On Feb. 1, Fukuoka Tower reopened after a major renovation. The observation deck, which affords a 360-degree panorama of the city, mountains and ocean now features virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) attractions. Looking through the VR binoculars makes you feel like you are floating in the sky, while the “Happening Window” uses AR to overlay video on the actual landscape for a fun and futuristic experience.
The new attractions were designed to appeal to a wide range of visitors of all ages. The light blue elevator hall is designed to remind you of the ocean so you feel like you are shooting into the sky from the sea as you ride the elevator up to the observation deck. There is also a giant toy figurine vending machine and pinball-style fortune telling game that children are sure to love. Meanwhile, couples can have their picture taken in front the Lover’s Sanctuary, a large heart-shaped object backed by a fantastic vista of the city.
Fukuoka Tower, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, opened in 1989 to coincide with the Asian-Pacific Exposition (a.k.a. “Yokatopia”). Yokatopia was a major event with participants from 37 countries and regions, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region, and during the expo, 8.23 million people visited Fukuoka, thereby helping the city to deepen its ties with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
Fukuoka Tower remains a popular tourist destination for foreign visitors, and the signs in the building are multilingual. The gift shop also sells a wide range of local souvenirs. Standing at 234 m, it is Japan’s tallest seaside tower, and it looks magnificent when lit up at night. It also functions as a TV and radio broadcasting tower. Here’s hoping this symbol of Fukuoka will continue attracting people from far and wide to the city.
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn243, Mar. 2019)