Odaiba

Odaiba

お台場

Odaiba is a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man made island in Tokyo Bay. This artificial island first originated as a set of small man made fort islands.
The Kanji “daiba”, literally means “fort”, and these were built towards the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868) to protect Tokyo against possible attacks from the sea and specifically in response to the gunboat diplomacy of Commodore Perry.
More than a century later, the small islands were joined into larger islands by massive landfills, and Tokyo began a spectacular development project aimed to turn the islands into a futuristic residential and business district during the extravagant 1980s.
But development was critically slowed after the burst of the “bubble economy” in the early 1990s, leaving Odaiba nearly vacant.
It was not until the second half of the 1990s, when several hotels, shopping malls and the Yurikamome elevated train line were opened.
Talk about date spots, look who’s on a date!
It was then that Odaiba developed into one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist attractions and date spots with a wide selection of shopping, dining and leisure options.
Despite the initial setbacks, several lavish development projects did materialize, including some of Tokyo’s boldest architectural creations, such as the Fuji TV Building, Telecom Center and Tokyo Big Sight.
Modern city planning furthermore provides Odaiba with plenty of green space and a pleasant division of motorized and pedestrian traffic using elevated walkways and the like.

Statue of Liberty?!

For those who visit Odaiba, getting off a monorail and seeing a replica of America’s famous statue right in front of you might be slightly weird.  But this replica has little to do with the original Statue of Liberty that’s in New York.
It is a replica of one that was in Odaiba in the late nineties made to celebrate Japan’s ties with France but it was only there for one year, from 1998 to 1999.  It was so popular however, that a replica of that statue was created and has been there ever since.  Getting it back was a pretty astute move really, as it is very popular.
It is a great place for some fantastic photos, especially if the weather is good.
You can get the city skyline, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Sky Tree and Rainbow Bridge – all together, in the background.
Of course, there are a few places to take some impressive shots with those landmarks.
One is from right under it, on the wooden deck that stretches around it. Another is from the Aqua City shopping center, up outdoors on the second level, you’ll be standing on the same height as the statue and be able to get every landmark in your photos.
Odaiba has a few very pleasant hotels, especially the Hotel Nikko Tokyo and Grand Pacific Le Daiba, that come with a certain resort atmosphere.
For tourists however, the area’s downside as a base is its somewhat isolated location from the rest of the city.
Here’re a list of attractions in Odaiba, below.
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Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow Bridge connects Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo.
The two story bridge is an iconic symbol of the bay and is especially beautiful during its nightly illumination.
The bridge supports an expressway, a regular road, the Yurikamome train line and pedestrian walkways along both sides.
 
Information
Hours: 10:00am to 21:00pm
Closed: No closing days
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Palette Town

Palette Town is a large shopping and entertainment complex consisting of the Venus Fort shopping mall, Toyota Mega Web, a Ferris Wheel, the Zepp Tokyo music venue and Tokyo Leisureland.

Venus Fort

Venus Fort is a shopping mall in the style of a 18th century South European town. To be specific, Venice.
The mall features over a hundred shops, fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants on three floors including a few outlets shops on the upper floor.
If you’ve been to the Venetian in Macau and the one in Las Vegas, you’ll know what I’m talking about, they are all similar in that sense.
 
Information
Hours: 11:00am to 21:00pm
Restaurants: 11:00am to 23:00pm
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free

Toyota Mega Web

Mega Web is a giant Toyota showroom that shows off all of Toyota’s latest models, car accessories and technologies.
Part of the Pallette town complex, attractions in Toyota Mega Web include test driving of cars (requires driving license valid for Japan) and a museum exhibiting cars from past decades.
 
Information
Hours: 11:00am to 21:00pm
Closed: Small number of irregular closing days
Admission: Free – Test rides: ¥300 yen
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Fuji TV Building

The headquarters of Fuji Television, one of Japan’s private, nationwide TV stations. You can see some exhibits on popular programs, buy Fuji TV goods at a shop and access the futuristic looking building’s observatory deck housed in the sphere shaped part of the building.
 
Information
Hours: 10:00am to 20:00pm
Closed: Mondays
Admission: Free – Access to observation deck fee: ¥500
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Decks Tokyo Beach

Decks Tokyo Beach is a shopping mall featuring various stores, restaurants, retro-themed shopping arcades and multiple indoor theme parks, including the popular Tokyo Joypolis which reopened in July 2012 after renovations.
All kinds of shops and restaurants, make up a giant mall on an island. This is called “Decks” because there are wooden decks outside the mall that provide a great view of Rainbow Bridge.
Other theme parks in the area is a Legoland Discovery Center, a Madam Tussauds Wax Museum and a Trick Art Museum.
Speaking of museums, a Takoyaki Museum here doubles as a food theme park, serving many different versions of Takoyaki. The Takoyaki Museum is the larger counterpart to it’s twin, in Universal City, Osaka.
However, the Hong Kong “themed” food theme park and the Muscle Park have closed since 2010.
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Daiba Icho-me Shopping Street

This themed area aims to re-create the Japan of the 1950s with a number of old fashioned shops.
In the game corner, there are Pinball machines, Pachinko and other old fashioned games from that time, as well as retro video games, such as Space Invaders.
There are also candy vending machines and a very terrifying walk-through ghost house, known as Daiba: School of the Strange.
People who are not familiar with the old days of Tokyo will definitely be able to enjoy a slice of nostalgia here, in Daiba Icho-me Shopping Street – situated inside Decks Tokyo Beach.
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Information
Shops: 11:00am to 21:00pm
Restaurants: 11:00am to 24:00am
Theme Parks: various hours
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free – Admission fees for theme parks not included
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Sega Joypolis

Tokyo Joypolis refers to the huge indoor amusement park in Odaiba Decks, Tokyo. Built by mega video game developers, Sega. Sega Joypolis definitely has a bit of a rock-n-roll vibe you’ll get, as soon as you walk in. It’s dimly-lit, organized yet chaotic.
In total, there are two Sega Joypolis theme parks in Japan.
The other being in western Japan, is Sega Joypolis in HEP 5 Umeda, Osaka.
Joypolis Sega features the very latest in video games and high-tech virtual-reality attractions and is thus perfect for any entertainment seeking child or teenager.
This extremely sophisticated virtual world of virtual fun has all the types of games one might dream of.
Bobsledding and car races, numerous aeronautical battle games, and the very best virtual-reality equipment of the industry. Here, you’ll get to try some of Joypolis Sega’s several virtual reality rides, which include sky-diving for those who don’t particularly want the real thing,
Working our way up, there was an incredibly fun racing game called “Storm-G”, it was a spaceship racing simulator that’s definitely worth a mention! At the beginning of the ride, the staff explain everything to you in Japanese, after which you can proceed to choose a regular or advanced course.
The advanced course means that your spaceship will do more rolling maneuvers. I’m sure you probably know, but everyone in queue probably wants their spaceship to roll as much as possible, and roll we did! When I say roll, I meant the actual pod that you’re sitting in, physically does a 360!
This is video game heaven!
You operate your ship using two levers and a two buttons. To move left, you had to push the left lever forward while pulling the right lever towards you and vice versa to move right, and your ship would respond in turn.
To speed up, you had to push both levers forward, and to slow down, you had to pull both levers back. If you’re into game simulators, go! And even if you’re not, You’ve gotta try this at least once!!
Rides like, “Sky Cruising”, “Wild River” are both simulators, using clever videography and a shifting room to create the illusion of flying/swimming, falling and crashing into things.
If you’ve ever been to Disneyland, I would liken it to the Star Wars attraction that makes you feel like you’re flying/swimming or moving at light speed. Some people think rides like this are cheesy, but I like them.
Taking up real estate in Sega Joypolis, was Half Pipe Canyon. There were these brightly colored boards, made for two people – whooshing up and down this huge half pipe. It genuinely looked like a blast.
But what you don’t realize, until you’re strapped in and moving that is, is how high up this thing really goes! Once my board reached it’s highest points, I got that thrill-ride, stomach flip with every descent.
It’s really cool!
Half Pipe Canyon is about half thrill-ride, one-fourth interactive, and one-fourth competition. While you’re screaming with your partner, you have to trigger these foot pedals in tandem at just the right moments to get your board to spin.
At the same time, there are screens showing how many points you have accumulated. The total points accumulated at the end, correspond to how good of a boarder you are.
 
Information
Hours: 10:00am to 23:00pm
Closed: No closing days
Admission: ¥800 (Admission only) / ¥3900 (Admission & all rides included)
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Aquacity Odaiba

Aquacity is a shopping mall featuring various stores, boutiques, restaurants, cafes and a 13-screen cinema complex. The fifth floor houses a Ramen food theme park where you can try different Ramen from all over Japan, similar to the Ramen Museum, in Shin Yokohama.
There are nice views of the Rainbow Bridge from the wooden deck in front of Aquacity and neighboring Decks.
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Information
Hours: 11:00am to 21:00pm
Restaurants: 11:00am to 23:00pm
Closed: No closing days
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Big Sight Area

Tokyo Big Sight

Also known as Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokyo Big Sight is Japan’s largest exhibition and convention center and one of the bay islands’ boldest architectural creations. A wide array of events are held at the Big Sight throughout the year including the Tokyo International Anime Fair, the Comiket comic fair and the Tokyo Motor Show.
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Information
Hours and admission fees depend on the specific events.

Tokyo International Anime Fair

Known as the Tokyo International Anime Fair until 2013, AnimeJapan is an annual tradeshow held at Odaiba’s Big Sight convention center. It is the premier convention of the Japanese animation industry and one of the largest animation related events in the world.
AnimeJapan is typically attended by several hundred Japanese and foreign TV and film production companies, as well as toy, game and software developers. In the past, the fair was held over a four day period in March, with two days reserved for members of the industry and media only; however, from 2014 the event will be shortened to a two day format completely open to the general public.
The majority of the floor space at Tokyo Big Sight is devoted to exhibition space featuring numerous booths by Japanese production companies, such as Toei Animation, Bandai Namco and Tezuka Productions, as well as foreign companies from around the world.
Larger booths feature their own theaters and stages, and host live shows and special appearances by anime and manga creators as well as character actors that voice the parts.
Another third of the exhibition space will be given over to AnimeJapan’s three main stages where various shows, concerts and other stage events will be held throughout the exposition. However, the stage events tend to be popular so to prevent overcrowding, entry to the audience areas will be determined by lottery.
Various other attractions hosted by the event organizers can be found around the convention center. They include theaters that show popular and landmark anime; stages for smaller shows, concerts, interviews, and other events; learning zones that introduce anime to the uninitiated, and an official shop.
In addition, the convention will again feature a cosplay zone with changing rooms, photography spaces and a cloakroom. Rental costumes will also be available for those who do not bring or wish to use their own.
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Tokyo Motor Show

The Tokyo Motor Show is one of the world’s top motor shows, taking place every two years. It introduces new cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles for the total motor vehicle experience. Previously held at Makuhari Messe, the show has since 2011 been held at Tokyo Big Sight, on Odaiba.
The Tokyo Motor Show features the latest production vehicles of domestic and international brands, including many concept cars. Many of the featured vehicles have their world debut here, and that, combined with the show’s demonstrations and hands on events, offers visitors a chance to see and experience some of the latest in vehicle engineering, passenger safety and green technology.
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Passenger Vehicles
Passenger vehicles comprise the bulk of the show with many leading manufacturers exhibiting their latest models. You can get inside, touch and explore many of the cars on display. Several makers, especially domestic ones, showcase concept vehicles, showing off their cutting edge technologies.
 
Commercial Vehicles
The commercial vehicles section includes top makers of buses, trucks and vans. You can climb inside many of the vehicles and learn about the newest features and accessories that allow them to do their jobs more easily and safely.
You can also see various concept models representing the latest technology in commercial vehicles.
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Motorcycles
Major motorcycle makers such as Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki show their latest and greatest models, many of which you can get on. Many makers display their entire model line, and you can also see racing motorcycles and the latest concept models.
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Parts, Tools, Tires and Entertainment 
The latest and most advanced parts, tools, tires and vehicle entertainment systems are displayed throughout the convention halls. You can see some of the latest technology that goes into making new vehicles safer and easier to use, as well as advanced audio, visual and navigation systems that makes driving more enjoyable.
The Tokyo Motor Show also offers hands on experiences that vary from show to show, and typically include test drives of passenger vehicles and motorcycles, as well as ride-along(s) in alternative fuel passenger and commercial vehicles.
Additionally, the show has displays and special exhibition which in past years have included the history of motoring, carrozzeria exhibits and demonstrations by the Chiba Prefectural Police, professional trick motorcyclists and commercial and emergency vehicles.
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Panasonic Center

The Panasonic Center is a showroom for the latest products and technologies by the Panasonic Corporation. On display are the newest cameras, TVs, computers, Nintendo games, home appliances and more. The third floor is Risupia, a hands-on math and science museum.
 
Information
Hours: 10:00am to 18:00pm
Closed: Mondays and New Year holidays
Admission: Free – Admission to Risupia: ¥500
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Access

Access to Odaiba can be an attraction in itself, as the views of the Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo’s harbor and waterfront area from the Yurikamome elevated train and boats are quite spectacular. Furthermore, it is also possible to walk across the Rainbow Bridge.
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By Yurikamome (Monorail)
The Yurikamome is an automated, 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 Yurakucho Subway Line.
Trains depart every few minutes, and a ride between Shimbashi and Daiba Station takes 15 minutes and costs ¥310. If you happen to ride the Yurikamome more than twice, a one day pass for ¥800 is likely to cost less than regular fares.
The Yurikamome crosses the Rainbow Bridge to get to Odaiba and offers spectacular views of the harbor and the Tokyo waterfront. Sit or stand at the very front of the train for the most impressive views.
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By Rinkai Line (Train)
The Rinkai Line connects Osaki Station on the JR Yamanote Line with Shin-Kiba Station on the JR Keiyo Line, stopping at the Tokyo Teleport and Kokusai Tenjijo underground stations on Odaiba along the way. Some trains on the JR Saikyo Line continue to run on the Rinkai Line and provide direct connections between Shinjuku, Shibuya and Odaiba.
The ride from Shinjuku to Tokyo Teleport Station on Odaiba takes 25 minutes and costs ¥480.
Access by Boat
Tokyo Water Bus operates boats between Odaiba Seaside Park and Hinode Pier: 20 minutes, ¥460, 1-2 boats per hour. Connections to Asakusa are available. Direct boats connect Asakusa and Odaiba less frequently: 50 minutes, ¥1520.
Furthermore, there are boats from Hinode Pier to Palette Town and Tokyo Big Sight.
 
Access by Foot
It is possible to cross the Rainbow Bridge on foot. The walk across takes about 30-45 minutes and offers nice views of the waterfront area.
The pedestrian path begins a short walk from Shibaura-futo Station along the Yurikamome on the “Tokyo side” of the bridge, while Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station is the nearest station on the “Odaiba side”
Note that the pedestrian walkways gets closed during the night: 21:00pm to 09:00am.
The pedestrian walkways are also closed from December 29 to 31, during the Tokyo Bay Fireworks Display and during bad weather.
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hidekiuriel

About Joshua Hideki

Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Welcome!!~ This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life. Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style. A travel guide for everyone with these passions. Absorb the mesmerizing atmosphere, take in amazing sights & let the enchanting ambiance take you away as you embrace different cultures & see the world through my eyes - my Eternal Memories. Visit my Blog at: JoshuaHideki.com ! Come discover Japan from the inside with me and also we'll provide you with the best destinations to visit; and that includes the rest of the World too! Please enjoy! Discover Japan & Travel the World with me!! Life is precious, you only have one so live it to the fullest!

10 thoughts on “Odaiba

  1. wow thankyou so much for this long & collective post! i am so going to use this info when i go to japan ^^ btw is that your wife? she is amazingly beautiful!

  2. Oh boy, and I thought I had seen the most important stuff in Tokyo when I was there last year. WRONG! 🙂 There’s so much more cool stuff to do, wowza! Very cool post. I hope I’ll get to go back some day to see it all for myself.

    • Thank you so much!! I’m glad my post helped you in some way or another! Feel free to send me some questions if you happen to need any help on sites to visit in Japan, should you come back one day! 🙂

      Best regards,
      Hideki Joshua

      http://www.JoshuaHideki.com

      • Aw, thanks! A personal guide, now THAT would be a treat 🙂 A Japanese friend of mine showed me around Nagoya, but I did Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima by myself. I really loved Japan and I’d love to go back some day. If only it wasn’t so far away and so expensive to get to…

        • You’re welcome! I’m sorry to hear that, at the same time, I’m impressed and happy you managed to cover so much of Japan on your own!! I hope my blog will give you more ideas on places to visit! As for being far away and expensive to get to, its the same for me and Europe!
          I love Europe! <3

          JoshuaHideki.com

  3. Odaiba is a cool place, and I now realise that the last time I was there I hardly saw anything! I will go back. ^^

    • Hi Nagaraboshi-chan!! It definitely is! 🙂 I’m so glad my site inspired you do do more sightseeing in Odaiba! Please feel free to use the information what you do return to japan in future! <3

      http://www.JoshuaHideki.com

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