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Getting to the top in Tokyo

The elegance of hi-tech engineering and the pure simplicity of Japanese art come together to reach new heights in the Tokyo Sky Tree, a 634-metre communications tower due to open in May. Tickets to the top are about to go on sale.

March 15, 2012
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The cutting-edge Sky Tree construction project is almost complete after nearly four years of work. At the start, it was unclear just what the final height of this stylish free-standing tower would be, although it was always intended to be the tallest on the planet. Now it's been confirmed that the tower reaches a dizzying 634 metres, making it a clear winner in the category of 'self-supporting tower', although at almost 830 metres Dubai's Burj Khalifa skyscraper still leads the list of tallest man-made structures.

Located in a popular international tourism area of the Japanese capital, just a kilometre to the east of the Asakusa district with its many merchants and craftsmen, and two kilometres northeast of Ryogoku, famous for sumo wrestling, the Sky Tree is more than just the world's tallest communications tower. At the base there is a commercial complex with shops and restaurants, and the tower itself has two observatories, one located at a height of 350 metres and the other at 450 metres.

The tower will be broadcasting radio programmes from April 2012 and TV programmes from 2013. The official opening ceremony for the Sky Tree will take place on May 22nd, 2012. Advance reservations for visits to the observation decks start on March 22nd, and until July 11th no day tickets will be sold.

The technical side was not the only aspect of the project that required great thought. Even the colour was chosen to take account of harmony with the landscape and the idea of the fusion of Japanese traditional beauty with neo-futuristic design: the body of the tower is a lustrous white with a faint bluish sheen, like the colour of fine porcelain, highlighted by the grey of the shafts; at the very top, the brilliant white pinnacle points to the sky as a symbol of aspiration and innovation. At 634 metres, the height of this incredible steel structure that seems to defy the laws of physics was not a random choice, either: the three numbers in Japanese sound out the word Musashi, the old name of the province where Tokyo is located.

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Tokyo Sky Tree

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