Seeing stars at Skytree: Tokyo's Konica Minolta Planetarium
Tokyo seems forever alive, and while it's ever exciting, you can get mentally tired even if you're just out sightseeing and experiencing new things every day. If you're visiting Tokyo for the first time, you probably plan on going to the famous Tokyo Skytree, in which case you'll already be in Skytree Town. On the 7th floor of Skytree Town lies a gem, the Konica Minolta Planetarium. Inside the planetarium await beautiful sights, music, and aromas, all of which can serve as both a meditative time and a chance to learn new things about our world.
The Konica Minolta company has two planetariums, one in Sunshine City and one in Skytree Town. The one in Skytree Town has various shows, playing a different one every hour. Right now they have three titles: "A Look into the Starry Sky of New Zealand", "Feel the Earth", and their newest show on the Aurora Borealis, "Explaining the Aurora." I wanted to do something to relax and let my mind rest while still experiencing something new in Tokyo. What really got me interested in this particular planetarium was that they have two ticket options, a normal ticket and a "healing planetarium" ticket. The healing planetarium option incorporates aromatherapy throughout the show and special sounds to help guests relax below starry skies.
They advise guests to arrive ten minutes early to buy tickets. But since I got there an hour early, I bought two tickets. I was originally only interested in "Explaining the Aurora", but I'm so glad I also got to see "Feel the Earth!" Only "Feel the Earth" had a healing planetarium ticket option, while only "Explaining the Aurora" had an English audio guide. Both of the shows were in Japanese, but I highly recommend the "Feel the Earth" because all of the music is composed by the master composer and violinist Tarou Hakase, and the show is pretty self explanatory.
Now, about the experience itself! Both shows were quite different. "Feel the Earth" is a voyage - you start in London, travel around, and end up in the continent of Africa. The scents also change, they used around 6 different aromas, all of which were unique to the scenes. There was also long scenes with a lot of stars, Hakase's entrancing melodies, and creative digital depictions of life on earth and human life stages. It was gorgeous, and really tugged at my heart strings. "Explaining the Aurora" was more educational, thus the need for an English guide. It had a really nice narration and I learned a lot of really interesting things about the Aurora Borealis. The projections had more CG and less film. It felt like I was floating through the earth's atmosphere. The diagrams explaining the earth's magnetic field and other technicalities were so well made, if you have kids they are sure to remember these!
I got a little teary-eyed during "Feel the Earth" as I felt even smaller than before in this big city. However, the show ensures viewers remember that we are all connected with our world and each other. It was a very feel-good type of show, I exited the planetarium feeling warm inside and happy. Shows are all less than an hour, so they're easy to fit into anyone's day. There's also a gift shop when you exit filled with original goods, like the fragrances used, starry trinkets, etc. If you end up at Skytree Town, go have a look! Any of the shows are sure to transport you into a bigger world.
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Tokyo Skytree Town East Yard 7F, Sumida 131-0045, Tokyo
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!