Japan 2014: Tokyo SkyTree & Solamachi

When I was in Japan in 2011 I saw the Tokyo SkyTree standing in its full glory (634 metres), but it didn’t open until May 2012, more than a year after I had left Japan. I love a tall tower with a good view, so I knew I would have to visit the SkyTree on my return to Japan this year.

Tokyo SkyTree

Woah…

I made the decision to go on my first day in Japan, Sunday May 11th, despite my jet-lag. I’m glad I did as, had I left it to the end of my trip I would have been disappointed by the misty weather. It was a beautiful, hot day, which of course meant the crowds were out. I had heard about the queues for the SkyTree, but two years after its opening I hadn’t expected it to still be quite so popular! I arrived in the early afternoon, and had to wait until after 5pm for my entrance slot. I actually didn’t mind though, as I wanted some time to explore Solamachi – Sky Town.

Solamachi is the massive shopping area around the SkyTree. It’s like a giant mall, with shops selling everything from clothes to souvenirs, accessories to character goods. There are restaurants and cafes too, of course, and the whole place was absolutely teeming with people.

The two shops I absolutely had to visit were the Studio Ghibli shop and the Rilakkuma Store. I found the Ghibli shop first…

Ghibli Store at Soramcahi (Tokyo SkyTree)

どんぐり (Donguri) the Studio Ghibli shop at Solamachi

Ghibli Store at Soramcahi (Tokyo SkyTree)

Totoro!

The store was very crowded, but really cool! I wanted to buy everything of course, but as I had only just arrived I felt I should exercise a little restraint, and just treated myself to this cute Kiki’s Delivery Service headband to use after I have washed my hair.

Kiki's Delivery Service bow headband

Kiki’s Delivery Service bow headband – kawaii!

Next to the Rilakkuma Store! There are only a few Rilakkuma Stores in Japan, and they sell exclusive goods you can only get in the stores.

Rilakkuma Store at Soramachi (Tokyo SkyTree)

Rilakkuma Store at Solamachi

Rilakkuma Store at Soramachi (Tokyo SkyTree)

Rilakkuma Store at Solamachi

Rilakkuma Store at Soramachi (Tokyo SkyTree)

Rilakkuma Store at Solamachi

I had seen online that a Rilakkuma range based on the Yamanote Line (one of Tokyo’s train lines) had been released, and I had to buy something from the range! I got this adorable Rilakkuma in Yamanote Line uniform. The attention to detail is incredible!

Yamanote Line Rilakkuma

Yamanote Line Rilakkuma – too cute!

I also found this cute cloth bag, which is a SkyTree exclusive.

Rilakkuma bag

Rilakkuma SkyTree bag

Rilakkuma bag

Rilakkuma SkyTree bag – close-up

I still had some time to kill before my SkyTree timeslot, so I headed to Starbucks for my first Matcha Frappuccino of the trip. 😀

Starbucks Matcha Frappuccino

Starbucks Matcha Frappuccino – the first one in 3 years and it tasted GOOD!

Finally it was time to enter the SkyTree, and even then I had to queue for quite a while, but there were moving images of giant sushi in Tokyo to keep the crowds entertained…

Tokyo SkyTree

Giant sushi taking over Tokyo…

The SkyTree has two levels – the Tembo Deck (350m) and Tembo Galleria (450m). Despite it seeming incredibly expensive (¥2,060 for the Tembo Deck and a further ¥1,030 for the Tembo Galleria), I decided to see everything, and it was worth it! I mean, you can’t exactly visit the world’s tallest tower and not go to the highest point, can you?

The lift that takes you to the first level reaches a top speed of an incredible 600 metres per minute, and takes you to the Tembo Deck in just 50 seconds. Once up the tower, the view was stunning.

Tokyo SkyTree

This beautiful city, Tokyo…

Tokyo SkyTree

Looking down on Asakusa

Tokyo SkyTree

The Arakawa River

Tokyo SkyTree

I sometimes forget how close Tokyo is to the sea…

The sun was starting to set…

Tokyo SkyTree

Sarue Onshi Park, with Tokyo Gate Bridge in the background

Tokyo SkyTree

I think this is Yokohama…

Tokyo SkyTree

Tokyo Tower – a mere 333 metres tall

Tokyo SkyTree

Tokyo starts twinkling at night…

Tokyo SkyTree

No chance of spotting Mount Fuji now…

Tokyo SkyTree

Sunset…

What a perfect end to my first day back in Japan!

Tokyo SkyTree

Goodnight Tokyo SkyTree

11 thoughts on “Japan 2014: Tokyo SkyTree & Solamachi

  1. Wow, your photos are so beautiful! And YAYYY so cool that not only you got to visit the Skytree Rilakkuma Store, but you bought such cool stuff, too! The Yamanote Line collection is really one of my favorites, especially with all the nifty details!

    Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

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  2. We visited the SkyTree last January when we were in Tokyo. There is an amazing array of shops around the famous landmark and it is certainly a place where you could easily spend a day exploring.

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  3. Hi! nice blog, Is Solamachi can easily be found in Tokyo Sky Tree Area? and may I ask where exactly is the Rilakkuma Store in Solamachi? in which floor? is it easy to find? sorry so many questions…thank you 🙂

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