Kyoto Tower dominates the skyline of
Kyoto and seems out of place in the city of
temples. Kyoto Tower and it observation deck are conveniently located
near Kyoto Station.
Kyoto Tower (京都タワー,
Kyōto-tawā) is an observation tower located in Kyoto, Japan. The
steel tower is the tallest structure in Kyoto with its observation
deck at 100 meters (328 ft) and its spire at 131 meters (430 ft).
The 800-ton tower stands atop a 9-story building, which houses a
3-star hotel and several stores.
Kyoto Tower at night
Kyoto Tower is
split into two distinct structures. The primary structure is the
steel spire that begins on the roof of the building below. Tourists
may buy tickets and ascend one of the tower's nine elevators to
visit the 100-metre (330 ft)-high, 500-person-capacity observation
deck. This area is lined with game machines and pay telescopes and
provides a 360-degree view of the city. From here, nearly all of
Kyoto can be seen. The mountains of
Higashiyama and Arashiyama are visible on the east and west sides
respectively, while Kitayama can be seen to the north. On a clear
day, some buildings in Osaka are visible to
The second structure that completely supports the 800-ton tower and
gives the it its first 30.8 meters of height is a 9-story building.
The first four floors of the building house several commercial
areas, including a souvenir shop, a 100 yen shop, a bookstore and a
dentist's office. In the basement of the building, there is a spa.
Floors 5-9 are devoted to the 160-room, 3-star Kyoto Tower Hotel.
Atop the building and surrounding the tower is the circular,
three-floor restaurant named Sky Lounge "空" ＫＵＵ.
Kyoto Tower was
proposed in the early 1960's, and it was planned to be constructed
and completed in time to correspond with the 1964 Summer Olympics in
Tokyo. Construction began in 1963 on the former site of Kyoto's
central post office and was completed near the end of 1964. Unlike
many other towers, such as Tokyo Tower that are constructed using
metal lattice frames, Kyoto Tower's interior structure consists of
many steel rings stacked on top of each other. The structure was
then covered with lightweight steel sheets with a thickness between
12-22 mm (0.47-0.87 in). The sheets were then welded together and
painted white. The intended overall effect was for the tower to
resemble a Japanese candle.
Designed by Makoto Tanahashi, a doctor of engineering at Kyoto
University, Kyoto Tower was built to withstand the forces of both
earthquakes and typhoons. The head of the tower's business division,
Tsuyoshi Tamura, claims it can withstand winds of up to 201 mph (90
m/s) and survive an earthquake of far greater magnitude than that of
the Kobe or Tokyo earthquakes.
The tower was first opened to the public on December 28, 1964.
Within its first year of opening, 1 million people visited the
tower's observation deck. Throughout the years, the tower's draw as
a tourist attraction has diminished. By 1999, observation deck
ticket sales dropped to less than 400,000 a year, or about 1,000 a
Kyoto Tower has been the subject of controversy since it was in its
planning phase. Public opposition not only stemmed from the tower's
¥380 million ($1.056 million in 1963) price tag, but also from the
fact that many believed the needle-shaped spire was too modern
looking for the ancient capital. The construction regulations in
Kyoto that restrict a building's maximum height increases the sense
of proportion between the tower and the low machiya and
ferroconcrete apartment blocks below. These municipal regulations
have ensured that the tower maintains its status as the tallest
man-made structure in the city since its construction and will
likely help it to hold the distinction for many years to come.
Today, reaction to Kyoto Tower remains divided. Many foreigners who
come to Kyoto seeking an elusive sense of old Japan are surprised to
see both the modern, glass and steel
Kyoto Station and the imposing steel tower directly across the
street. Alex Kerr, an expert on Japan's fading past, has called the
tower "a stake through the heart" of the city. While some disapprove
of the tower, many locals have welcomed station and tower, believing
them to help add a touch of modernity to the city to ensure that it
does not become foreign to the rest of new Japan.
(Content based on
Wikipedia article and used under the
GNU Free Documentation License)