The Tokyo Skytree, now the world’s tallest tower at 634 meters (2,080 feet) high, celebrated its first opening to the public today. With operating company Tobu Railway Co. expecting 200,000 visitors on the first day alone, the opening of the 37,000 square meter complex after more than three and a half years of construction will be one of the largest Tokyo has ever seen. With two observation decks, one at 350 meters (1,148 feet) and another at 450 meters (1,476 feet) high, each offering a 360 degree view of downtown Tokyo, the only way of getting tickets is by a random lottery.
In fact, only those with advanced reservations will be admitted until July 10th. After that, it is expected that more than 6,000 tickets will be sold a day online, while the lower of the observation decks can only hold 2,000 people at a time, and the higher up to 900. The Skytree was completed in February of this year, and displaced the 600 meter high Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China as the world’s tallest. The area around the tower has been dubbed “Skytree Town,” and is full of attractions like an open-air market, restaurants, shopping areas, and even an aquarium.
The Skytree functions as a communications tower and takes over the duties for Tokyo’s previous landmark, the 333-meter Tokyo Tower, built in 1958. The tower is constructed with the latest technology, making safe from earthquakes up to magnitude 7. In addition to Emperor Akihito, Lady Gaga, who was touring in Japan earlier this month, was one of the select few who got to visit the tower ahead of its grand opening.