Odaiba

Odaiba is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo.  Initially built for defensive purposes in the 1800s, it dramatically expanded during the late 20th century as a seaport district, developed into one of Tokyo’s most interesting tourist spots and a highly popular leisure, shopping and entertainment areas.

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There are several ways to reach Odaiba, but one of the most popular is the Yurikamome line, an un-manned, elevated train with rubber tires, which connects Shimbashi station on the JR Yamanote Line with all of Odaiba‘s attractions and Toyosu station on the Metro Tokyo Yurakucho subway line.  The Yurikamome uses the Rainbow Bridge to get to Odaiba and offers great views of the harbor and the Tokyo waterfront area.

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A distinctive building designed by Kenzo Tange, the Fuji TV Building is the headquarters of Fuji Television, one of Japan’s private, nationwide TV stations. You can see some exhibitions on popular programs, buy Fuji TV goods at the souvenir shop and access the futuristic looking building’s observatory deck.  Admission is free except for the observatory deck (500 yen).

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Across the street from the Fuji TV building are two large shopping centers – Decks Tokyo Beach (which includes the food theme park called Little Hong Kong and the gaming center called Sega Joypolis) and Aquacity Odaiba (which also has a 13 screen cinema complex).  From the wooden deck, you can see nice views of the Rainbow Bridge and the Statue of Liberty replica.

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Palette Town is a shopping and entertainment complex consisting of Venus Fort, Mega Web, a Ferris Wheel and Zepp Tokyo, a large concert venue. Venus Fort is a shopping mall in the style of a 18th century South European town.  It features more than one hundred boutiques, shops, cafes and restaurants – it also has a casino area.

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Mega Web is a Toyota showroom, where you can view and touch Toyota’s newest models and car accessories, test drive a real car ("Ride One") or ride an automatic, electric vehicle ("E-com Ride") – yup, that’s a picture from inside the E-com car.

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The 115 meter tall ferris wheel is one of the world’s largest and offers nice views of the bay area.

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Also known as Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokyo Big Sight is Japan’s largest exhibition and convention center and another one of the bay islands’ unique architectural creations.  A wide variety of events are held at the Big Sight throughout the year, including the Tokyo International Anime Fair.

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Other major attractions in Odaiba include (which we haven’t visited yet, I guess we have a reason to go back again):

  • Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari sentō
  • Telekom Center Building (MXTV’s former headquarters) with observation deck
  • Miraikan, Japan’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
  • Museum of Maritime Science (Fune no kagakukan) with swimming pool
  • Shiokaze park with BBQ places and Higashi Yashio park

Finally, a couple of pictures I took near sunset of the Tokyo harbor from Odaiba – all in all, lots to see and do.

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