All About Japan

Trek up Tokyo Tower—Only 600 Steps!

Observation Deck Tokyo Greater Tokyo

Photos adorning the covers of Tokyo guide books these days have mostly all become pictures of the Tokyo Skytree. But Tokyo Tower, constructed in the Showa Period (1926-1989) has a special place in Japanese hearts, with its elegant form and warm illumination. But did you know that you could climb it?

For several decades, Tokyo Tower was the symbol of tourism in Tokyo. Although it passed the torch to Tokyo Skytree in 2011, we're forever captivated by the sparkling beauty of Tokyo Tower, which can be easily spotted aboard the monorail headed from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho Station, or walking the streets of Minato Ward. There are certainly lots of people with very fond memories of Tokyo Tower.

One fascinating feature of Tokyo Tower: you don’t need to use the crowded elevators to get to the observatory. The stairs are open, so you can climb to the top by yourself. Even for those climbing the tower by foot, a ticket is needed, so please purchase one at the ticket counter prior to ascending.

The entrance to the stairway is on the top floor of "Foot Town," where the tower's shops are housed. The entrance fee is the same whether you use the elevator or opt to climb. Since there's no time limit, be sure to keep a steady pace and enjoy the scenery as you go.

The wonderful view from the center of the tower improves as you climb higher and higher, especially with the solid red steel construction in the foreground. Rising air from the ground below and off Tokyo Bay adds a pleasant atmosphere to your workout. If you keep yourself in shape it'll be an easy climb, but you'll likely be short of breath around the 200-step mark.

On the landings and stairs, there are Noppon (Tokyo Tower's yurukyara) bulletin boards with quizzes, information and the amount of calories burned along the way. You'll improve your health while enjoying the wonderful distraction of these guides.

When you arrive at the observatory, you'll receive an official stair completion certificate from Noppon. The stairs are only open on Saturdays, Sundays an public holidays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. When there are a lot of customers, they'll remain open until 7 p.m. to hand out certificates.

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