By Galileo Ferrari
The end of July 2018 marked two years until the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. Excitement has been building about the new sports events being added to the program, and the Tokyo Metropolitan government has reported that construction has progressed 20-40% towards completion. It should all be finished in 2019, well before the deadline.
To celebrate the two-year countdown, towers and monuments around Japan have been lighting up in a festive preview of Olympic colors.
1. Tokyo Skytree
With construction completed in 2012, the 634 meter Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan. It is situated in the northeastern part of Tokyo and enjoys a fair flow of traffic from tourists in Asakusa.
2. Fukuoka Tower
Known for its artistic goldfish and national holiday illumination displays, at 234 meters tall Fukuoka Tower boasts being the highest seaside tower in Japan.
3. Tokyo Tower
Made of prefabricated steel, Tokyo Tower is called light because it weighs only 4,000 metric tons. At a height of 333 meters, it is the world’s tallest self-supporting steel tower.
With a design inspired by the Eiffel Tower in France, the famous tower opened to the public in 1958. It is the only monument on this list with its own emoji, which was added to the Unicode library in 2010.
4. Goryokaku Tower
The view from atop the 107 meter Goryokaku Tower treats visitors to a panoramic view of the star-shaped estate, Goryokaku, in Hokkaido. Spring is the prime season to visit as the moat is lined with vibrant cherry trees.
5. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
A couple of minutes away on foot from Shinjuku station, the 243 meter tall Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building has two towers and free observation decks. If the weather permits, famous landmarks such as Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine and Mt Fuji can be seen from its observation platforms.
6. NTT DoCoMo Building
Just short of a top-3 finish, the NTT DoCoMo building – also in Shinjuku - is the fourth tallest building in Tokyo at 240 meters. The skyscraper is partially powered by solar energy, and rainwater is reused for the building's toilets.
Special mention: Kyoto Tower
Kyoto tower is 131 meters tall and sits opposite the JR Kyoto station. It is engineered atop a nine-story building, and was constructed and completed in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.