Providing families with the most direct getaway to the shore, these artificial islands are an open playground amid Tokyo Bay.
While most of Tokyo’s coastline is reserved for shipyards and industrial warehouses, Odaiba has retained access to its shores and flaunts many open spaces. Public areas like Seaside Park and Toritsu Shiokaze Park are perfect spots for sightseeing, people-watching, or a springtime barbecue. Two major sights from these spots are Rainbow Bridge, connecting Odaiba to the center of Tokyo, and a copy of the Statue of Liberty, prominently on display here since the year 2000. Along the shore is the Museum of Maritime Science, which stands unmistakably in the shape of a six-story-high ocean liner. Also, many dinner cruises and sea buses depart from Odaiba’s shores to take visitors out into the harbor.
Fun for All
Much of Odaiba is centered around recreation, and no place embodies that concept more than Palette Town. This amusement complex is made up of several venues designed to suit a wide spectrum of tastes. Tokyo Leisureland is a supersized video arcade, bowling alley, karaoke parlor and pool hall. If that weren’t enough, the Daikanransha Ferris Wheel, one of the biggest of its kind, spins riders up to 115 meters into the air. Next door, the Toyota Mega Web showroom has the auto company’s past, present and future on display, including a test circuit on the ground floor. The connected History Garage shows off international vintage cars. Rounding out the complex are the plush Venus Fort mall and the Zepp Tokyo music venue.
Robot or Not?
One of the most popular cultural exhibits in town is The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, also known as the Miraikan, where the current and future social roles of technology are explored. With many interactive displays and creative activities, the museum offers guests the chance to take a true hands-on approach to science. Popular attractions include a dome theater for educational 3D films, daily science workshops and a giant globe-like display which floats above the large atrium. The true star of the museum, however, is ASIMO, a humanoid robot made by Honda that performs an impressive demo of its abilities, including running, dancing and doing sign language, at several times throughout the day.
Architecturally speaking, there are several unique buildings in Odaiba, like the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, the Museum of Maritime Science and the Telecom Center, but no building stands out quite like Fuji TV Studios. Designed by noted architect Kenzo Tange, the futuristic structure is festooned with a 30-meter wide, silver metallic ball that sits 120 meters off the ground. The sphere, known as Hachitama, houses an observation deck and a pricey restaurant. Fans of Fuji TV can take guided tours through the studios to see where programs like the long-running morning show Mezamashi TV are made.
If shopping is your idea of fun, then Odaiba might just be the perfect place for you. There are several malls in the area, Diver City being the top destination. The mall features hundreds of retail stores and restaurants, the Zepp Diver City music venue and much more, but the real draw is the 18-meter Gundam statue that sits out front. And although the original statue was in the process of being dismantled at press time, a new, even bigger one will take its place later this year. If you think giant mechs are overkill, nearby Aqua City mall has a replica 50s American diner and a very real modern-day Taco Bell. If looking for a more scenic sit-down restaurant, Decks Tokyo Beach has several floors of eateries with dining rooms facing the sunset-favoring bay.