Yesterday, at an award ceremony at the Tobu Hotel Levant Tokyo, the Guinness World Records officially recognized the Tokyo Sky Tree as the tallest free-standing tower in the world.

Surpassing the previous record holder, the 600-meter Canon Tower in China’s Guangzhou, the Tokyo Sky Tree reached it’s final height of 634 meters back in March of this year.

“One of the purposes of the construction of the tower is to let the world know about Japanese culture and technology, as well as the allure of this area of Tokyo,” said Michiaki Suzuki, president of Tobu Tower Sky Tree Company.

Suzuki told reporters after accepting the certificate confirming the Sky Tree as the new record holder, “This recognition gives us great strength as we strive to meet that goal.”

Sorakara-chan

The construction work on the tower — which is now a permanent fixture in the skyline of northern Tokyo — is extremely close to completion with most of the work focusing on interior details. Tourists will have the option of gazing out over the city in one of two large observatories, one at 350 meters and the second at 450 meters. There will also be restaurants and gift shops.

Sorakara-chanLocal businesses in the the low-rise “shitamachi” blue-collar district of the Sumida Ward are already benefiting from an influx of visitors wanting to see the tower, which they hope will continue after the tower opens.

As with many things in Japan nowadays, the Sky Tree will also have mascot named Sorakara-chan — which means ‘Child From the Sky’.

Workers in the tower will have special uniforms designed by the award-winning fashion designer, Akira Minagawa. The uniform’s style will attempt to convey both a sense of nature as well as the technological advances and future ambitions that the Sky Tree embodies, the company said.

8 different uniforms have been designed for the different types of staff – ranging from guides, information booth staff, ticket staff and cleaners, using the two motif colors of the Sky Tree — blue for the sky and green which represents trees.

Did you know?

When deciding on the final height of the tower, the design committee considered several heights solely based of their symbolism & wordplay value. Musashi restaurantA height of 645m was considered because it was the year of the Taika Reforms, in which Emperor Kotoku established political doctrines. Another candidate was 633m which was supposed to represent the Japanese 6-3-3 school year system, but later dropped it because they felt that foreign visitors wouldn’t understand the meaning.

Instead, developers decided on 634m because of what the numbers represent when written. The figures 6 (Mu), 3 (sa), 4 (shi) can be read in Japanese as “Musashi“. Musashi is an old name for the area the tower was built in. Musashi (Miyamoto) is also the name of a legendary swordsman who is said to have fought over 60 duels and was never defeated. The name was also given to the 5-star restaurant which can be found on the Tembo Deck, 345 meters above ground level overlooking the city of Tokyo.

The grand opening of the Tokyo Sky Tree is May 22, 2012. Reservations for individual tickets to the tower are expected to go on sale in March.

Source (PDF in Japanese): http://www.tokyo-skytreetown.jp/pressroom/pdf/2009101602.pdf