The Odaiba Tokyo neighbourhood lies on a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay and it’s one of the only places in the city where you can access the ocean. The island was build as a set of man made forts to defend Tokyo after American warships forced Japan into trade agreements in 1853.
More than a century later, the small islands were joined into larger islands by massive landfills and a massive futuristic residential and business district was planned in the 1980’s. However, due to the financial crisis in the 1990’s, most of Odaiba was left vacant.
Nowadays, several hotels, shopping malls and the Yurikamome elevated train line opened up to the public and turned the future of Odaiba into a bright one again. If you’re a lover of architecture, this is the place to see incredible buildings as the Fuji TV Building, Telecom Center and Tokyo Big Sight.
If you’re looking for a good place to shop in Tokyo where it’s not so crowded as in Shibuya or Harajuku, then Odaiba is a good option for you! Odaiba is also very green, with motorized and pedestrian traffic separated through elevated walkways. Besides great shopping, Odaiba is also a great place to admire the skyline of Tokyo, and you’ll find many entertainment complexes.
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WHAT TO DO IN ODAIBA, TOKYO?
If you are planning a visit to this part of Tokyo and are wondering what things to do in Odaiba, here are some of our suggestions:
1. Fuji TV Building
This building is the headquarters of Fuji Television, one of Japan’s private, nationwide TV stations. I didn’t get the chance to visit inside, but you will find some exhibits on popular programs and can buy Fuji TV goods at their shop. Don’t miss the observation deck in the big ball on the building!
Opening Hours: 10AM to 6PM, closed Mondays
2. Aquacity Odaiba
This shopping mall has a lot of different stores and restaurants for you, so it’s definitely worth checking out. There is also a cinema and most interesting: the 5th floor features a Ramen food theme park! From the wooden deck out front, you have a good view on the Rainbow Bridge.
Opening Hours: 11AM to 9PM, Restaurants 11AM to 11PM (some restaurants even later), every day
3. Decks Tokyo Beach
This small shopping mall offers again different stores and restaurants, but it also has some indoor theme parks! Why not visit Tokyo Joypolis, a trick art museum, the Legoland Discovery Center or the Madam Tussauds wax museum?
Opening Hours: 11AM to 9PM (shops and restaurants), every day
When I visited in 2006, there was also a HongKong theme park on the top floor, but I believe this has now closed.
4. DiverCity Tokyo Plaza
Yet another shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Opened in 2012, so I haven’t visited this unfortunately. Apparently, it features the “Gundam Front Tokyo”, which is based on an anime series and has various attractions and a shop. There is a massive robot out front as well, how cool?!
Opening hours: 10AM to 9PM (shops), 11AM to 11PM (restaurants), and 10AM to 9PM (Gundam Front Tokyo), every day
5. Rainbow Bridge
This (somewhat familiar looking) bridge connects Odaiba to mainland-Tokyo. Definitely make sure to see it at night, as it’s all lit up then. Still not quite sure why they have the Statue of Liberty in front of it (see image at the top of this page), but hey, looks good!
6. Palette Town
Palette Town is a (oh yes, another) large shopping and entertainment complex. Within it, you can find the Venus Fort shopping mall, Toyota Mega Web, a Ferris Wheel, the Zepp Tokyo music venue and Tokyo Leisureland.
The Ferris Wheel is 115 meters and one of the world’s largest, so you can imagine to have great views over Tokyo. Leisureland features a large game arcade, karaoke, many sports games and a food court. There even is a haunted house!
Opening Hours: 10AM to 10PM, all days (Ferris Wheel) and 10AM to 11:50PM, all days (Leisureland)
7. Venus Fort
This shopping mall is designed in the style of a 18th century South European town and looks amazing! Again, you’ll find hundreds of shops and restaurants, but the atmosphere is just really nice.
Opening Hours: 11AM to 9PM, restaurants open until 11PM, all days
8. Toyota Mega Web
This is a giant Toyota showroom, where you can see all the latest models, accessories and technologies. There is a car museum and you can even go for a test drive here.
Opening Hours: 11AM to 9PM
9. Tokyo Big Sight
This building is Japan’s largest exhibition and convention center. Definitely a must-visit for architecture lovers! There are many events held here all year round, like the Tokyo International Anime Fair and the Tokyo Motor Show.
10. Panasonic Center
This showroom brings you all the latest products and technologies by the Panasonic Corporation. The place to be if you’re looking for the newest cameras, TVs, computers, Nintendo games and home appliances. On the third floor, there is also a math and science museum, called Risupia.
Opening Hours: 10AM to 6PM, closed Mondays
11. Telecom Center Area
I haven’t visited this area myself, but besides the Telecom Center itself (with observation deck), the Museum of Maritime Science (while the main building is closed for renewal, you can still go onto the ships), the National Museum of Emerging Science (Interactive and bilingual science museum) and Oedo Onsen Monogatari (Hot spring theme park which reproduces the atmosphere of the Edo Period).
Opening Hours: 11AM to 9PM Weekend and 3PM to 9PM Weekdays, closed Mondays (Telecom Center Observation Deck) // 10AM to 5PM, closed Mondays (Museum of Maritime Science) // 10AM to 5PM, closed Tuesdays (National Museum of Emerging Science) // 11AM to 9AM (yes, next morning), discount when entering after 6PM, overnight fee when entering after 2AM (Oedo Onsen Monogatari)
And that’s a wrap for our Odaiba Neighbourhood Guide! What would be the most interesting spot in Odaiba to visit? Let us know!
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