The History of Tokyo Tower
The True Color of Tokyo Tower isn't Red!
Must-see Experiences at Tokyo Tower
Official Mascots of Tokyo Tower "the Noppon Brothers"
Places to Visit in & Around Tokyo Tower
Events at Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower stands 333m high, and is a universal icon of Tokyo that was completed in 1953 as the country’s first central radio tower.

Since its construction, Tokyo Tower has been cherished by all of Japan as a symbol of the capital, and the country's tallest structure. Although its status of being Japan's tallest building has been passed onto the newer Tokyo SkyTree, Tokyo Tower is a still landmark that attracts many tourists from both within and beyond Japan's borders.

Yet, not many people have a deeper knowledge of the building. What is there to do at Tokyo Tower, and how did it come to be?
Did you know that Tokyo Tower is not actually red? Alongside such lesser known facts about Tokyo Tower, this article will explore the night view from its observation deck, exterior illuminations, shopping facilities, and nearby food options.

By the end of this article, you will know everything you need to know before visiting Tokyo Tower in your next trip to Japan! We hope that through this article, you will find yourself a new reason to visit Tokyo Tower.

The History of Tokyo Tower

Zojoji Temple and Tokyo Tower

Zojoji Temple and Tokyo Tower

As a central radio tower, Tokyo Tower (officially named: "Nippon Denpato" - "Japan Radio Tower) has sustained the Kanto region's television and radio media for the many decades after its construction.
February 1st, 1953 marked Japan's first successful televised broadcast by NHK, and by 4 years later, many more television stations had received broadcasting rights. However, due to the lack of any radio tower at this time, every station would have to establish its own antenna to broadcast its content.

At around the same time, Japan was entering a period of rapid economic growth; televisions were becoming much more accessible and common for average citizens, and demands for them were rising too. It was Hisakichi Maeda who saw this movement in popular demand, and proposed a plan for the construction of a single, central radio tower. With this planned tower, Japan's television stations will no longer need their own antennae, and will rather use the central radio tower to broadcast their media. Thus, the construction of Tokyo Tower, Japan's tallest piece of architecture, began.

Finally in 1958, Tokyo Tower was completed as a central radio tower commanding the waves of 7 different television stations, and an icon of Tokyo that would continue to attract the eyes of Japan and the world.

The True Color of Tokyo Tower isn't Red!

Tokyo Tower's international orange color

Tokyo Tower's color: "international orange"

One trait of Tokyo Tower that makes it stand out so much in the metropolitan landscape is its color. The bright “red” is actually a hue officially referred to as “international orange” by aviation laws, and Tokyo Tower is painted in a pattern alternating between this and white.
This allows Tokyo Tower to stand out even in the daytime, and make it easily recognizable for airplanes flying over. To ensure continued airspace safety, Tokyo Tower is repainted every 5 years by a total of 4,200 workers, entirely by hand over the course of a year.

Must-see Experiences at Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower's Main Observation Deck, 150m above ground-level

The sight from Tokyo Tower's Look-down Window

The sight from Tokyo Tower's "Look-down Window"

At the main observation deck in Tokyo Tower, you can take a look at Tokyo’s broad cityscape from 150 meters above. The observation deck is divided into two floors, and the first floor has the "lookdown window", a section of the floor made of transparent glass. A top-down look at the 145-m drop under your feet will put a chill up your spine for sure!
Additionally, at Club333 on the same floor, you can enjoy the night view while listening to live music. At the live house, each day has a different genre, such as Jazz and Pop on Wednesdays and a special DJ event on Fridays, so check the official website beforehand to find out more!

For those who prefer a quieter, more relaxed time, there is Café la Tour on the first floor, where you can enjoy a coffee alongside the scenery. At the second-floor desk, you can also take advantage of the free binocular rental service.

Tower Daijingu Shrine


Tokyo Tower also has the "highest" shrine in all of Tokyo. This shrine's name is "Tower Daijingu", and it is located on the second floor of the observation deck.
This shrine was built in 1977, and due to its "height", has since become a popular place for students praying for high grades. To receive the shrine's red "Goshuin" Stamp, you must be a participant in the Tower Daijingu Tour.

Tokyo Tower "Top Deck" Special Observation Deck

Tokyo Tower top deck special observation deck

Tokyo Tower Top Deck Special Observation Deck

The special observation deck is a whole 100 meters higher than the main observation deck. Here, you can have a 360 view of Tokyo from 250 meters above sea level. With the right weather, you may be able to see Mount Fuji from the special observation deck! Note that this observation deck is only accessible through the special Top Deck Tour, which is joined by prior reservation. The tour offers entry into Tokyo Tower's "Secret Library", which houses secret anecdotes on Tokyo Tower's construction. It also includes a drink service, commemorative photographs, and other special experiences and services that normally cannot be had. Guided by the staff, you will enter the transparent glass elevator for a unique ascension that feel as if you are floating.

View of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower Special Top Observation Deck

View of Tokyo from the Special Top Deck Observation Deck

The top deck has a unique interior design named the "geometric mirrors". A set of complexly angled mirrors reflect the outside scenery to create a futuristic aesthetic. In addition to that, due to the altitude heightened by 100m in comparison to the main deck, your view of Tokyo reaches even further now. At night, the combination of LED lights and sound effects creates a mystical space with the night views outside.

Daily Illuminations of Tokyo Tower at Night

Tokyo Tower at night, as seen from the World Trade Center Building

Tokyo Tower at night, as seen from the World Trade Center Building

Another important factor of Tokyo Tower is the daily light up, known as the “landmark light”. Since its first light-up on new-year's day of 1989, Tokyo Tower's 180 light bulbs have illuminated the structure beautifully every night from sunset to midnight. The light bulbs can vary by the season; a cool-tone silver light is used in the summer, and a warm-tone orange light is used in the autumn, winter and spring.

Urban legend says that seeing the moment of Tokyo Tower's light-up with your significant other will bring the two of you happiness. Since Tokyo Tower has restaurants and an aquarium built alongside it, it might be a great place for a date!

The Special "Infinity Diamond Veil" Light-Up

At Tokyo Tower, you might also see special illuminations that are different from the daily "landmark lights". Weekends have the special "Infinity Diamond Veil" light-ups that changes its 12 colors every hour, between 10:00p.m. and midnight. This occurs every Friday and Saturday, and the colors vary according to the month.

Tokyo Tower being lit up with a picture of Doraemon's bell

Tokyo Tower lit up with a picture of Doraemon's bell

At times, Tokyo Tower hosts event collaborations to display light-ups entirely different from their regular ones. For example, the lights were pink during a collaboration with a breast-cancer awareness campaign. In collaboration with a movie from the popular manga series "Doraemon", Tokyo Tower took on a blue hue with the character's iconic bell in the center.
The light-up schedule is constantly updated on Tokyo Tower's official website, so be sure to check it out.

Tokyo Tower's Official mascots "the Noppon Brothers"

The mascots of Tokyo Tower Noppon Brothers

Noppon Brothers (Younger brother in red and the older brother in blue)

If you are familiar with Japan’s love for cute characters, then it may be no surprise that Tokyo Tower has its own official mascots too. Named the "Noppon Brothers", they are a pair of pink characters resembling the shape of the tower. Contrasting their close looks, their personalities are polar opposites! They often make appearances on weekends and national holidays, but those who want to encounter them for sure should check the official website for a detailed schedule.
Tokyo Tower has also established a new brand in 2011 named "T333T", creating three new mascots in addition to the Noppon Brothers. An official shop for T333T operates from the second floor of Foot Town, so be sure to check it out for souvenirs!

Places to Visit in & Around Tokyo Tower

Foot Town

The venue built alongside Tokyo Tower, containing restaurants, shops, a theme park and aquarium, is called "Foot Town". Make sure you stop by here during your trip to Tokyo Tower!

One Piece Tower (Closed as of July 31st, 2020)

A must-visit for One Piece fans! One Piece is Japan’s top selling comic series, with over 416 million copies sold worldwide. This is Japan’s only One Piece themed amusement park, and has One Piece themed rides, cafes and shops where you can purchase limited One Piece Tower goods.
(Location: Foot Town Floors 4 & 5)

Tokyo Tower Aquarium


Tokyo Tower Aquarium Entrance

At the Tokyo Tower Aquarium, you can meet over 50,000 fish of 900 different species, most of them freshwater fish. The fish come from all over the world, such as North and South America, Oceania and Africa. Aside from the tropical fish, there is a Japanese Garden where you can experience feeding koi fish.
(Location: Foot Town Floor 1)

Nigao-e Street

On Nigao-e Street, literally “Portrait Street”, a number of artists await to draw your caricatures. Each of the many artists have their own drawing style, so you can find and choose an artist of your choice. A single portrait takes approximately 10~15 minutes.
(Location: Foot Town Floor 2)

【Caricature paintings】

Artist Group: Team Towers
Time: 10~15 minutes / person
Price: ¥2,000~ (options available)

Artist Group: Manga Kyoudan
Time: 5~10 minutes / person
Price: ¥1,500 with color

Events at Tokyo Tower

Milky Way Illumination (June - September)

Tokyo Tower Milky Way Illumination

Tokyo Tower Milky Way Illumination

Illuminations and light shows are typically held in the winter, but Tokyo Tower has a running Milky Way during the summer too. This illumination is made upon the concept of a "milky way flowing through the starry sky". Many people visit this illumination event in their summer yukata, as summer is also the season for Tanabata and other summer festivities. The Milky Way Illumination is held from mid-June to mid-September.


Tokyo Tower Summer Light Fantasia

Tokyo Tower Summer Light Fantasia

Tokyo Tower Summer Light Fantasia is a light-up that uses projection mapping, and the theme of the show changes every year. The collaboration between cutting-edge projection technology and Tokyo's urban night view is a things of beauty! This even is held between mid-June and mid-September.

CITY LIGHT FANTASIA (November - January)

This event is the winter version of SUMMER LIGHT FANTASIA. This event incorporates more winter-catered themes, and the "Future Tokyo Tower" and "night cherry blossom" shows give a real sense of seasonality. This event is held between January and April.

Climb Tokyo Tower with the Stairs! (Year-round)

Tokyo Tower's Stairs

Tokyo Tower's stairs

During weekends and holidays, the stairs that climb Tokyo Tower are open to the public. The climb up to the observation deck is 600 steps in total. Those who complete the climb are awarded with special Noppon Brothers merchandise! This event is held every weekend and on national holidays, and can be attempted at no additional cost to the standard admission fee. (Closed on rainy days)

【Related Article】
Read more about the climb up Tokyo Tower↓↓
Climbing up Tokyo Tower's Staircase Challenge! 600 Steps to the Observation Deck

Tokyo < Tokyo Tower area

Tokyo Tower stairs

Climbing up Tokyo Tower's Staircase Challenge! 600 Steps to the Observation Deck You can climb Tokyo Tower by foot, with the 600-step staircase to the observation deck. The deck offers an astounding view of Tokyo's skyline, and sometimes even Mount Fuji! Join us as we take on Tokyo Tower's staircase challenge

Theme Parks

Access to Tokyo Tower

Nearest station: Akabanebashi Station (Toei Oedo Line E20)

From Shinjuku Station

【Shinjuku Sta.】Toei Oedo Line / for Tochomae
→【Akabanebashi Sta.】about a 5-minute walk from the Akabanebashi Exit

From Tokyo Station

【Tokyo Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Shinagawa
→【Hamamatsucho/Daimon Sta.】Toei Oedo Line / for Hikarigaoka
→ 【Akabanebashi Sta.】about a 5-minute walk from the Akabanebashi Exit

From Narita Airport

【Narita Airport Sta.】Skyliner / for Keisei Ueno
→【Nippori Sta.】JR Yamanote Line / for Ueno
→【Hamamatsucho/Daimon Sta.】Toei Oedo Line / for Hikarigaoka
→【Akabanebashi Sta.】about a 5-minute walk from the Akabanebashi Exit

From Haneda Airport

【Haneda Airport Sta.】Tokyo Monorail / for Hamamatsucho
→【Hamamatsucho/Daimon Sta.】Toei Oedo Line / for Hikarigaoka
→ 【Akabanebashi Sta.】about a 5-minute walk from the Akabanebashi Exit

Other Destinations near Tokyo Tower

The area around Tokyo Tower has many landmarks that convey the area's nature and history, such as Zojoji Temple and Shiba Park. Why not stop by during your visit to Tokyo Tower?

【Related Article】
Read more about Zojoji Temple:
Zojoji Temple: The 600 year-old Temple Under Tokyo Tower

Tokyo < Tokyo Tower area

Zojoji Temple Tokyo Tower Night view

Zojoji Temple: The 600 year-old Temple Under Tokyo Tower Zojoji Temple at the foot of Tokyo Tower, is next to Shiba Park in Tokyo's Minato Ward. The temple has over 600 years of history and entombs the Tokugawa Shogunate family. This guide takes you through Zojoji Temple's long history & must-see sights.

Shrines & Temples