Tokyo Skyscrapers

Currently, the Tokyo Tower is the tallest structure in Tokyo at a height of 333 meters.  Tokyo Sky Tree is still under construction and is scheduled to be completed in 2011 at a record height of 634 meters.

Here is the Top 10 tallest buildings in Tokyo:

1. Midtown Tower (248 meters)

The Midtown Tower in Roppongi was finished in 2007, is the newest building in this top and is also the 4th tallest building in Japan. Its name is derived from the Midtown district from New York.  During the Edo Period, on this site was the residence of the Mori family.

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2. Tokyo Metropolitan Building (243 meters)

Tokyo Metropolitan Building was completed in 1991, designed by the famous architect Kenzo Tange. The building costs were about US$1B (157 billion yen at the time).  Since it was built of public money, the building received the nickname Tochō or “Tax Tower”.  The design combines old and new: the granite, steel and glass facade was designed suggesting the computer microchips, while the shape of the two towers creates the look of a Gothic cathedral.

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3. NTT DoCoMo Yoyogi Building (240 meters)

The NTT DoCoMo is located in Shinjuku, the tallest clock tower in the world.  The clock, 15 meters in diameter, was installed 2 years after the inauguration, in 2002, when NTT Docomo celebrated 10 years.  Part of the energy used by the building is solar energy, the waste water is recycled for reuse and rain water is used for the building’s toilets.

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4. Sunshine 60 (240 meters)

Sunshine 60 is located in Ikebukuro and, when opened in 1978, it was the tallest building in East Asia. It was surpassed in East Asia in 1985, by the 63 Building in Seoul while in Japan by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, in 1991.  Also at the time, Sunshine 60 held another record, the fastest elevators in the world (600 meters/minute).  At the 60th floor, there is an observatory opened to the public.

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5. Mori Tower (238 meters)

Mori Tower is located in Roppongi Hills, a definite landmark of the area.  The building features two observatories opened to the public, one at the 52nd floor and another one right on the roof, opened on good weather days.  It is said that the lights around the center of the building mimic a graphic equalizer moving to the rhythm of music.

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6. Shinjuku Park Tower (235 meters)

Shinjuku Park Tower, opened in 1994, is the second tallest building in Shinjuku and it was also designed by Kenzo Tange.  The building is a set of three towers of different heights (235 meters, 209 meters and 182 meters).  Shinjuku Park Tower is well known outside Japan because the floors 39 to 52 are occupied by the Park Hyatt Hotel, featured in the Lost In Translation movie, directed by Sofia Coppola.

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7. Tokyo Opera City Tower (234 meters)

Tokyo Opera City Tower is currently the third tallest building in Shinjuku and it hosts the New National Theatre Tokyo. Inside the building there are three concert halls, museums, art galleries, restaurants and offices.  It has a distinct shape, octagonal with four sides shorter that the others and faced with glass. The intended effect was to look like the white sides have been peeled away to reveal the glass corners, emphasizing the sense of height and making the white facades seem thin and delicate like perforated paper.

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8. Shinjuku Mitsui Building (225 meters)

Between September 1974 and March 1978, Shinjuku Mitsui was not only the tallest building in Tokyo but also the tallest building in Japan. It lost both places in 1978, in favor of the Sunshine 60 building from Ikebukuro.  The dark and sober design, contrasting with the surrounding buildings, still draws attention and the X-shaped structures, 6 stories tall, give the building a distinct appearance.

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9. Shinjuku Center Building (223 meters)

When it was opened, in 1979, the Shinjuku Center Building was the second tallest building in Japan.  The building’s facade is undulated, an element of individuality but also with the role of dissipating the energy in case of earthquakes.

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10. Saint Luke’s Tower (221 meters)

Saint Luke’s Tower is actually a set of two different looking towers, located in Chuo-ku, on the shores of Sumida River.  The two towers, one residential and one for offices are connected with a 24 meters long sky-bridge, located at the height of 110 meters. The sky-bridge is designed to resist to earthquakes and high winds and it can expand or contract up to 2 meters.

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