Speaking about observatory, I head now, always on foot, towards the Tokyo Skytree. Nothing complicated, because the tower is the most visible element of the capital city: just walk in its direction to get there, what I manage to do in about 10 minutes after I crossed the bridge. If you lose sight of the tower (which remains highly unlikely if you are on the surface and not underground), the easiest way is to follow the signs here and there. Once at the foot of the complex, just get to the 4th floor by climbing stairs or escalators outside or inside via the first three floors of the building, through an impressive maze of aligned shops, selling everything (especially souvenirs of all kinds), not to mention countless restaurants everywhere!
Once at the 4th floor, I discover an outdoor plaza surrounding the various entrances of the tower (north, west, etc.) as well as distinct waiting lines: one according to scheduled entry time, other for groups, etc. And the queue of visitors is already very long outside, several hundred meters from the lifts! I then do a quick tour of the complex to realize that the estimated waiting time is about 3 hours! It is huge, but justified given the number of people present. Disappointed and clearly no wanting to wait here during the rest of the afternoon, I am about to return to the nearest metro station with the idea to book my ticket in advance on Internet. Indeed, I think that it’s something I can do quietly from the hostel another day. Before that, I sneak one last time inside, just to see if I can not reach the upper floors by another way.
It is then that I spot a counter where “Fast Entry Ticket” is written and behind which are waiting for 5-6 people, all foreign tourists. I approach an explanatory sign in English stating that since February 2015, Tokyo Skytree offers a new type of admission, the famous “fast ticket” that allows a direct access to the elevator without having to wait in line. This ticket is available only to holders of foreign passports, which explains why there are only tourists here. The only drawback of the ticket is its higher price: ¥ 2,820 instead of ¥ 2,060, but if it can save me three hours of waiting, I take it! Having just bought my ticket, an English speaking Japanese guy asks us to follow him. We walk without stopping next to many queues towards the elevators! I must admit I feel embarrassed to pass directly in front of everyone, but if this kind of ticket exists, why wouldn’t I take it? So, my waiting time changes from 3 hours to 3 minutes, which means the time for me to arrive at one of the many lifts and go inside, ready to start the rise to the summit!