Tokyo Skytree: Tallest Communications Tower in the World

Tokyo's Skytree Tower opened on May 22, taking its place as the world's tallest communications tower in the world.  As reported by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the 634-meter(2,080 feet) structure has surpassed the previously tallest communications tower, Canton Tower in China by 34 meters.  The megastructure took four years to construct doubling the height of Japan's 333-meter Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Skytree's name and design concept is described by the developer as. "The creation of city scenery transcending time: A fusion of traditional Japanese beauty and neo-futuristic design". The tower stands on three legs with a central column in the style of a pagoda to make it more earthquake-resistant.  Its steel frame changes from a triangle at the base to a circle at the top, and its curves and arches reflect a traditional Samurai sword.

The tower will have two observation decks, one at 350 meters and another at 450 meters.  A trip to the lower deck will cost 2,000 yen.  Constructed to lure shoppers and increase commuter traffic, the tower sits in a retail complex housing more than 300 shops and restaurants, a planetarium and an aquarium.  Developer Tobu Railway Co. expects the project will draw 32 million visitors in its first year, surpassing the numbers at Tokyo Disney Resort.  Tobu, whose revenue has fallen for five years, will also get a 28.3 billion yen ($352 million) sales boost in the year ending March 31, according to Kazuhiko Hirata, a general manger for finance.  The company has been taking advantage of land they own around stations to generate new income and lure more travelers as Japan's shrinking birthrate threatens commuter traffic.

Tobu, which operates routes to the north of the capital, carried 856 million passengers in the year ended March 31.  The company is the third biggest by ticket sales among the 11 major train operators in Tokyo and surrounding cities, according to JR East.  The region is home to 35 million people.  By contrast, Amtrak carried 30 million passengers in the U.S. in the year ended September 2011.

Watch a tour of the tower Here

Reference: Bloomberg.com