In some respects Odaiba could be considered Tokyo's version of Downtown Yokohama. As they do indeed bear many similarities:
- Amusement Parks
- Converted harbors with incredible views of the bay
- Fantastic bay-side walks
Being constructed in the 1980's some of the design elements from that era still linger, (as clearly evident in the Venus Fort Shopping plaza where you could swear you're back in 1984) however these few areas of out-dated design are slowly being converted to modern standards as the district continues to evolve and vie for its place as the place to go for fun in Tokyo. But the ugly design stops there, as nowhere else in Tokyo is there more quasai futuristic architecture and bold design than in Odaiba. It literally in some areas feels like your on set at a Sci Fi movie shoot.
The only drawback to Odaiba is getting there, it is rather far away (as a result expensive to travel to) and slightly dislocated from the normal train routes. However fear not, we provide you with the easiest way to get there. A second drawback is the lack of rental go-carts for getting around on the island, as it is the size of three airports and that's a lot of ground to cover on foot.
Odaiba is a vast artificial island, taking up over 6.5 square miles its plain to see that one would need an entire day to experience it in its fullest. The area can be split into two halves: East and West.
The West side is where you will find most of the action in Odaiba, the amusement park, shopping, the beach and much more.
Just by looking at the Pallet Town front entrance sign you know you'll be entering a House of Fun. And that’s exactly what Pallet Town is, but instead of a house of fun it’s an entire town (as the clever name indicates). Pallet 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
For the entire break down on Pallet Town check out our full article.
South West Odaiba
The fun continues South West of Pallet town in a large cluster of sky scrapers and complexes. Free from the terrible space restrictions of building in Tokyo, this area and practically all of Odaiba for that matter has been so liberally designed that you'd swear you were not in Tokyo: vast parking lots (you will find parking structures in Tokyo but not "Sam's Club sized" parking lots anywhere except Odaiba), endless promenades, parks in every possible corner and of course the enormous buildings. It’s as if being free of space restrictions they let their inhibitions run wild.
The bizarre and fantastic architecture of the Miraikan can only be appreciated when standing in front of it. But more important than its outrageous image is what it has to offer inside: educational exhibits, films, events and more.
Hours and Fees: http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/guide/
A charming promenade will lead you straight to the Telecom Center, complete with a winding river, man-made hills, twenty-foot sculptures, snaking paths, oak trees and at last a giant lateral waterfall. The building itself is unmistakable, with its hollow middle and signature giant 'sliced sphere' center piece, (looking like an abstract satellite dish). For a fee of 500 yen there is an observation deck near the top of the building offering a unique view of Tokyo from Odaiba.
Surrounding this complex you'll find at the edge, on the water the delightful Odaiba Marine Walk, which starts behind the Telecomm Center, and goes all the way around to the Fuji TV Building and beyond (almost going the entire perimeter of West Odaiba). The walk itself is over 2.5 miles of vast sea side panoramas. If you're not able to walk it in its entirety (which not many people would want to) you must at least see part of it.
Whilst taking the walk you'll encounter several parks (some quite large), playgrounds, as well as the Museum of Maritime Science which is modeled after a Destroyer.
A unique experience, accessible by the Marine Walk directly south West of the Telecomm center, are the enormous cargo ships being loaded up with freight. First at high speed an 18-wheeler drives up with one shipping container, then the crane drops down, picks up the container, and as it lifts it the truck speeds off and another gets into line for the next and once the crane has placed the container in the ship, there is a new one ready to go.
The end (or beginning, depending how you want to look at it) of the Marine Walk is marked by the artificial beach in front of the Fuji TV building. Also just in front of Fuji TV is a miniature Statue of Liberty replica, coming in at around 40 feet high.
Behind and East of Fuji TV are two entire city blocks of fun, eating and shopping, aptly named: "Joypolis". After a tiring yet enjoyable walk around Daiba this is the perfect place to take a moment to rest your feet and fill your bellies. With all of the elevated walks it some how has a Santa Monica Pier feel.
Getting over to the East side is a piece of cake. Conveniently located on the West side of Pallet Town is the gorgeous Dream Bridge, which stretches over the water and connects right up to the East side, actually all you have to do is keep following the direction of the bridge and it will take you right to the center of all the action in East Odaiba.
While strolling across the surprisingly wide Dream Bridge you'll see on the opposite shoreline a double tower skyscraper at the water's front, beautifully landscaped in the European style. This is a slice of the Partire Tokyo Bay Wedding Village, a small area with all European style buildings including: bridal shops, a church, hotels and many other establishments all catered for couples getting married.
After crossing the Dream Bridge continue your course straight and you'll come to a huge promenade with shopping malls on your right and hotels on your left. Maintain your course and you will finally walk straight into a massive Square (which just so happens to have a checkered ground pattern) Here is the center of East Odaiba, with the Panasonic building on your left and the promenade to Tokyo Big View on your right, and shopping and dining straight ahead.
Finally, after a long promenade you pass through a small gate and into the courtyard of the Tokyo Big View. It is notable that the ever so precise placement of this gate makes it impossible to get a perfect head on, full photograph of the building itself, the only way of getting the shot is to back up and thus have the gate obstructing the view.
A building which no doubt was inspired by Star Wars or some such Sci Fi muse as you will attest once you're standing in front of its quasai futuristic edifice.
Standing in the enormous Square in front, you'll see streams of businessmen and women flow in and out of the building, coming to attend the many exhibitions which are hosted.
Like Ginza's Sony Building, Panasonic has a similar setup on Odaiba, but on a much larger scale.
There are several floors devoted to showing off the latest in technological advances to the public, however most of the products are not on the market yet. Happily many of the products are available for 'testing' such as 3D vision goggles, video games and others.
There is a full section devoted to Nintendo DS and Wii, where you will find knots of little ones crowded around the controllers waiting for a turn. Ironically the most popular game on the Wii with the kids is the old 1995 Mario Cart.
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 Pallet Town.