Palette Town, Odaiba
Just by looking at the Palette Town front entrance sign you know you're entering a House of Fun. And that’s exactly what Palette Town is, but instead of a house of fun it’s an entire town (as the name indicates). Palette Town is split up into the following parts:
- Venus Fort Shops and Restaurants
- Mega Web - Toyota City Showcase
- Universal Design Showcase
- Odaiba Leisure Land & Ferris Wheel
Taking up less than one tenth of the area of Odaiba, Palette Town offers much of the entertainment in one compact space.
Yes, appearances certainly can be deceiving. The Venus Fort gives new meaning to this old saying. Surely when you stand outside at the Mega Web entrance and take in the Venus Fort you'll automatically come to the logical conclusion based on its outward appearance. "It looks like an 80's beat up outlet mall" so therefore, "It must have tacky 80's fashions inside". And so why bother even going in as you know exactly what you'll find. But curiosity pulls you a little and you decide to give the benefit of the doubt and take a look. Once stepping inside at the Grand floor (second floor) you'll swear you just stepped into a portal.
No longer in Tokyo, you find yourself in a Hall during the Renaissance period in Rome, all of the inside shop's store fronts done in faux marble, terra cotta, limestone, hanging cast iron lanterns, faux marble floors, neatly trimmed potted trees. But it doesn't stop there, the entire ceiling is a sky mural which (thanks to the lighting system) turns seamlessly from morning sunrise, to day, to sunset and to night.
Aside from the stunning design, it of course offers an array of shops, from Lego to Ralph Lauren and many fine cafe's and restaurants.
The Toyota City Showcase is loaded with things to see and do, don't be surprised if you spend a couple hours in here alone.
The Toyota City Showcase experience begins in the core of the facility with the "Brand-New Zone". Most of the second floor is devoted to the several rows of new and unique vehicles. Here you can find some of them strictly for show only, for example the: Origami Kimono Car, or the Chinese New Years car. It’s not a stretch to think that they might have had Pikachu and Sailormoon cars here in days long past.
Aside from the cute cars you'll find the next generation of sub-sub-compacts such as the super eco friendly 'IQ' sub-sub-compact, which goes for about $16,000 USD.
Also on the second floor is a corner dedicated to the current host of concept cars. But its more then concept cars, there are even 'personal vehicles', some of which look like a large executive high back chair with wheels. Others look like a mix between go-carts and formula-one race cars. You can also find the next generation of ‘Back to the Future’ style doors, with the new Toyota Fine-x, in which the entire side of the car lifts up, and the seat rotates and slides forward, putting you right outside the car.
For 300 yen you can pick out a car from the Toyota line-up (sorry, no concept cars, or Pikachu mobiles are available) and take it for a spin on their obstacle course. However, quite unfortunately you must posses a Japanese driver's license or an 'Internation Driver's License'
But fear not, if you really really want to ride one then Exploring Tokyo has you covered. Apply here for your International Driver's License:
For more info about Ride One: http://www.megaweb.gr.jp/index
The kids can also ride one, and the good news is they don't need a Japanese license either. These 'mini go cart hybrids' zip around a 150m circuit at a safe speed of 10mph. If you're an adult and you're hoping you can at least give these a go after being turned done at the Ride One for not having a Japanese License, I'm sorry because the only allow little ones to ride these. But there is hope yet, read on about the E-com Ride!
Too old to ride the Kids Hybrid and lacking documentation for the Ride One you can at last find success with the E-com Ride. For 200 yen you can hop inside this super sub compact electric car and go for a fun ride. The only catch however is it drives you, no don't drive it. Even so it is a fun experience as the track even goes through the Showroom, and then outside through the obstacle course.
Motor Sports Square (1st floor)
Taking up a corner on the ground floor is a handful of race cars, including a Formula One.
For no charge you can take a crack at the Racing Motorsports Simulator or the less exciting Safety Simulator which tests your reaction time.
Requiring its own building separate from the Mega Web because its so large, the History Garage houses scores of classic cars from the 50's to the 70's and offers charming shops and cafe's done in those time periods.
Ronnies Bar - 50's/60's style American diner, serving up pasta and curry, something every diner had on its menu in the 50’s.
- Alessandro Nannini Cafe - Italian cafe created by F1 racer Nannnini
- Grease - over 3000 model cars & books for sale at this shop
- Grease GPS - more miniature cars and paraphernalia at this shop
- Team Toyota Pit - tour the Pit and find out what its really like
- GP Memorial Lounge - a lounge for relaxation
- GP Archive - History
The fun reaches its climax at Leisure Land. Being Japan's tallest Ferris wheel it sends you high into the air, for a fee of 900 yen. Aside from the ferris wheel, Leisure Land offers a full sized bowling alley, arcades and games as far as the eye can see, and of course standard amusement park snacks.
JR Shonan Shinjuku Line to Osaki. Transfer at Osaki to Rinkai Line. Take Rinkai Line to Tokyo Teleport Station. That puts you right in front of Palette Town.