Visible from all over the city, Tokyo Skytree has overtaken Tokyo Tower as the new symbol of the capital. A trip to the top gives you sweeping views of the metropolis and beyond; in good weather you can spot Mount Fuji looming on the horizon. Surrounded by the modern shopping complex Tokyo Solamachi, the retro shopping streets of Shitamachi Ninjo Kirakira Tachibana Shotengai, and a number of interesting and interactive museums, the Tokyo Skytree area is much more than just the tower.
For direct access to the Skytree, take the Tobu Skytree Line to Tokyo Skytree Station. You can also get to the area from Oshiage Station on Tokyo Metro's Hanzomon Line.
From Haneda Airport: Around one hour by shuttle bus (Skytree Shuttle) or one hour five minutes by train.
From Narita Airport: Around 90 minutes by train.
From Shinjuku Station: Around 45 minutes to Tokyo Skytree Station.
From Tokyo Station: Around 35 minutes to Tokyo Skytree Station.
Scraping the sky at 634 meters, Tokyo Skytree is visible from all over the city. When evening comes, the tower lights up in in one of three colors, traditional Edo purple, gold or baby blue. Although impressive from below, the truly spectacular scenes come from above. Take the elevator to one of the two observation platforms for a bird's-eye view of the city. Located at 350 meters and 450 meters, respectively, the sky decks give you views out to the horizon and their glass floor sections give you views straight down—not for the faint-hearted. For high-life entertainment after dark, head to the Skytree Round Theater, which mixes up the night view with project mapping. If you are unlucky with the weather, put on one of the virtual reality headsets.
Once you come down from the lofty heights of the Tokyo Skytree observation decks, explore the entertainment options at ground level in Tokyo Solamachi—over 300 shops and restaurants featuring modern fashion, accessories, established Japanese brands and a wide range of original souvenirs. If you're a fan of Japanese characters, you'll find all your favorites here. Drop into the Studio Ghibli, Pokemon, Hello Kitty and Ultraman stores for limited-edition items. For snacks on the go, pick up some traditional Japanese sweets, or sit down to some seriously sumptuous Japanese cuisine. You can also choose from eel, tempura and monja-yaki—a made-in-Tokyo savory pancake with meat and vegetables. Finish off your day of sky-high adventure with a walk through the jellyfish tunnel at Sumida Aquarium and lie back and see the stars at the Konica Minolta Planetarium.
While Tokyo Skytree and Tokyo Solamachi might be gleaming examples of modern Japan, their location in the old shitamachi downtown area of Tokyo means the surrounding landscape is one of retro charm and prewar nostalgia. Wander down the shopping street of Shitamachi Ninjo Kirakira Tachibana Shotengai and browse some of the 90 shops, many selling food-related products. Expect an extra level of bustle if you are here on the fourth Sunday of the month, since the popular morning market draws large crowds. Continue your trip back in time with a visit to the Tobu Museum of Transport and Culture. See the collection of steam locomotives and buses up close, and even get a feel for driving one in the train and bus simulator. For a different museum experience all together, drop by the Tobacco and Salt Museum. The audio guide will give you a detailed insight into the history of these two products which have been at the heart of human culture for centuries.