rise neighbours. And when it comes to modern skyscraper design, this is one tower that’s certainly switched on.

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It’s futuristic cylindrical shape offers powerful panoramas of the river and city, but you’ll need nerves of steel to climb this metal monolith. Its upper observatory features a spiral, glass-covered skywalk which also has glass flooring – giving you a direct, downward view of the bustling streets below.

Tokyo Tower

This colourful Eiffel-inspired tower is actually a communications and observation tower, painted in its bold and bright colours of white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations.

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It’s definitely not a tower you can gloss over however, it takes over 28,000 litres of paint to recoat this French-style fancy, every five years. At over 1,000 feet high, it’s the second-tallest tower in Japan, taking you to two different heights to marvel at Tokyo’s sprawl – the Main Observatory at 490 feet and the Special Observatory at an eye-watering 820 feet.

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Built at a cost of around 2.8bn Yen in 1958, the Tokyo Tower and its support as a radio and TV antennae has been a beacon for Tokyo’s architectural heritage, signalling the start of the super-structure boom which has seen Tokyo’s skyline grow in strength to become one of the most inspirational on earth.

With over three million visitors a year, it sure does broadcast some great views – will you be tuning in?

Toranomon Hills

It may sound like a green and tranquil hilly haven from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, but upon completion, scheduled for next year, this super steel structure will be the tallest building in the city with the point of its spire reaching 255.5 metres.

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This towering project is a crucial part of the redevelopment of the new loop road linking the Shinbashi and Toranomon districts, which has been in planning since 1946. Needing to find the displaced residents of the area a new place to live, but lacking the prime property needed, Toranomon Hills was the top answer.

With 52 floors plus five basement levels, there will be 172 residential flats within the tower, sharing space with the rooms, suites and spa of the Hyatt Andaz Tokyo Hotel, offices, conference space and retail shops. So it seems that when you need to solve lack of living space in this city, the answer is always to look up…

St Luke’s Towers

It’s the 110m-high skybridge which is the signature of these Tokyo twins. The St Luke’s Towers’ skybridge joins these towering siblings together on the 32nd floor, making it an instantly recognisable part of Tokyo’s high-rise family.

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Rising next to the banks of the Sumida River, the differing heights of the towers – 38 storeys and 51 storeys – gives a stunning waterfront vantage across Tokyo Bay for each tower’s office and residential tenants, with an 18.5m high glass-enclosed plaza at its base for uninterrupted views. Completed in 1994, all construction debris from the creation of the towers was removed by boat to minimise local traffic disruption.

But it’s the skybridge which holds most sway. Built using individual, overlapping sections, the bridge can expand and contract during any tremors, making it uniquely earthquake-proof.

Tokyo City Hall

This Gothic cathedral/futuristic fusion of a building is the powerhouse of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

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Once the tallest building in Tokyo until the creation of the Midtown Tower, three structures make up the HQ, with the highest reaching 48 storeys, splitting into two sections at the 33rd floor. It’s unique shape is said to have been inspired by a computer chip and it’s become one of the most iconic buildings in the city and a major tourist attraction since it opened in 1991.

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Widely seen as a symbol of authority, its presence in Tokyo’s skyline commands respect thanks to the panoramic views from each of its observation decks, which are free to enter and open until 11pm, guaranteeing a real night vision of Japan’s capital.

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