There's a lot more going on at Skytree than just the observation deck. And since almost all the attractions here are indoors, Skytree makes a nice all-day destination for when Tokyo is too hot, too cold or too rainy for much outdoor activity.
1. Robots and space exploration at Chiba Institute of TechnologyRobot anatomy, robot mobility and artificial vision are the main themes explored in this fascinating exhibition space, which is run by the Institute to show off the work they do in robotics technology.
Tucked away in a corner elsewhere on the same floor are a couple of rooms focusing on astronomy and space exploration, featuring a 300-inch 3D "space theater." Admission to both areas is free. (Solamachi 8F)
2. Japan nostalgia at the Postal MuseumEven non-philatelists can enjoy the historical advertising posters, letterboxes, postal trucks and vintage mail-carrier uniforms on display here. Hard-core enthusiasts will marvel at the collection of 330,000 stamps from around the world, arranged in hundreds of display drawers. Admission is just Y300. (Solamachi 9F)
3. Sake and artisanal salts on the Japan Souvenir floorDon't worry, it's not all folding fans and Hello Kitty pencil cases in Skytree's souvenir zone. Tochimaru specializes in food, drink and crafts from Tochigi Prefecture, including 70 kinds of sake. Masuya ("Salt Store") has hundreds of artisanal salts, flavored salts and bath salts.
Ganso sells sushi fridge magnets and realistic food models, with informative displays showing how their models are made. Neue carries paper crafts and stationery supplies, and Medicom offers dozens of versions of their popular Bearbrick toys, including Skytree exclusives. (Solamachi 4F East Yard)
4. Coffee break at "Be a Good Neighbor Coffee Kiosk"A branch of one of Tokyo's pioneering third-wave coffee houses, this oddly named shop serves good drip coffee and espresso beverages, and in wintertime hot cocoa, hot lemonade and flavored teas.
They also sell nearly a dozen varieties of single-origin beans, serving a complimentary espresso with every bean purchase. (Solamachi 2F East Yard)
5. Cuddly garden eels at Sumida AquariumCheck out the big colony of frolicking penguins and the swarms of adventurous garden eels, and learn all about coral reefs, jellyfish, and the ecosystem of the Ogasawara Islands.
Far smaller than the typical Tokyo aquarium, this feels a bit overpriced at Y2050, but at least it's slickly produced and well laid out. The gift shop, freely accessible from outside, carries an impressive selection of garden-eel plush toys. (Solamachi 5-6F West Yard)
6. Depachika food hall snacks at Food MarcheWhile it's not located in a basement, Food Marche is still a very respectable depachika (department-store food hall), with dozens of kiosks selling take-out prepared foods, sections for fresh produce and seafood, and several specialty shops.
While you're here don't miss the "Curry Library" at Kitano Ace, with 400 different pouch curries from around Japan. There's also an informal dining area if you want to snack on your purchases here rather than taking them home. (Solamachi 2F West Yard)
7. A free view from the Skytree View observation cornerOkay, the view from the 31st-floor restaurant zone isn't as impressive as the one from Skytree tower, but unlike the rather expensive observation deck, this one is free! Just take the special elevator up to the Skytree View restaurant floor. (Solamachi 31F)
8. Locally produced crafts at Sumida MachidokoroSumida-ku, the area around Skytree, is home to craftsmen making everything from knives and scissors to glassware, ceramics and paper goods.
The sprawling Machidokoro shop showcases a wide range of crafts, and has a corner where visiting artisans show off their techniques in person. (Solamachi 5F East Yard)
9. Beers from around the world at the World Beer MuseumAfter all that shopping and museum-going you deserve a cold beer! This sprawling, 350-seat beer hall dispenses twenty brews on draft and another 150 by the bottle, including US and UK craft beers, hard-to-find Czech beers, and a strong Belgian roster.
Prices are a bit higher than average, but not that bad considering the location. There's some outdoor terrace seating for when the weather permits. (Solamachi 7F)