"Ryounkaku" tower


The Ryounkaku, a tower also known as the "Asakusa Twelve Stories," was designed by British engineer William K. Barton and completed in 1890. It functioned as a symbol of Asakusa and appeared on many souvenir pictures. This tower was highly popular until it collapsed in the great Kanto earthquake of 1923.
The Ryounkaku was approximately sixty meters in height. Up to the tenth floor it was made of brick, in an octagonal shape; the eleventh and twelfth floors were made of wood. Visitors could relax at a lounge or purchase imported products at shops inside the tower. The eleventh and the twelfth floors were equipped with telescopes for peering into and over the city. The Ryounkaku boasted Japan's first elevator, leading to the eighth floor. For safety reasons, however, the operation of the elevator was eventually halted. At the time of opening, admission fees were 8 sen for adults and 4 sen for soldiers and children.
This replica is based on photographs and woodblock prints from the period.