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Scenes From the World's Tallest Tower

Tokyo's Skytree made its official debut earlier today in front of about 200,000 visitors. The tower offers two separate observation decks (one at 1,148 feet and another at 1,476 feet) as well as a small collection of restaurants and shops.

Standing at 2,080 feet, the Skytree is now the world's tallest tower and second tallest structure (after Dubai's 2,723-foot Burj Khalifa). It will replace the 1,093-foot Tokyo Tower, which was surrounded by too many high-rise buildings to give complete digital television coverage. 

In earthquake-prone Japan, the Skytree is designed to absorb 50 percent of the energy from a seismic movement. It is painted Skytree White, a color based on a bluish white traditional Japanese color known "aijiro." It is part of Skytree Town, a commercial complex that includes an aquarium, a planetarium, office space, and shopping center.

The opening was joyful, though not completely problem-free. High winds forced two elevators to stop around 6 p.m. local time, temporarily stranding visitors in one of the observatories, according to a Japan Times report.

Via Reuters, pictures of the tower from the end of construction in February to today:

The Tokyo Skytree is illuminated by LED lights to to mourn victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and air raids during World War II. REUTERS/Kyodo

The Tokyo Skytree before its completion on February 28, 2012. REUTERS/Kyodo 

The tower opened to the public on Tuesday, with hundreds of people entering the tower and its large shopping mall. REUTERS/Kyodo

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko look out from the 1,480-foot observatory on April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Yoshikazu Tsuno

The view from the first observatory deck on October 30, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A visitor walks past a Panasonic Corp. ad featuring the tower. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The recent eclipse is seen over Tokyo Skytree. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon


Receptionists at work. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Visitors form a line at the ticket counters. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A man with a Skytree-inspired hairdo waits to enter the tower. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A man, wearing his handmade costume, poses outside. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Visitors try to take pictures of the Skytree. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon 

Visitors look at a panoramic view of the city from the first observatory deck. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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