On Christmas Eve, 1958, thousands of people poured through Hamamatsucho Station in Tokyo's Minato Ward to take in Japan's first postwar shot at a "public attraction." There was nothing particularly cute about it; no fearsome rides, or cuddly characters to have your photo taken with. What's more, visitors still had to walk another kilometer to get to it.

Yet, for a nation still mentally and physically flattened by war, the construction of Tokyo Tower was a giant symbolic step toward revival.

When the 90-meter antenna was bolted into place on Oct. 14, 1958, the completed tower stood 333 meters high, making it the world's tallest freestanding structure -- overtaking the Eiffel Tower in Paris by 13 meters.