Can the Tokyo Tower Entertain Two Teenagers, A Driver, A Mom and a Senior Citizen?

Every visitor to Tokyo shares a common experience when driving in the from the airport. The driver will point out the Tokyo Tower:

The appropriate response is not, “Who cares?” but “Fascinating radio tower! Just how tall is it?”

The Tokyo Tower will then wink at you from around every corner to which your host will turn to you and say,”There’s the Tokyo Tower!” as if it were the spot housing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.



As many of you know, my mother is in town.  Nicknamed “Thin Lips” for the ability to compress both lips in to one thin line producing a pure evil expression usually directed at Sister 3, the Tourist. Yesterday we had an afternoon to fill, so after 9 months of avoidance, we headed toward the Tower of Tedium.

Unlike other famous viewing spots, the Seattle Space Needle for instance, the view from the deck is similar to the view from the ground- lots of squares. Although I did find the grassy patch on top of the building in the foreground of interest.

As if the management sent out a broadcast in anticipation of our arrival, several holes were cut in the viewing deck for the entertainment of the Clampitts. We started slowly by taking pictures of the parking lot below.

Then we stepped on the glass.

Then “someone” had to jump on the glass to test the safety….

This went on for several minutes as we jumped, laid, and ran over the glass. Until Andretti-san got carried away and was asked to stop by the manager. Next time he’ll have to remain in the car if he can’t control himself.

We were elated to discover that for an additional 2400 yen another elevator would lift us even higher for what would certainly be more fun and an even stellar view. We clamored aboard the elevator where a woman’s voice warned us that the ominous, never before heard sounds we were hearing were “nothing to fear, but just the every day, normal creaking sounds of the elevator. ” We pushed each other out of the way getting to the windows, pressed our noses, hands and mouths against the glass in anticipation of the untold mysteries yet to behold from above, and were met with this:

From a higher vantage point. The patch of grass on the roof was about the same size.

We turned tail for the elevator headed in the direction to the Tower’s myriad of attractions on the 4 lower levels. Back down the world’s creakiest elevator listening again to the woman informing us not to fear, which is scary in itself. How about greasing that thing with a good dose of WD-40? I mean, these guys wash the windows… Luckily for this man, I intervened as Andretti-san and the Offspring were headed over to shake the ladder.

In a generous mood, I opted for the “Combination Ticket” which bought entry in to Nippon’s Playland, the Wax Museum, and Nippon’s Magical Dungeon. We didn’t have time for the aquarium.

Only the Japanese can build a Magical Dungeon which can keep Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese speaking children, 2 teenagers, a Senior citizen and 2 adults entertained. It took all of us to get out of the jail in which we eventually found ourselves. Hint- one of the bars is rubber. Don’t panic when your purse gets caught, one of the nice ladies will remove it once the screaming hits a certain decibel.

The entertainment in the wax museum involved identifying the celebrities. Elizabeth Taylor and Planet of the Apes were recognizable due to the costumes, but who is the woman with the top hat?

I think Hannibal Lector snacked on Madame Tussaud’s Jodie Foster below…
There were a few dead give aways:

My favorite was this famous wax bust:

In an attempt to cover all target audience bases, a “haunted house” was included. I preferred my last experience at the 4-D theater in the Camden Aquarium being spat upon and rocked in my seat by Sponge Bob Square Pants to this jiggly 60’s version which left me nauseous from blurred vision.

No amount of cajoling in either language would convince the uniform clad ticket clerk to sell one of the masks. Perhaps she knew I had plans to re-enter the Magical Dungeon as the “Jailed Avenger.” Maybe that would’ve only been funny to me.

A uniquely Japanese experience, all attractions in Japan have a themed cartoon character. Please meet the Younger of the two Noppon brothers. We spent much of the day discussing two things: What exactly ARE the Noppon brothers and who is Noppon?

We did leave with a few souvenirs to place in critical locations around our home for an authentic Tokyo feel:

Bottle of Water

I feel obligated to include at least one fact in this post. Like a radio dial, the Tokyo Tower is divided in to sections based on frequency.

I have another one- the lightening rod developed a lilt during the March 11th earthquake:

Unfortunately, the Tokyo Tower will be usurped in popularity on the skyline tour at the end of 2012 by a new baby sister- the Sky Tree.

But I can’t imagine the prestigious and snotty Sky Tree will hold our attention like the Tokyo Tower with the beautiful kimono’d women gazing out the windows:

or the artistically displayed souvenirs:

No- these are things magic is made of- Bring it on Sky Tree. The Tokyo Tower will be hard to beat and is a definite stop on the Clampitt Tokyo Tour.

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136 Responses to Can the Tokyo Tower Entertain Two Teenagers, A Driver, A Mom and a Senior Citizen?

  1. Sounds like a fun-filled day! (Though if my mother were visiting it might not be exactly that.)

  2. Ashley says:

    lol, this is hilariious! Will certainly keep in mind if we ever end up going to Tokyo Tower… (which I’m not sure will ever actually happen… ;) )

    • amblerangel says:

      You should- if for no other reason than there’s a Baskin Robbins, Ramin shop, One of those WONDERFUL waffle places with the ice cream on top, AND an espresso place…. it’s a huge bang for your tourist buck!!!

  3. Tokyo Tower >>>>>>>>>>>> Sky Tree. It costs freaking 3000yen to even go inside the stupid thing. And it’s ugly.

    • amblerangel says:

      I heard that it was pricey! Unless there’s an aquarium, 4 restaurants, windows for me to jump on, a wax museum, a dinosaur exhibit, a 3D movie, a Guiness Book of World Records Hall, a Magical Dungeon, A Magical Kingdom, and 4 Gift Shops I’m not going…..Just saying….

  4. jacquelincangro says:

    The Tokyo Tower looks a bit like it belongs in Las Vegas! In Vegas they’d have a death defying ride at the top and a black jack table at the observation deck. Hmm…that gives me a few ideas.

  5. The Nose says:

    My favorite part of the post was matching the toes to their owners!! Ouisers looks like they have been training for a marathon, not a series of 10 10K’s in a row. Offspring #2 don’t seem to mind last years track season. Thin Lips’ are perfectly manicured and not even swollen yet. Are you SURE you are really making her walk around Tokyo?? Better up the salt in her diet quickly. You won’t have to take me to Tokyo Tower because I will be clutching the nearest steel beam bolted into the ground. Furthermore, creaky elevators with warnings playing on a loop give me panic attacks. On the other hand, I will probably eat and Nap as much as Thin Lips does. Miss Ya’ll!!

    • amblerangel says:

      OF#2 reminds me daily to put the red toe nail polish on as it covers up a multitude of toe sins… am having to wear closed toed shoes as the feet conscious Japanese will be horrified today as we set out for the shrine at Akasuka.

  6. Are they selling chips on the top of it ? they do at the Eiffel tower. My son and I went up using stairs ( the elevators were not working for some reason) all the way up and he decides that he would like a snack on top of the Eiffel tower…….. And what does he get – American potato chips……..

    • amblerangel says:

      No way! The snack of champions… The only way I would go to the top of any of these places without an elevator is repelling- about two stories up. You’re a saint in my book- for the stairs and the chips…

  7. Fio says:

    Great post, as usual! Me here with the 11 y.o. and the 16 y.o…. we leave for Kyoto on Sat, arrive Sunday, then depart from Kyoto the following Sunday. We will do a ‘day trip’ to Tokyo, seems this Tokyo Tower will deliver a lot of teenagy entertainment!!! We’ll have to check it out. I really need to get a blog going so I can share. I’m making a list of your recommended places…… I was going to print your guides, including where you dress in the appropiate period dress (!), but that’s a lot of pages heehe, a list will have to do!

  8. genn says:

    love this post!

    we walked to the tokyo tower a couple years back when we visited and bunked with a friend who stayed beside kamiyacho eki. if not for the close proximity to the tower, i doubt we would ever have made the trip. it’s interesting though, when the tower is lit up in festive colours. last year we were freezing our butts out watching the christmas colour display of the tower at roppongi hills. felt a little under-whelmed after it ended, not to mention very cold.

  9. Wow, that’s one busy tower! Re: lady with the top hat. My guess is either a local South African cabaret artist (although she’s probably not known in Japan – or anywhere else really!) or Marlene Dietrich.

    Was also trying to figure out who the toes all belonged to. Thanks to The Nose for the explanation.

    • amblerangel says:

      You’re right- that’s exactly who that is- It isn’t Madonna because she was somewhere else. Yes- thanks to the Nose for pointing out what I was hoping I could pawn off on someone else….

  10. That Tokyo Tower gets around. It’s supposed to look like the Eiffel Tower, right? Only not quite as good, right?

  11. Tori Nelson says:

    The Noppon Dude is the stuff of nightmares… Cone Heads meets Mario Brothers?

  12. Michi says:

    Is it creepy if I say that you and Offpsring have the cutest toes ever?! I enjoyed your funny post about the Tokyo Tower, I hadn’t known such a thing existed. When I fly into Tokyo in the future, I can say I’ve already had a virtual tour and can head straight to the hot baths!

    • amblerangel says:

      Hahah! Plenty of people will pass on the Tokyo Tower I’m sure but at least now you know what you’ll be missing…. and the onsens are NOT to be missed! Especially the out door ones.

  13. Hinano says:

    Nice post! I went to Japan last year and looking at your post made me feel nostalgic again lol.
    When we went, there was a park nearby and there were some guardian cats there! They were both so cute and meowed when I came near them xD

    • amblerangel says:

      Hahah! I think the cats here are so interesting with their bobbed tails…. What was your favorite tourist spot?

      • Hinano says:

        I just loved Ikebukuro. We stayed there so I’m a bit biased but I just enjoyed it a lot. I hope you visit Nekobukuro there if you haven’t, the kitties are adorable!

  14. amblerangel says:

    OK- I haven’t been there- will have to check that out!

  15. I’ve been on Tokyo Tower,and also visited the Observation floor at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building (no amusements there unfortunately but it’s free to ride up and walk around). and also the Mori Tower at Roppongi Hills (it is definitely not free and also lacks the amusements). The best view of any of them is Mori Tower. You can see Mt. Fuji easier from that tower and look back towards the Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Bay. I think you hit on the most kid friendly afternoon filling option of them all.

    • amblerangel says:

      GREAT tip. I haven’t been yet but I also heard that the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku has a great lunch with the great views of Mt Fuji. I’ll have to go check out the Mori Tower- the bay is also hard to see from most spots. Offspring #1 has been up there but as a man of view words he of course only talked about the helicopter in “Inception” taking off from the rooftop- not the relevant information like the good view.

  16. Have you decided on any Japanese equivalent of “Sea Monkeys” to give to your mom to try?

  17. Thanks for the tour, Emily. For a minute there I thought you were in Paris. The Eiffel Tower’s elevator is just as noisy!

  18. The wax models of the last super make jesus and his friends look like cavemen!

  19. looks like it can entertain, nice post

  20. When I lived in Tokyo for the summer many years ago, I would walk 1/2 to get from where I lived to Temple University Japan, slowly walking around the Tower. I never actually went up it though. Great review! I do think there should be a mention of Godzilla in here though since he’s wrecked it at least a couple of times.

    • amblerangel says:

      I didn’t see any Godzilla- there should be at least one mini hanging off the side. Did you notice there are lots of life sized King Kongs around Tokyo but no Godzillas? Andretti-san thinks its marketing rights or some such where as King Kong can just be a monkey…

      • There is the one small Godzilla statue, I saw it but forget exactly where it was, maybe near the palace? We also tried to get into Toho studios, but they didn’t let us :^(

      • amblerangel says:

        Hey Wendy- That statue is in Hibiya by the movie theatre- it is small- so disappointing! It should be HUGE!!! Thanks for reading! Sorry about Toho…

  21. It looks to me as though the Tokyo Tower souvenirs are way more interesting than the tower itself. I have to be honest here and say that I feel the same way about the Eiffel Tower. It’s cool to say that you were at the top, but, really…you just climbed an iron tower. That’s all.

    Thanks for sharing your photos!

  22. gaycarboys says:

    I’m surprised the Japanese haven’t made electronic gizmos as souvenirs of the tower!

  23. Haikugirl says:

    Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed! This post totally deserves it! :)

  24. Congrats on FP AGAIN! As you can see you are obviously our fav expat anywhere!!!!

  25. That tower is too cool. I love your photos. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  26. s2xiong says:

    i’ve been on tokyo tower! i went during sunset and thought the scenery was beautiful! if you haven’t already, try the tempura shops and 7-11 onigiri! they’re delicious!!!

  27. be awake says:

    awesome views! (what is this, that, eee… what is wrong with that titanic?)

    • amblerangel says:

      It doesn’t have Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet standing on the front so you didn’t recognize it right out of the shoot. I didn’t either. hahah- Isn’t it hilarious? Thanks for stopping in!

  28. It looks like they took the Eiffel tower- painted it red- stuck it in the middle Tokyo and stuck an atenna/satellite thingy on top…lol. Very cool pictures- loved rading about it- Japan is a place which I have never had the chance to visit but the culture has always facinated me…

  29. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Am glad that WordPress likes your blog as much as I do. Although I really think they should have picked the “lady parts” post too. Willie and I still laugh over that one!

    • amblerangel says:

      Thanks Lisa- will be by later to read your latest on shark fin soup- have been shuttling Mom and Offspring around Kyoto for the last 3 days. Needless to say I’m exhausted!!! Saw it was up on Twitter…. Glad I gave you and WIllie some entertainment!

  30. beyondanomie says:

    I actually have a souvenier pen from the Tokyo Tower in the shape of a Noppon Brother…

    Thank you for reminding me of this… :-/

    Japan is great fun; enjoy!

  31. Okay, Emily, I go take a nap and wake up to your having been Freshly Pressed! And, God, you deserve it! Congrats, my friend!

  32. As a stateside Clampitt, I enjoyed that. Congrats on being Pressed (again).

  33. ournote2self says:

    Sounds like an over-all fun vacation! :)

  34. Eva McCane says:

    very entertaining! love it. thanks for sharing.

  35. Peke Penguin says:

    Although “Sky Tree” is taller … Tokyo Tower is the city’s icon.
    The Japanese are brilliant architects so maybe one day someone will tack another 350 metres onto the top of Tokyo Tower to make it the tallest struture in Tokyo once more.

  36. MILTON says:


  37. The Tokyo Tower is quite beautiful…I think I’ll just stand here and admire it from the ground though…no glass panels or creaky elevators for me!

    Glad you’re having fun with your mom, Emily!


  38. Piper Bayard says:

    Check you out all Freshly Pressed again. Congratulations! I love these pictures. Had no idea there was a “Eiffel Tower” in Tokyo. (I’m sure they’d love me calling it that.)

  39. onetwentymn says:

    Awesome! I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, ever since I was around 12-years old. I would have had just as much fun on this trip. So, when are you going to invite me out there? Because unless I get a record deal, or blow up in Japan, I doubt I’ll have the cash to go.

    • amblerangel says:

      You never know what can happen- a little over a year ago I was just hanging out driving kids around all day in the suburbs of Philly and here I am now living the high life…hahaha – stay focused!! Hope to hear you here soon!

  40. Hi, found your blog thru fresh pressed. My husband and I are from CA and and currently in Philippines for our honeymoon. Love the humor on your post and learning something new about Tokyo (which I know very little of), maybe a destination for us in the future? Who knows.

    Just want to say hi and let you know I enjoyed reading.

  41. 7des7iny says:

    The glass is scary. Not everyone dares to step on it. Much less jump on it.

  42. harly says:

    it very interesting tower..
    i thing the people in there very enjoy to she the tower..

  43. leadinglight says:

    This reminds me of when I was on the NZ tower. But I think it’s cool that there’s stuff to do inside. Usually it’s climb up, see the view, go back down.

  44. sheokhanda says:


    The glass pic was unnerving….

  45. odorunara says:

    The kimono’d women are the three lead actresses in the ongoing taiga-drama Go: The Princesses of the Warring States Period. Which reminds me how behind I am on watching it–it’s a great show!

    • amblerangel says:

      I wish I knew enough Japanese to follow those taiga dramas- they look so good- everyone is ao evil/ handsome/beautiful and costumes are stunning! Thanks for your comment!

  46. Wow – I want to go there! Thanks for the post, I had never seen photos of the towers before, didnt event know they had them in Tokyo!

  47. juanita says:

    Now Tokyo has two towers that will be fighting for my attention. Come 2012, I have to decided. Those two-timing Japanese. I’ll see you in 2012! Your Tokyo Tower better still be there with your silly Sky-Tower.

    • amblerangel says:

      I did see that the mascot for the Sky Tree was just unveiled- I forgot what it is- a female version of something. You’ll enjoy either one most likely- I would guess Sky Tree will also have fun gizmos to add to the entertainment value. Thanks!

  48. dika says:

    it’s nice tower with nice culture :)

  49. lycon[MANOJ] says:

    I really enjoyed the post I love it. I am from India.Can I have some historical information about the tower and other thing you mentioned

  50. mohno says:

    Really interesting article! :) ( )

  51. Pingback: Tokyo Tower:the second tallest artificial structure in Japan « Lyconpedia – The Mini encyclopedia

  52. Pingback: Friday! Freshly Pressed and Ailing Bloggers | bridgesburning

  53. souldipper says:

    What a delightful way to share a day that could have been tense, boring and fraught with family. With the attitude you display, I’m convinced your family genes make for a fabulous time no matter which attraction you explore! :D

    • amblerangel says:

      Thanks Souldipper! We usually do make a loud happy bunch no matter where we turn up- much to the consternation of other stiffer tourists… Thanks for reading!

  54. I don’t think its so bad. Yeah its a little touristy but when people visit Los Angeles I take them to all the cheesy things there because it’s still the Hollywood experience. It still looks like you had fun!

    • amblerangel says:

      I felt the same way about New Orleans- I took all my friends to the same ole hang outs in the quarter but it was always a good time! Thanks for stopping by!

  55. CONIEFOX says:

    Grand sight! i couldn’t help want to travel there!

  56. Pingback: A Japanese perspective | Notes from Africa

  57. bercton says:

    Awesome photos!!

  58. paulshistoryofwar says:

    Brilliant. The tower looks like a place one should take a parachute!

  59. wiibii says:

    Can’t wait to visit that.. hahaa

  60. Betty Ann Bailey says:

    Do you think the Top Hat lady might be Marlene Dietrich, doing the old sitting backwards on a cabaret chair singing a husky-voiced song? That tower looks about as scary as our old 50’s family Ford chugging up and down the Huey P. bridge over the river in NOLA.
    BA Bailey

  61. Pingback: Birds of a Feather Bike Tokyo Together | Hey from Japan- Notes on Moving, Emily Cannell

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