1. Tokyo Tower serves a dual purpose
Tokyo Tower is located in the Shiba-koen district of Minato City in Tokyo, Japan. This district is located just southwest of the historical center of the massive Tokyo metropolis.
The tower serves a dual purpose as it’s both a communication tower with a massive antenna and an observation tower that provides amazing views from its observation decks.
It’s really located right in the middle of the urban jungle that Tokyo really is.
2. It was inspired by the most famous tower in the world
If you take a close look at the tower, you don’t really have to think too much as to which tower was the inspiration for it. Obviously, the Tokyo Tower closely resembles the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Renowned Japanese architect Tachū Naitō admitted he looked at the Western World to find inspiration, so he decided to simply look at the most famous tower in the world.
Not a bad idea, don’t you think?
3. It’s the second-tallest structure in Japan
With a height of 332.9 meters (1,092 ft), the tower is the second-tallest structure in Japan. The only taller structure in the country is a similar tower in Tokyo called the Tokyo Skytree, which topped out in March 2011.
This tower is almost double the height of Tokyo Tower with a height of 634 meters (2,080 feet) which makes it the tallest tower in the world as well.
4. It was completed in the year 1958
The NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, started broadcasting in the year 1953. So to provide a good signal in the entire Kantō region, a tall broadcasting tower was needed.
At the same time, the government wanted to build an iconic symbol for Japan to represent its booming economy and infrastructure after the war in the 1950s.
Construction of the tower started in June 1957 and it was completed just a year later on December 23, 1958.
5. It was supposed to become the tallest structure in the world
One of the most interesting facts about Tokyo Tower is that the original plan of Hisakichi Maeda, the founder, and president of the company operating the tower, was to create a structure that was taller than the Empire State Building, one of the most famous skyscrapers in New York City.
Since the Empire State Building was the tallest in the world at the time, this would have given this title to the Tokyo Tower.
Because of budget restraints and the lack of proper materials, this plan was shelved and the height was instead determined by the distance that the TV stations needed to provide a good signal throughout the Kantō region.
6. A third of its steel is unintentionally American-made
One of the most fascinating facts about the Tokyo Tower is that about one-third of the steel used to construct the tower was American-made. And no, they didn’t place large orders for American steel factories to acquire it!
What they did instead was to melt down American tanks that were left behind during the Korean War in the early 1950s.
This kind of means that the tower is partially American-made! Pretty astonishing, isn’t it?
7. It was built to sustain extreme natural calamities
Tachū Naitō was a very prolific engineer and constructed the tower in such a way that it would be able to sustain severe calamities, which are unfortunately pretty common in Japan.
He claimed that it would be able to sustain earthquakes with twice the intensity of the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9, and typhoons with wind speeds of up to 220 kilometers per hour (140 mph).
That sounds more than solid enough!
8. It’s much lighter than the Eiffel Tower
When the tower’s massive 90-meter tall antenna was installed on top of it, it became the tallest freestanding tower in the world, slightly surpassing the tower it was inspired on, the Eiffel Tower.
One of the most peculiar facts about Tokyo Tower is that regardless of it being taller, it weighs significantly less than its counterpart in Paris.
It only weighs about 4,000 tonnes, which is about 3,300 tonnes less than the Eiffel Tower.
9. The tower has two observation decks
Apart from serving as a broadcasting tower, the tower’s most prominent feature is its observation decks.
The first deck is located at a height of 150 meters (490 feet) and is called the Main Deck. The Top Deck is located at a height of 249.6 meters (819 feet).
Needless to say that the Top Deck offers astounding views of the city of Tokyo!
10. Millions of people visit the tower every year
The tower is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Since its completion, it has been visited by over 150 million (!) people and at the moment it receives about 3 million yearly visitors.
Apart from its observation deck, there’s also a tourist attraction called “Foot Town” which is located right at the foot of the tower, as well as a Tokyo One Piece Tower amusement park based on the popular manga show.
11. It sometimes has different lighting for special events
It turns, for example, pink on October 1 to support the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and has fitting lights during the Christmas period.
Apart from that, the tower is obviously world-famous for its white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations at the time of completion.
The tower is painted once every 5 years and it takes 1 year to complete the job!
12. Tokyo Tower is the ultimate symbol of the city
It’s fair to conclude that one of the reasons that such an iconic tower was built, to become a symbol of Tokyo and all of Japan, has succeeded.
Tokyo Tower is often featured in popular culture and is associated with the city in the same way that the Eiffel Tower is associated with Paris.
Therefore, Tokyo Tower has become an absolute icon of the city!