Odaiba, Japan is a large man-made island in Tokyo Bay. Initially constructed in the 1850s for defensive purposes, today’s Odaiba is a popular sightseeing and shopping destination for locals and tourists alike.
The island is easily accessible by public transportation. Route 11 (Shuto Expressway) crosses the Rainbow Bridge and can be accessed from central Tokyo. Further, ferries running along the Sumida River connect Odiaba and Asakusa.
Rainbow Bridge, completed on Aug 26, 1993, serves as the gateway to Odaiba and is considered one of the most beautiful modern bridges in Japan. It is 2,618 ft. long and spans 1,903 ft. It was officially called the “Shuto Expressway No. 11 Daiba Route – Port of Tokyo Connector Bridge,” but the name was changed to the ‘Rainbow Bridge” as decided by the public. The name comes from the 444 solar-powered lights which illuminate the bridge after dark, bathing the white supporting towers in red, white, blue and green.
Another easily recognizable architectural wonder in Odaiba is the Fuji Television Studios building designed by Kenzo Tange. The building which looks as though it was constructed out of tinkertoys has a giant ball suspended within the structure that is home to an expensive Chinese restaurant. Studio tours are available to the public but are offered only in Japanese. Access to the observatory is available for ¥500 but you can catch some nice views from the second-highest story of the builing for free!
A few steps from the train station is the Aqua City shopping center. (http://www.aquacity.jp/en/top) Here you will find stores, restaurants, a large cineplex, Fuji Television’s kid’s café and the Aqua City Odiaba Shrine dedicated to a god that grants 7 wishes!
Right next door to Aqua City is the Odaiba Marine Park, home to one of two beaches within mainland Tokyo. A boardwalk runs along the beach often frequented by couples who consider this spot to be one of the most romantic places in Tokyo. This is also where you will find a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty, a very popular photo taking spot for locals and tourists.
Within walking distance from Aqua City you will find Diver City Tokyo Plaza. (http://www.divercity-tokyo.com/en/) This entertainment venue not only offers visitors a multitude of shopping, dinning, entertainment and relaxation opportunities but there are usually live performances by Japan’s leading entertainers here. On the day we visited Odiaba, Yoko Gushiken, a retired Japanese professional boxer who is now an entertainer with Ohta Productions was scheduled to make an appearance.
Finally, we had the opportunity to visit Palette Town, with the 377 ft. ferris wheel, Daikanransha. When it opened in 1999, it was considered the world’s tallest ferris wheel until the unveiling of the London Eye on December 31, 1999 which measured 443 ft. Daikanransha spins slowly providing breathtaking views of Tokyo Tower, Rainbow Bridge, and Haneda Airport, as well as central Tokyo, during the 16-minute ride. The ride costs ¥900 per person or an entire 6-person gondola can be rented for ¥3000.
Odaiba has many attractions and you could easily spend a couple of days exploring them. After spending just a few hours there, we only managed to touch the tip of the iceberg!