Annual entrance passes eyed for Skytree

JIJI, Kyodo

The operator of Tokyo Skytree is considering issuing annual observatory entrance passes, Michiaki Suzuki, president of Tobu Tower Skytree Co., said in an interview.

“A new ticket sales strategy is undoubtedly a key part of our business agenda. We are now examining the timing of the launch of the passes,” Suzuki said.

Currently, an on-the-day entry ticket for the 634-meter-tall tower’s lower observation deck, 350 meters aboveground in Sumida Ward, costs ¥2,000 for adults.

“It would be nice to see people living in surrounding areas go up the tower at night with their annual passes and later have drinks at nearby pubs,” Suzuki said.

The world’s tallest broadcasting tower celebrated its first anniversary Wednesday. Reflecting on its first year, Suzuki said, “We’ve had no major problem with the operations of the tower and had more customers than initially expected.”

Tokyo Skytree was still under construction when the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck the northeast in March 2011. Suzuki said that because “people see the tower as a symbol of Japan’s vigor and resilience after the disaster,” this was also behind Tokyo Skytree’s stellar first-year performance.

He underscored that the most important thing for Tokyo Skytree in the second year is to properly serve as a broadcasting tower. In addition, the tower operator plans to hold more seasonal events and help create a flow of people from the site to local shopping districts, Suzuki added.

“We will also step up efforts to attract more foreigners, including from other parts of Asia,” Suzuki said.

As part of these efforts, Tobu Tower Skytree signed a partnership agreement May 13 with the Taiwanese operator of the 509-meter-tall Taipei 101 building, in a bid to promote tourism, he said.

On Tokyo Skytree’s opening day, May 22, 2012, the two elevators linking the lower and upper observation decks had to be stopped in the afternoon due to strong winds. Asked to comment, Suzuki replied, “For the safety of customers, it was the right decision.

“The staff working at the tower suggested that the elevator operations should stop,” he explained. “The suggestion probably reflected parent company Tobu Railway Co.’s policy of putting customer safety first.”

On Wednesday, a ceremony was held at the bottom of the tower, which has drawn 6.38 million visitors to its observation deck during the past year.

Overall, 50.8 million people visited Tokyo Skytree Town, including the Tokyo Solamachi shopping complex, during the first year, according to the tower’s operator.