Tokyo can only really be understood, or at least felt, on the ground and intimately.
For even beginning to get a grasp on this megalopolis, though, it helps to get a view from afar – and the prime spot for that is the Tokyo Skytree.
With 634 m total height, it is the tallest tower in the world and the second tallest structure. Burj Khalifa is the tallest; the Shanghai Tower I visited this summer is the third-tallest structure (but has the highest observation deck).
Observatories in the Tokyo Skytree lie at 350 m (the Tembo Deck, tickets sold on the 4th floor) and 450 m (the Tembo Galleria, ticket sold at a counter on the Tembo Deck).
The 350 m was quite enough for me, clear-but-not-quite as the day was, and as a big part of my time in Japan was still coming up (so that I wanted to spend as little as possible on things I didn’t consider an absolute must-do).
I happened to get there before they even opened for the day, jetlag having made me wake up 4:30 am-ish and decide to just wander through the city already, into the very early morning.
So, I had already wandered down a road to the nearest metro station with the most sensible line to take. (Tokyo has quite a few different metro/rail lines, and connections from one or the other can go very differently, much more or less useful for the place you want to go.)
On the way there, I meandered left and right into side roads, to temples and shrines that Google Maps pointed out in those places, following my interest in the same.
At the Skytree, I thus had to wait for them to open, but didn’t have to wait to buy my ticket.
By the time I got down and out again, some school classes were waiting and the airport check-in-like waiting area was considerably fuller. (Word to the wise, therefore: Come early enough, get ready to wait, reserve a ticket in advance, or head for the express counter for foreign tourists that is available there.)
The view, as I mentioned, was not bad if not ideal, either – but definitely a good introduction to the megacity that is Tokyo.
Fuji-san even made an appearance.
He would feature more often, though I did not make it to and onto the mountain this time around. (I had wanted to, would have even had the right weather for it, but that had all become a bit too uncertain and my outdoors sleeping gear would, by then, have become rather too wet and smelly and the backpack too heavy.)
Still, it was a nice introduction – and far from the only thing I did, even just on that day.