Tokyo: Wandering Around Odaiba Waterfront
Odaiba (お台場) is known as one of the popular places for shopping, dining, and entertainment in Tokyo. Whether tourist or local, both are very fond of this artificial island found at Tokyo Bay because of the many attractions and date spots for the lovers.
From the fort that was built to protect Tokyo during the Edo period (daiba means “fort”), became the landfill that made this island possible. In the peak of its economy, Tokyo was one of the places being developed to become a futuristic residential and business district. In the 1990’s began the rise of hotels, malls, and skyscrapers along with elevated railways and expressways built with a vivid architectural design. A day wouldn’t be enough to explore the splendor of Odaiba, so we decided to start the journey in one of its most popular tourist spots – The Waterfront of Odaiba.
The Rainbow Bridge is a 918 meter long suspended bridge that has two decks, one for the expressway and one for the railway, car lane and walkway. This bridge got its name from the glamorous lights that are showcased on the bridge at night, along with the view of Southern Tokyo – a photo op that nobody would want to miss.
STATUE OF LIBERTY
As if the Rainbow Bridge isn’t iconic enough, they decided to make a replica of the Statue of Liberty, just like the ones in France. This was fabricated in France in 1998 and became the popular symbol of Odaiba that time. The Statue of Liberty is accessible through the elevated pedestrian walkway.
Of all the waterbuses coming through the Tokyo Bay, the Himiko and Hotaluna Waterbuses are the ones that you just can’t take your eyes off. With state-of-the-art design, these are one of the ships with the rarest designs in the world that it can even convince you that it’s a spaceship on water. It runs from Asakusa and Hinode pier going to a jetty port near Tokyo beach. You can also ride this crossing the Rainbow Bridge – another perfect photo op.
DECKS AND AQUACITY MALLS
There are shopping malls located at Odaiba’s waterfront. These are Decks and Aquacity Malls. There are many different boutiques, restaurants, café, and even cinemas to choose from, but these aren’t the reasons why these malls are worth mentioning. Inside Decks Mall are a few indoor theme parks such as Tokyo Joypolis, Legoland Discovery Center, and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
Meanwhile, in Aquacity, we met June (Junco Chihira), an information desk android that can talk to you in Japanese, Chinese and Korean. This android made by Toshiba can answer customer inquiries through the panel display beside it. Its motions may not be as fluid and its responses may be limited, Toshiba says they are still developing their product to have AI. It’s just amazing to look at the android answering your questions, although can give you the creeps sometimes when it’s performing gestures when greeting you.
The Divercity Mall can be found right outside the Tokyo Teleport Station. It’s a shopping complex that contains different theme shops, restaurants, boutiques and cinemas, but the most notable of all is the Gundam Front Tokyo. This indoor theme park has the life-size statue of Gundam in its entrance. Really hard to miss this. Read our separate blog here.
FUJI TV BUILDING
This futuristic building can be hard to miss out even if you’re still far away. This is one of the structures with bold architecture in Tokyo. This serves as the headquarters of Fuji Television which is one of the popular TV stations in Japan. There are exhibits of the TV programs where you can also buy Fuji TV merchandise. An observatory deck can be found in the spherical building, where you can see the whole of Odaiba, Tokyo Bay area and other towns in Tokyo. Entrance is for ¥500.
The Rinkai Line connects Osaki Station on the JR Yamanote Line with Shin-Kiba Station on the JR Keiyo Line, stopping at the Tokyo Teleport and Kokusai Tenjijo underground stations on Odaiba along the way. Some trains on the JR Saikyo Line continue to run on the Rinkai Line and provide direct connections between Shinjuku, Shibuya and Odaiba.
The ride from Shinjuku to Tokyo Teleport Station on Odaiba takes 25 minutes and costs ¥500. Note that the Japan Rail Pass, Seishun 18 Kippu, and similar JR tickets are not valid on the Rinkai Line between Osaki and Shin-Kiba, even though the line is served by JR trains.