Today, Japlanning are giving you the lowdown on one of the newer areas of Tokyo, right in the heart of Tokyo Bay, Odaiba. Odaiba is a major tourism and leisure zone for Tokyo with shopping, dining and attractions for the whole family. Come take a look at what Odaiba has to offer, and see why you should plan a trip out to the bay for your next trip to Tokyo.
Odaiba’s origins date back to 1853 when six island fortresses were constructed to protect Edo (then-Tokyo) from sea attacks. Over the years, the islands were connected via large landfills, and in the 80’s development plans were launched to make Odaiba a new showcase of futuristic living and business districts, however when the sky high economy of the early eighties burst in the nineties, Odaiba was left vacant.
Odaiba sat fairly vacant until the latter half of the nineties, when hotels, shopping malls and the elevated train network were opened on the network of islands. Since the revitalization of the island, it fast became one of Tokyo’s biggest tourist draws, with many iconic buildings, such as the Tokyo Big Sight, Fuji TV building, as well as shopping, dining and world class tourist attractions, springing up on the islands. Odaiba is now a must visit for an afternoon or evening whilst in Tokyo.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular sights:
Being built as an island for entertainment and business, some of Japan’s biggest companies have taken up residence on Odaiba to have showcases of their products and future innovations. As a foreigner, these are a must to check out, as you will see some amazing products that may never make it to your own shores. If you love TV, be sure to check out the most iconic building on the island, Fuji TV. It’s the nation’s biggest television network, and they have free exhibitions on many popular Japanese programs. Its bright, fun and hilarious.
Perhaps cars are more your thing? Then make your way over to Toyota Mega Web! This mammoth exhibition centre shows off their latest vehicles, concept cars, and even lets you test drive many, as well as drive a concept electric car throughout the complex through tunnels and bridges everywhere. You can check out their long history as well at the Toyota History Garage.
Let your inner geek free at the Panasonic Center, this glass show building has all innovations that are from Panasonic, from future products to current lines, as well as the most amazing massage chairs which they will drag you from, to get you to leave. Panasonic also show off their green earth concepts, and explain how they are working towards becoming a green innovation company.
Another big showcase centre on the island is the Tokyo Big Sight, which is another iconic building known for its spectacular futuristic architecture, and for being the biggest exhibition centre in Tokyo, which is home to many expos, like the world famous Tokyo Anime Fair, Tokyo Toy Fair and the Tokyo Motor Show.
Fuji TV is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am-6pm. Take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Daiba station.
Official site: http://www.fujitv.co.jp/en/visit_fujitv.html
Toyota Mega Web is open daily, from 11am-9pm. Take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Aomi station.
Official site: http://www.megaweb.gr.jp/About/en.html
Panasonic Center is open daily, from 10am-6pm and closed on Mondays. Take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Ariake station.
Tokyo Big Sight is open when events are on. Take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Kokusai Tenjo Seimon Station.
Looking for somewhere to relax while in Tokyo? Well you need to come down to Odeo Onsen Monogatari. Located on Odaiba, it’s like a spa theme park! Opening in 2003, the hot spring complex is all themed to the 1800’s Edo period in Tokyo. Inside you can experience over 14 varieties of natural spring baths, where the water is sourced from 1,400 meters underground. The onsen has both indoors and outdoor baths, and an amazing foot bath, set in a Japanese-style garden, which is just the greatest thing you will experience after a few days of walking around Tokyo. All are welcome at Odeo, with everyone welcome to walk around in Japanese robes and enjoy the many shops, restaurants and even an arcade. Make sure you bring your PJs, as overnight stays are also available.
Odeo Onsen Monogatari is open from daily from 11:00am till 9:00am the next day (Closed 11pm once a month for cleaning). Admission costs 1,980 yen for adults, and 900 yen for children. After 6pm entry costs are 1,480 yen for adults and 900 yen for children. Admission after 2am is 1700 yen for all.
The best access to Odeo Onsen Monogatari is take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Telecom Center Station.
Official Site - http://www.ooedoonsen.jp/higaeri/english/index.html
We almost skipped past this attraction, however it is simply too amazing to not give a mention. The National Museum of Emerging Science (aka The Miraikan) is one of the most unique museums we have been to, in the world. This museum is filled with highly interactive exhibits in many languages, and shows all kinds of examples of how cutting edge science and technology and people are connected. The Miraikan has exhibits about everything in the realm of science and technology, from IT to robots, all the way to space exploration -- they cover it all, in an amazingly interactive way that is an absolute joy for children, and just as fun for adults.
The Miraikan is open daily from 10:00am till 5:00pm, and is closed on Tuesdays and from 28 Dec - 1 Jan. Admission is 600 yen. The best access to Odeo Onsen Monogatari is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Telecom Center Station.
Official Site - http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/
Odaiba is filled with some fun filled attractions for everyone, inside Decks you will find a cluster of them scattered across the complex, but making an easy way to see a lot in one place!
First up with have the biggest attraction, Sega Joypolis. This indoor theme park is brought to life by the imaginations of the people at Sega. Come see Sonic the Hedgehog, then jump on one of the craziest indoor coasters ever that is also a shooting game. Everything here is themed around video games, with many rides having scoring or racing elements. The complex is over three levels, it is loud, colourful and filled with video games, rides, and more. A must for any Sega fan or Amusement Park Fan.
Next up is a fairly new addition, Tokyo’s own Madam Tussauds Wax Museum. Come get snap happy with wax figures of celebrities, both western and Japanese, as well as political figures and more.
Another new addition to the Decks complex is the Legoland Discovery Center. This is a child’s heaven, with all things Lego, Lego-themed attractions, and a 4D theatre -- you could lose your kids for hours to this place! All your favorite Lego characters are here, with many having their own rides, and don’t forget to see miniland, with replicas of famous buildings around the world.
The final attraction in the Decks complex is the Tokyo Trick Art Gallery. Located on the fourth floor, this isn’t your ordinary gallery, with all art being illusions, you’re encouraged to get photos with them (and in them)! There is more than 45 exhibits along the path through the gallery, and they all create illusions that will make you look twice!
On the other side of Odaiba, in the Palette Town complex is Leisureland. This mammoth entertainment complex has everything you would expect from Japan: one of the biggest game arcades you will ever see, bowling alleys, baseball batting cages, you can do a round of Karaoke here, play table tennis or air hockey, there is even a ninja themed illusion house, and a haunted house! You could easily lose hours in here without seeing daylight.
Sega Joypolis is open daily from 10:00am till 11:00pm. Admission is between 800Y-3900Y for adults and 300Y-2900Y for children. The best way to get to Joypolis is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Daiba station.
Official Site - http://tokyo-joypolis.com/language/english/
Madam Tussauds Wax Museum is open daily from 10:00am till 9:00pm (last admission is 7:00pm). Admission is 1900Y for adults and 1500Y for children. The best way to get to Madame Tussauds is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Daiba station.
Official Site - http://www.madametussauds.com/Tokyo/en/Default.aspx
Legoland Discovery Center is open daily from 10:00am till 9:00pm (last admission is 7:00pm). Admission is 2000Y for everyone. The best way to get to Legoland is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Daiba station.
Official Site - http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.jp/tokyo/en/
Tokyo Trick Art Gallery is open daily from 11:00am to 9:00pm. Admission is 900Y for adults and 600Y for children. The best way to get to the Tokyo Trick Art Gallery is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Daiba station.
Official Site - http://www.trickart.info (in Japanese)
Leisureland is open daily from 10:00am till midnight (some parts are open 24hrs). Admission to the complex is free, games and attractions are paid per play. The best way to get to the Tokyo Trick Art Gallery is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Aomi station.
Official Site -http://www.leisureland.jp/ (in Japanese)
Shopping is big on Odaiba, with shopping malls all over the island. Next door to Decks we have Aqua City, which houses big brands over many floors, as well as a 12-screen cinema. The fifth floor houses a ramen food theme park, where you can taste ramen from all over Japan, and other specialty restaurants, with amazing views of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Bay.
Just a short walk from Aqua City is the newest shopping experience in Odaiba, DiverCity Tokyo Plaza. This new mega-complex is filled with shopping -- with big names Zara, Forever 21, Old Navy, Gap, and Uniqlo all having flagship stores, as well as many dining options, and also entertainment sections. The big attraction here is the life-sized Gundam Robot standing guard out front, from the world famous anime series. There is also a Gundam Café by it.
Lastly, on the other side of Odaiba is Palette Town. This huge complex houses the themed shopping experience Venus Fort, which is themed to 18th century Italy with more than a hundred stores, ranging from high-end retailers to outlet stores. The complex also houses the namesake, Palette Town Ferris Wheel, that can be seen from central Tokyo, with breathtaking views. The complex also houses Toyota Mega Web and Tokyo Leisureland.
Aqua City is open from 11:00am to 9:00pm daily, with restaurants staying open later. The best way to get to Aqua City is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Daiba station.
Official Site - http://www.aquacity.jp/en/top
DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is open from 10:00am to 9:00pm daily, with restaurants staying open later. The best way to get to the Aqua City is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Daiba station, than walk about 300 meters to DiverCity.
Official Site - http://www.aquacity.jp/en/top
Palette Town is open from 11:00am to 9:00pm, with restaurants and other facilities staying open later. The best way to get to the Tokyo Trick Art Gallery is to take the Yurikamome train line, which travels around Odaiba Island, and disembark at Aomi station.
Official Site - http://www.palette-town.com (in Japanese)
Odaiba is an electric part of Tokyo with amazing sights, shopping and fun for everyone, from toddlers to the oldest members of the family. You can easily spend a day out here with so many high quality things to do. Be sure to bring plenty of yen purely for the shopping (Especially if you’re on the impulsive side!)
Have you been to Odaiba while in Tokyo? What were your favourite parts of this newer area?
Let us know in the comments below!