I’m terrified of heights – always have been. So when we made plans to see Tokyo from the top of Tokyo Tower and from the Tokyo City View sky deck in one day, I prepared myself for a day of anxiety attacks and probably shitting myself. After all, Tokyo Tower had a view from 820 ft (or 250 metres) (or 76 storeys), and a glass floor where you can look down at your own plunging death. And the sky deck was an outdoor observation deck on the roof of the building, at 270 metres tall (or 81 storeys) (or 885 feet) (conversions suck). So I braced myself, and we made our way to Tower Wednesday. Not as zippy as Tower Tuesday, but we had other plans on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, we chose a day with the perfect weather – rainy, windy, heavy cloud cover. We also happened to be visiting Tokyo during what seemed to be Rennovations Month — at least one aspect of every thing we visited seemed to be closed down to renovations or repairs. And unsurprisingly, the special observation deck from 250m at the Tokyo Tower was closed, so we had to settle for 150m. As we took the elevator up past the 50th floor, my ears popped and my stomach dropped. It was raining, and the cloud cover disrupted the views so we couldn’t see Mt. Fuji, but it was still an awesome sight. And I didn’t faint.
After Tokyo Tower, we braved the exceedingly annoying mist rain and saw the Zojoji Temple, where I had a significant zen experience. This temple was mostly destroyed during World War II and has been rebuilt over the years. It was massive and incredibly beautiful, and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get a photo of the main gate, which had withstood weather, earthquakes, fires, firebombs…
After the temple, we made our way to the Tsukiji Fish Market.
The fish market is huge – it spans over the entire dock and is full of vendors selling fish and sushi. But, falling in line with the trip, it was closed due to weather. This area is usually crawling with people, and they ban rolling suitcases and strollers because they take up too much room. But on this day, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
We were disappointed (and I was getting hangry), and we were recalibrating our plans when we turned a corner and found another, smaller fish market, more like Fish City. It was a sea of people and shops and restaurants and seafood carts in some of the grundgiest alley ways ever.
The rest of the day was seeing sights and killing time around Roppongi Hills until we could watch the sun set from the Tokyo City View.
We kicked around town until closer until dusk, and made our way to the sky deck, where – shocker – it was closed due to rain and wind. WOMP WOMP. But we were still able to see the sunset from the observation floor, which was just as good. The observation floor was basically a circular hallway with floor to ceiling windows that wrapped around the entire hallway. I was looking forward to facing my fears of being on a skyscraper rooftop, but ultimately with the wind and rain I was happy to be enclosed… and not swept away to my splattery death. As a result, it was insanely crowded, and all the benches in front of the windows were taken. But we camped out behind a couple who did score seats, and after an hour or so they left, and then we had seats. #commitment
Don’t mind all the window glare, but enjoy a cloudy, rainy Tokyo sunset in 10-15 minute increments.
Watching the lights come on slowly over the city was magical – not even gonna lie. And I didn’t feel like I was going to die – except for that part at the very end where I thought “What would happen if we had another earthquake while we were up here?” and it just so happened that at that moment, Joel was kneeling in front of a huge window, taking a photo. I felt the hallway we were standing in expand all around me and the ground start to shake. At that point, I called it quits.
Overall, a fantastic day. A bit rainy, a bit closed due to weather, and a bit anxiety inducing. But, I didn’t die.
And that’s always a plus.