Tokyo Steampunk, Hayao Miyazaki’s NI-TELE Really BIG Clock

June 25th, 2012By Category: Arts & Entertainment, Culture, Travel

The term Steampunk was coined in April 1987 by the American writer Kevin Wayne Jeter, in a letter to the Locus magazine. Defined as a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history and speculative fiction, steampunk is characterized by worlds using all kind of steam-powered machines, from trains to airplanes and even computers. Besides the steampunk stories and movies, many real-life steampunk objects were built by fans of this genre, some of them perfectly functional.

Between them, a real masterpiece is the enormous NI-TELE Really BIG Clock, located in Shiodome, in front of the Nippon Television Tower:

NI-TELE Really BIG Clock (yes, that’s the official name) is the creation of the famous manga artist and anime director Hayao Miyazaki, artist well known for the steampunk elements from its movies. Hayao Miyazaki worked on this project for 4 years…

The work was made by the sculptor Shachimaru Kunio, artist who also built several other Ghibli Museum items.

Like the name says, the copper clock is Really BIG: it weights 28 tons…

…it is 10 meters tall and 18 meters wide, but it is visible only from several points in Shiodome…

… and if you know where to look, you can see it from the Yurikamome trains

Besides indicating the hour…

… NI-TELE really BIG clock can also perform 32 mechanical tricks:

There are two humanoids blacksmithing…

… and another one spinning a wheel…

… and, of course, they have their own clock…

Here’s a third one, to their right…

The sculpture is amazingly detailed: here is the left leg…

… and the right one…

… the pair of claws…

… and the steaming teakettle from the top …

Also, let’s not forget the cannons…

… and some more delicious steampunk details:

Whether you like it or not, Hayao Miyazaki’s NI-TELE Really BIG Clock will certainly draw your attention. Me? I loved it from the first second!

Travel Tip – The windup hours are:
– Monday to Friday 12:00 15:00 18:00 20:00
– Saturday and Sunday 10:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 20:00
The show starts 3 minutes and 45 seconds before each hour.

I almost forgot: visiting the Nittele Shop (TV-related souvenir shop, located inside the Nippon Television Tower), I also found a miniature of the BIG clock. Only 6 centimeters tall, it’s nicely detailed and it’s a working clock, too… and it’s on my desk ever since….

Author of this article


Muza-chan (real name Lili), is a Romanian travel writer and photographer, living in Bucharest and frequently visiting Japan. She publishes daily photos from Japan, with insights and comments about the areas she visited. She also writes about Japan travel, culture and traditions and her hobbies include pop-culture, music and cuisine. 

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  • zoomingjapan says:

    Wow! I need to go and see this. Too bad that I’m rarely in Tokyo – and that’s probably also the reason why I haven’t seen this yet. The photos look great!
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


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