Try visiting a Japanese TV station: NTV (Nippon Television)
If you're visiting Japan or about to visit Japan, you might be a little tired of only hearing about historical tourist spots like temples and shrines and famous shopping areas. If you want to try something a little different (that you don't have to pay for), you can try visiting a Japanese TV station. Even if you aren't familiar with the shows, you'll still find something to do! If you're in the Shiodome area, try visiting NTV.
Jul 08 2014 (Dec 09 2018)
What is NTV?
Nippon Television Network Corporation (日本テレビ放送網株式会社 Nippon Terebi Hōsōmō Kabushiki-gaisha) (TYO: 9404), doing business as Nippon TV, is a television network based in the Shiodome area of Minato, Tokyo, Japan and is controlled by the Yomiuri Shimbun publishing company. Broadcasting terrestrially across Japan, the network is commonly known as Nihon Terebi (日本テレビ), contracted to Nittere (日テレ), and abbreviated as "NTV" or "AX".
Dick Thomas Johnson/Flickr
The NTV building, which houses the headquarters of the network, is located in an area of Tokyo known as Shiodome.
Shiodome (汐留) is a recently redeveloped city district in Tokyo, which opened to the public in 2002. Its spectacular skyscrapers accommodate many offices, the headquarters of Nippon Television and a large variety of shops, cafes, restaurants, theaters, hotels and other attractions.
Shiodome was originally a tidal marshland separating the Imperial Palace from Tokyo Bay. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), the marshes were dried up and developed into residential land for feudal lords. The district's history remains reflected in the name Shiodome, which literally means "halt the tides".
In 1872, Shiodome was chosen as the site of Shimbashi Station, the Tokyo terminal of Japan's first railway line. When the railway tracks were later extended to Tokyo Station, Shimbashi Station was moved to its current location and Shiodome converted into a freight yard, which it remained into the 1980s. Today the district features modern city planning with divided motorized and pedestrian traffic on different levels, and elevated walkways and underground passages that connect most of the buildings.
What can I see and do there?
Nippon Television Tower has 32 floors and was designed by British architect Richard Rogers. The building has a funky clock motif on its exterior, designed by anime movie director Hayao Miyazaki. There's an Anpanman shop in the building and a glass-fronted studio where visitors can watch NTV live broadcasts.
The NTV clock
The clock rings at noon, 3 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm Monday through Friday and at 10 am, noon 3 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm on the weekends. The clock begins its ringing sequence 2 minutes and 45 seconds before the time scheduled.
The NTV clock in action
The Nittere Store (日テレ屋)
The Nittere store (Nittere-ya) is two floors of goods related to NTV's dramas, news shows and variety shows, as well as their most well-known celebrities and mascots, the dinosaurs Sorajiro, Kumojiro and Potsurin.
The goods that NTV sells in their store are one-of-a-kind, especially if they are related to the television shows. The drama goods are especially sought after because they are only sold for a limited time.
Nittere-ya also sells Studio Ghibli and Anpanman goods, as well as anime merchandise.
Watch a broadcast from the outside
Parts of the NTV building are see-through, and some studios are surrounded by glass so that fans or visitors can be a part of the broadcast from the outside. If you're lucky, you might be able to be part of a show taping if you arrive at the right time.
Participate in the weather corner of the news
The weather corner of NTV's daily news show, news every, is always held outside and always contains an audience of babies and children (and Sorajiro, NTV's yellow dinosaur mascot). Unfortunately, you can only participate if you have a child who is of elementary school age or younger - but if you do, you can join the filming!
Hang out in the lobby
If you get tired from walking around Tokyo and find yourself at NTV, you can always just sit in the lobby. There are newspaper clippings for NTV's shows, large promo posters for the current season's dramas and shows and, of course, TV sets, so you can look around or watch the TVs as you relax. There might also be a rare opportunity for you to catch a glimpse of someone famous if they decide to take the lobby route.
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.