I was a little worried about the weather on the day we were headed for Tokyo Sky Tree — tsuyu (the Japanese rainy season) is definitely not a good time to visit. However, the weather cooperated just a teeny bit by slowly clearing up as the afternoon progressed.
Tokyo Sky Tree is a broadcasting tower in Sumida-ku, outfitted with observation decks and other leisure facilities. It is the tallest structure in Japan at 634 metres (or mu-sa-shi in Japanese), and is the second tallest structure in the world after the Burj Khalifa.
There are two paid observation decks: the Tembo Deck at 350 metres, and the Tembo Galleria at 450 metres. At both decks you have a 360 degree view of Tokyo that extends towards Mount Fuji on clearer days. Here you can have souvenir photos taken with both panoramic and glass floor (!!!) views of Tokyo below.
Besides the Tower itself, there are plenty of shops and restaurants to part you from your hard-earned cash. Tokyo Solamachi is a leisure and retail space that is home to a Hello Kitty boutique, a Medicom outlet for Bearbrick and RAH collectors, and a Donguri Kyowakoku (literally Acorn Republic) for you Studio Ghibli fans.
There is even an animatronic sleeping Totoro on the premises!
Since Sky Tree and Asakusa were on the same train line, we decided to make a quick stop there as well. As usual, the place is packed with tourists, but what’s a trip to Asakusa if you’re not surrounded by tour groups, tacky souvenirs, and the smell of freshly-based ningyoyaki?
Asakusa Sensoji is famous for supposedly helping students taking school entrance examinations to make it into the institution of their choice — whether it is university, high school, middle school, grade school, even daycare! Business is brisk at Sensoji for o-mamori or protective talisman sales, especially the “victory”- and “success”-related ones.
Protip: if you’re not dead on your feet yet, it’s a good idea to pop by Ryugoku for dinner. Take the Suijo Bus ferry from Asakusa to Ryogoku for around JPY 300 (so you don’t have to keep switching train lines). From there just walk to the Ryogoku JR Station, and choose one of the many chanko nabe (sumo hotpot) restaurants crowding the area. Cheap, delicious, and filling!