It is with some degree of certainty that a visit to Tokyo would more than likely include a stopover in Odaiba, a popular shopping and entertainment district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay. https://traveldreamscapes.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/odaiba-japan/
Odaiba originated as a set of small man-made fort islands (daiba literally means “fort”), constructed towards the end of the Edo Period. Their purpose was to protect Tokyo from impending naval attacks. More than a century later, the small islands were joined into larger islands by massive landfills, and Tokyo began an optimistic development project aimed to turn the islands into a futuristic residential and business district. But development was critically slowed after the burst of the “bubble economy” in the early 1990s, leaving Odaiba nearly abandoned.
It was not until the second half of the 1990s, when several hotels, shopping malls and the Yurikamome elevated train line were introduced, 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.
However, from a tourist’s point of view, the most interesting shopping areas located in Odaiba has to be Venus Fort. http://www.venusfort.co.jp/
Opened in 1999 inside Palette Town, Venus Fort was designed to resemble a 17th century European city and serve as a venerable shopping paradise for younger women. Venus Fort is separated into three floor themes: Venus FAMILY, Venus GRAND, and Venus Outlet! The second floor, Venus GRAND has a painted ceiling that is illuminated throughout the day to reflect day and night. For those of you who have been to Las Vegas, this floor is very reminiscent of the Venetian Hotel with its painted ceiling and canals. On the third floor, Venus FAMILY floor there is an arcade, pet stores, gift shops and best of all, a mini theme park known as Hello Kitty’s Kawaii Paradise. The theme park includes a gift shop, restaurant and play area designed to please the young and the young at heart. Venus Fort has approximately 170 boutiques and restaurants and boasts having Japan’s biggest lavatory with 64 stalls. If that doesn’t please the ladies who hate to wait in line to use the facilities, I don’t know what will!
Now in its 15th year and flanked by other trendier shopping areas like Aqua City, Venus Fort still continues to attract locals and tourists throughout the year. But, one of the more enjoyable times to visit is during the holiday illumination event which typically runs from November 1st through mid-March. The holiday lights come on at noon and come on every one hour and 30 minutes until 10:30 PM. The pure white lights above Fountain Square resemble snow descending to the ground. There is also a Christmas tree that appears to float on air!
The mall also hosts a Christmas Market from Dec. 6th – Christmas day offering holiday goods and special holiday food items (tabemono/ nomimono). A live musical performance by various artists is featured on December 24th and 25th at 4:00 PM and again at 6:00 PM.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Tokyo during the holiday season, why not spend a day at Odaiba and make a point of visiting Venus Fort. You will be glad that you did. Happy holidays!