The Tokyo Skytree, twice as tall as the Eiffel Tower, and its surrounding retail and office complex opens today to an estimated 200,000 visitors.
Developer Tobu Railway Co., which expects the project to draw 32 million visitors in its first year, will hold an opening ceremony at 9:15 a.m. local time to be attended by Yoshizumi Nezu, president of the railway and retail group, and Noboru Yamazaki, mayor of Tokyo’s Sumida City ward.
The 634-meter (2,080 feet) structure in eastern Tokyo is surrounded by more than 300 shops and restaurants, a planetarium and an aquarium. The Skytree, opening about a year after a temblor and tsunami devastated parts of northern Japan, stands on three legs with a central column in the style of a pagoda to make it more earthquake-resistant.
Tokyo Skytree, which took four years to build, surpasses the 600-meter Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China, as the world’s tallest, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Dubai’s 828-meter Burj Khalifa is the tallest building, according to the council.
The tower, which cost 65 billion yen ($820 million) on its own, has two observation decks, one at 350 meters and another at 450 meters. A trip to the lower deck will cost 2,000 yen. Visits up the tower are fully booked through July 11, said Kenji Aoyagi, a Tobu spokesman.
Six TV stations, including state-owned NHK, will start using the Skytree for transmissions next year. The tower’s steel frame changes from a triangle at the base to a circle at the top, and its curves and arches reflect a traditional Samurai sword, according to Tobu, the third biggest train operator by ticket sales in Tokyo and surrounding cities.
Tobu, which also operates buses, hotels, shopping centers, department stores, golf courses and sports clubs, rose 1.6 percent to 386 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo yesterday. It’s jumped 25 percent in the past year, compared with a 12 percent decline for the benchmark Topix Index.
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