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Conquering Japan’s Skyline: Abeno Harukas vs Tokyo Skytree

Date Published: Last Update:2014/08/29 Travel & View point ,

Japan conquers the sky with the opening of Tokyo Skytree and Abeno Harukas. Standing at 634 meters and 300 meters respectively these two structures are the top two highest structures in Japan.

Abeno Harukas

I first visited the Abeno Harukas located in the city of Osaka. Its construction started in early 2010 and was finished just last March 7, 2014. It is situated above the Abenobashi Station terminal of the Kintetus Minami-Osaka Line. The building has 60 above floors and 5 underground floors making it the tallest skyscraper not just in Osaka but through out Japan. The building’s name Abeno is derived from the place where the building is located while Harukas is an old Japanese expression meaning “to brighten, to clear up”.

The Harukas300 observatory is located on the 58-60 floors. The 58th floor designed to resemble an outdoor plaza with plenty of trees and greenery. Long rows of steps surround this area facing the glass windows where visitors could sit and enjoy the incredible view while eating or enjoying a drink. While the 60th floor is a glass-enclosed observation deck that gives its visitors a 360 degree panoramic view of the city of Osaka. Visitors could also also get the chance to tour the buildings Helipad to even get a much better experience of how it feels to be on top of the building with the wind blowing and the sun shining on your face. I think some of you would find that nice but to me I found it to be a bit scary so I did not go up there.

Tokyo Skytree

A month after visiting Abeno Harukas, I got the chance to see and visit Tokyo Skytree. Looking at it from a distance I automatically noticed how tall this tower is that it made everything around it look so tiny. The Tokyo Skytree stands at 634 meters tall – that is more then twice the height of the Abeno Harukas. Thus making it the worlds 2nd tallest structure. And it is the tallest free standing tower according to Guinness World Records. Its primary purpose is as a terrestrial digital TV and radio broadcasting tower. It was completed in Febuary 2012 but was only opened to the public in May of that same year. The design of the tower is based on a traditional Japanese structure known as the Pagoda. Its name was determined through suggestions collected from the public and through national voting system where six names where given to choose from. At the base of the tower is the Tokyo’s largest shopping center – the Tokyo Solamachi.

Tokyo SkyTree Ticket Counter

Tokyo SkyTree Ticket Counter

Tokyo Skytree has two observation decks located at 350 and 450 meters respectively. I visited the Tembo Deck which is the lower observatory deck. The Tembo deck has a capacity for 2000 people. It covers three levels. The top most level is surrounded with glass windows allowing visitors to enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. The middle floor has a gift shop and a restaurant. The last floor has a glass panel floor, where you can see all the way to the base of the tower. The higher observatory is called the Tembo Gallery – is known to be the world’s highest sky walk and has a capacity for 900 people.

Tembo Deck

Tembo Deck glass panel floor

So which is better?

The Tokyo Skytree is taller that the Abeno Harukas by 334 meters (1,096 feet). However, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat‘s Height Criteria, the broadcasting tower is not included in the list of Japan’s tallest buildings as it contains only two occupiable floors. I am no expert but to me both observatories are almost the same in the amenities it provides its visitors. Elevators on both the Abeno Harukas and Tokyo Skytree are extremely fast though I prefer the Abeno Harukas elevator because of LED lights which provided a feeling of being warped into space. I also liked the toilet rooms in the Harukas300 since it also provided spectacular view of the city – It still had glass windows all over which was really nice. I also liked the unique interactive map that Tokyo Skytree had on its Tembo Deck where you could magnify different parts of the city. Both observatories had glass floors allowing visitors to see what’s below but I preferred the one on Harukas300 because it was more wide therefore it could accommodate more visitors. The one on the Tembo Deck was a bit too small which tends to be very crowded. So I guess if I were to choose it would be the Harukas300. I know its not as high as the Tembo deck but to me it was way better. Because of the wide spaces it had that allowed you to enjoy the view with less chaos. The Skytree was just too crowded. (I don’t know if its due to the time I went there – I went during the Obon) or it is because of the Harukas300 design – open spaces. I also liked the greenery, its like a park only its about almost 300 meters above. So over all I really preferred the Harukas300 it really embodied the meaning of its name – “to brighten, to clear up”.



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