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Sightseeing Spots to Enjoy TOKYO SKYTREE and Art

Launched in 2008, the project for construction of TOKYO SKYTREE was completed in February 2012, and very soon the tower will begin operation. With a height of approximately 634m, TOKYO SKYTREE soars above an area of downtown Tokyo known as shitamachi, where various art projects and exhibitions are scheduled to take place to commemorate its opening. This issue of Tokyo Art Navigation presents spots in the shitamachi area, where visitors can enjoy art against the backdrop of the magnificent view of TOKYO SKYTREE.

 The birth of a new landmark on the east bank of Sumida River

Scheduled to launch operations on May 22, TOKYO SKYTREE is a free-standing broadcasting tower erected with the objective of relaying digital terrestrial television  and radio broadcast signals. State-of-the art technology was applied in the construction of the tower. It is an equilateral triangle at the base, which gradually rounds to a circle midway up the tower. There are two observatories, one 350m above ground and another 450m above ground, which offer a 360 degree panoramic view of the Kanto area. (In the period from the opening of the tower on May 22 through July 10, visitors will access the First Observatory by advance reservation only with date-specified tickets, and same-date tickets will not be available.)

On April 20, a new facility will open doors in Asakusa, on the opposite bank of Sumida River – the Asakusa Culture Tourism Center, designed by the renowned architect Kengo Kuma. Its exterior evokes the image of several traditional Japanese one-story houses stacked on top of each other. The concept behind the design is “Architecture that gives a third dimension to the ambience of downtown Tokyo.” The building sits directly opposite Kaminari-mon, the gate which leads to Sensoji Temple, and its 8th floor observation terrace offers a splendid view of TOKYO SKYTREE. The exhibition space on the 7th floor provides visitors with an opportunity to browse through materials about Asakusa. Make sure to visit the Asakusa Culture Tourism Center as it is not simply an excellent source of sightseeing information but also an outstanding architectural landmark and a place to experience the culture of Asakusa.

 New art spots spring up in downtown Tokyo

From the GEIDAI TAITO SUMIDA Sightseeing Art Project

From the GEIDAI TAITO SUMIDA Sightseeing Art Project

From the GEIDAI TAITO SUMIDA Sightseeing Art Project (in Japanese)

A handful of new art spots have sprung up around downtown Tokyo as the TOKYO SKYTREE prepares for its opening. In the GEIDAI TAITO SUMIDA Sightseeing Art Project, a joint undertaking of the Tokyo University of the Arts, Taito-ku, and Sumida-ku, environmental artworks are being created on both banks of Sumida River, along the section that links TOKYO SKYTREE with Asakusa. Presently, four works are installed permanently as part of the project. Students of the Tokyo University of the Arts participate in the creation work, and, going forward, art objects will be installed at Hanakawado Park, Sumida Park, and Kototoibashi Kitazume along the Sumida River in Taito-ku, as well as Koume Kids Park and Oyokogawa River Park in Sumida-ku, bringing the number of artworks created through March 2013 to 12. A tour of these works, which promise to enchant you with the view of TOKYO SKYTREE, may help you discover the fascinating ambience of downtown Tokyo.




The Shioiri Tower is an artwork created as part of TADASHI KAWAMATA TOKYO IN PROGRESS, a joint project of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Culture Creation Project, and the Center for Interlocal Art Network (CIAN). The tower was completed last year on the grounds of Shioiri Park in Arakawa-ku and will stay there until March 2014. In this project, artist Tadashi Kawamata constructs wooden structures from which to observe a changing Tokyo at three vantage points along Sumida River that offer a view of TOKYO SKYTREE. The purpose of the project is to give visitors an opportunity to reexamine the city of Tokyo through the view from each tower, and the artworks are created through collaboration with local communities. Tsukuda Terrace, the second structure in the series, was completed on March 20 at the Place de Paris in Ishikawajima Park (Chuo-ku), giving visitors a chance to compare the views from the two landmarks in the project.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku is currently hosting the special exhibition “The History of Towers.” The exhibition focuses on the three famous tower landmarks constructed in Tokyo, Osaka and Paris from the 19th to 20th centuries. While tracing the history of these towers through woodblock prints, multi-colored prints and photographs, the exhibition examines from a variety of angles the significance of towers built in the modern city and their functions. The museum will host the exhibition until May 6, so take advantage of this enjoyable opportunity to learn about the history of urban towers before the opening of TOKYO SKYTREE.

This section will pick out various parts of Tokyo to shed light on the area’s characteristics, historical background, and community-based art activities.