Fuji Television Building (Photo: Michael Kaplan May 2006)

Welcome to Odaiba

Odaiba area in Tokyo

Fuji Television Building (Photo: Michael Kaplan May 2006)
Michael Kaplan   - 3 min read

Odaiba is a popular Tokyo hotspot for shopping and entertainment. Located in the heart of Tokyo Bay, Odaiba was originally part of a collection of man-made fortified islands that were built during the end of the Edo Period to protect the bay from attack.

Over a century later, this string of islands was joined together when the spaces between them were filled in to lay the foundation of a futuristic business and residential area during the 1980s. The collapse of the Japanese economy, however, left the area abandoned and bankrupt until small shopping malls and hotels populated it a decade later. Today, Odaiba has developed into a thriving tourist attraction that offers its visitors a wide selection of world-class restaurants, shopping and other leisure activities.

Prepare to enter the 22nd century! Since its construction in the early 1990s, Odaiba has been transformed from an abandoned island into a shrine for futuristic designs and technologies. It was designed to be a world only thought to exist in science fiction. It features more than a dozen boldly designed buildings that include the Telecom Center, Tokyo Big Sight and the Fuji TV Building. It is impossible to see and enjoy all of Odaiba's attractions in a single day.

Almost everything in Odaiba was designed to represent a futuristic version of Japan. The National Museum of Emerging Science has recently made headlines for its highly advanced robotics exhibit, which includes Asimo, the world's most advanced humanoid robot. Another well-known robot is the 18-meter Gundam statue built in front of the newly opened Diver City. The giant robot, or mecha, was constructed on a 1:1 scale with the original robots featured in the cult classic series called Gundam.

Reaching Odaiba can be an adventure in itself! There are several ways to get there, and all of them involve a breathtaking view of the waterfront area and Tokyo harbor. Odaiba offers visitors the unique opportunity to walk, ride a train or take a boat ride to the island. If you're planning on walking, you can easily reach Odaiba on foot from the Rainbow Bridge. The walk is not particularly long; averaging between thirty and forty-five minutes each way, but it can be very windy. The walking path begins a short distance from Shibaura-futo Station and the return trip begins at the Odaiba Kaihinkoen Station. For added safety, the walking path is for pedestrians only, meaning that no bicycles are allowed.

By Train: Try the Yurikamome, a marvel of technology in itself. This fully automated train connects Shimbashi Station on the mainland with all of Odaiba's popular attractions. The Yurikamome leaves the station every 15-20 minutes. If you plan on riding the Yurikamome, try to find a spot near the front of the train for the best views of the harbor.

By Boat: The most scenic way to reach Odaiba, the Tokyo Water Bus operates every 20 minutes, and it ferries people to and from Hinode Pier to Odaiba Seaside Park. Keep your eyes on the water; if you're lucky you might be able to see some dolphins playing near the boat.

Michael Kaplan

Michael Kaplan @michael.kaplan

I am an American living in Tokyo and love it! I am the director of The American Guitar Academy which is the premier place in Tokyo to take guitar lessons/classes. http://www.theamericanguitaracademy.com/