Odaiba city, now one of the most famous tourist destinations aaand noteworthy as a dating spot, is a must-visit for the Japan-crazed travelers and otakus alike. There are several areas that are free to sightsee which can make your travel in Odaiba a cheap one. And I am here to list ‘em down. Read ye my list of TOP things to do in Odaiba as I share my experiences here in two different seasons.
FACT 1: Did you know that Odaiba is just an artificial island the Japanese originally constructed to protect Tokyo from sea attacks? The ex-fortress is now a zone boasting of modern-futuristic buildings that will remind you of a thematic mecca movie. On my first visit, my eyes were totally glittering in awe of Odaiba as it mesmerized me with the architectural design that was way ahead its time when they developed the city in the 1980’s. If you’re a fan of the Gundam series you totally get what I mean when you see the structures inside Odaiba.
FACT 2: My first visit in the winter of 2016 was so short-lived since the day ends earlier. In fact, I was just here to visit Miraikan because their robots piqued my interests. Of which me and my friend did not achieve since we arrived late and the museum is open but the ticket counters were already closed. I’d like to blame it all on Hachiko’s statue and Shibuya’s famous pedestrian crossing that we spent the whole morning in there since it’s along the way to Odaiba. (BECAUSE it’s Shibuya, it won’t be complete without taking a picture of Hachiko and famous cross road)
So of course I promised myself to visit Odaiba again, and this time in summer 2017. I DID! Same as before, I am still in utter awe of Odaiba’s mecca beauty! I want to experience ALL that Odaiba can offer to a tourist, but nay due to time and my budget since I need to save for the 2 weeks I’ll be staying.
ANOTHER FACT: I am soo totally a fan of anime’s and manga, so if you’re somewhat of an otaku too, then it’s easy to figure out why Japan is my dream destination since I was a kiddo.
TIPS ON HOW TO GET TO ODAIBA
Odaiba is a large man-made island, but the entertainment spots are easily reached by walking from destination to destination. Our main mistake when we venture the first time here is we kept riding the monorail when they can be reached on foot.
The best way to tour Odaiba is by taking the train to Daiba Station. Then take a monorail and get off at the southernmost station which is the Telecom Center. From here you can walk your way towards north to take the train back to Tokyo station. This is an easy way to save some yens on transportation, but it is still an option of course. Here’s the breakdown:
- Ride from your current nearest station and get off at Daiba Station
- Change stations and ride the monorail going to Telecom Center
- Walk your way up towards north so you can ride back the station
MAP OF ODAIBA
Odaiba is further away from Tokyo, but can be easily accessed by the Rinkai and Yurikamome Line. Yurikamome Line is often mistaken as Odaiba's monorail transit, which is not. The trains are run with rubber-tires and is entirely controlled by computers. You heard that right! There are no driver on-board the trains because it is fully automated. Cooool!!
TOP THINGS TO DO IN ODAIBA
One thing I dislike when traveling is rushing. It feels like you can’t take IN the moment to feel the NOW. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you probably know what I mean LOL! What I can advise is, do not rush in Japan, sure there are a lot places to go, but it’s better to travel in quality rather than quantity.
This is what I learned on my first visit, the memories I have are always rushing and rushing which is quite sad since that’s my first ever visit in my dream country to travel since childhood. So this summer in 2017 I approached a more laid back itinerary to reaaally feel and experience a Japanese lifestyle. Be selfish and travel at your own pace, feel the NOW and admire Japan’s alluring beauty.
So here are my top picks of things to do in Odaiba, enjoy a jaw dropping tour when you visit~
THE SOUTHERN AREA
1 | VISIT MIRAIKAN AND WATCH ASIMO THE ROBOT
It’s not easy to miss Miraikan when you get off at the Telecom Center station. This science museum is a famous landmark in Odaiba and truth be told… I DID NOT UNDERSTAND MOST OF THE THINGS HERE! I love science, but I think I like and understand better a different branch of it, and technology certainly isn’t. Miraikan, also known as the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation tells what is happening in the world from a scientific standpoint. They have a variety of subjects from medical to aeronautics, technological advancements like computers and the like, nature and much more.
My head was popping question marks all over the place since… I just can’t understand a thing, okay? LOL If you’re into robots like I am, you can watch Asimo do some tricks like sing and kick a ball. And at the booth, they showcase their latest robots, you can even communicate with a lady mecha there.
TIP: Do bring a friend who understands deeper level of science so they can explain the exhibitions for you. That’s another tip from me.
Miraikan also exhibits some medical technology activities that you can try out. One of it is where you need to cut something from a brain, like a tumor I think.
2 | GET A VIEW OF ODAIBA'S SKYLINE IN TELECOM CENTER
You can enter the Telecom Center building and visit their observation deck. The deck offers a lovely panoramic view of the bay and the city. Mt. Fuji can also be seen on a clear day from here, which makes me think that Fuji is so large that it can be viewed even from Tokyo.
TIP: This is an activity better done at sunset or nighttime where there is better view of the skyline.
3 | OEDO ONSEN MONOGATARI
I haven’t paid a visit here yet, but this onsen sparks my interest. I might visit this the next time I get a chance to stop by Odaiba. Oedo Onsen Monogatari is a natural hot spring theme park recreating the vibrant downtown section of Edo era. After touring Odaiba, why not hang out and relax at the onsen to release your fatigue?
THE MIDDLE AREA
You can easily access Palette town on foot towards the north east from Miraikan museum. Palette Town is a hot spot for shopping and entertainment, you’ll definitely know you’re here when you see the giant Ferris wheel and the large signage of Palette Town. All that is mentioned below here are inside the vicinity of Palette Town:
4 | ENJOY A LUXURIOUS EUROPEAN TOWN VIEW IN VENUS FORT
If you’re in for a luxurious shopping spree, you can do so in Venus Fort; a mall designed to look like an 18th century European Town. I thought that Venus Fort’s famous fountain is located in an open space, but it’s actually on the top floor with an artificial sky. The place is dim, but the place is surely an eye candy! The third floor has a lot of café’s, boutiques and restaurants which are pricey, but worth trying if you have the extra bucks. Do you fancy a lovely dinner in a European Town in Japan? Put Venus Fort in your itinerary now.
5 | ARE YOU A CAR FANATIC? TRY TOYOTA MEGA WEB!
Head to the Toyota Mega Web if you're a car lover. They showcase a lot of the latest cool car models from yours truly, Toyota. Touching and sitting inside the cars are possible, taking pictures of the interior is also allowed, no worries they don’t mind.
There are two areas in Toyota Mega Web:
The Toyota Showcase: Featuring standard to luxury cars and cars for those with disabilities and the aged. I am a bit clueless about cars, but cars that cater to the aged and those with disabilities are a great idea! And some unique activities you can try out in this area are:
- Mega Theater: A car motion simulator where you can experience a ride as if you were the driver of the front car. What’s a motion simulator, you say? Basically, imagine watching a cinema, but the deal here is the seats will move along with how rough the terrain is shown on the short video. The video features different tracks of the five continents and let me tell you. It was a bumpy ride!! If you’re up to be shaken around, surely try this out because it is FREEEE!
- Ride One: If you have an international license valid for use in Japan, bring it! You can test drive one of their latest cars on a 2-lap test course. Try it out for a fee of only ¥300, what can beat that price? It’s time to try out that sports car you’ve been dreaming about.
- Virtual Test Drives: Don’t have an international license? You can play a free driving arcade if you can’t try out the actual test drive. By playing the car game you have three laps to complete your turn you will be assisted around on what to do if you have no experience about driving.
The History Garage: Mega Web also has an exhibit that showcases cars from decades ago that you might want to check out if you’re a vintage car lover. The exhibit is a collection of cars all around the world that dates back to the 1950-1970’s that are beautifully preserved.
6 | RIDE ONE OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST FERRIS WHEEL
Are you off on a date? Try out Palette Town’s huge Ferris wheel that will take you on a 15 minute joyride. Daikanransha Ferris Wheel is 377 ft tall, it once held the world record title as the world's largest. The view from above lets you see a panoramic view of Tokyo bay and the city of Odaiba below. I’ve had my fair share of rides on a Ferris wheel in Osaka so I didn’t try this out. This is also one of the world’s largest so want to give it a try?
Daikanransha Ferris Wheel at the background. I missed capturing a picture of the Ferris Wheel and this is the best picture I have of it. I guess I was too tired of walking around that I didn't notice to take a shot.
7 | LEISURE LAND
If you’ve got some time for leisure, then stop by Leisure Land, a gaming complex worthy of visiting especially for the hardcore gamers. Fun thing to try here is the ninja illusion house and the haunted house aside from the typical arcades and karaoke activities. Leisure Land is just inside Palette Town just near Daikanranshan Ferris Wheel and Toyota Mega Web.
THE NORTHERN AREA
8 | FUJI TV BUILDING HEADQUARTERS
Fuji TV is Japan’s nationwide TV station and this modern building is their headquarters. The main highlight in this place is the rooftop garden and the observatory deck located at the spherical shape of the building. Just like the Telecom Center, you can see a panoramic view of the Odaiba Skyline and the famous rainbow bridge. Fuji TV is easy to spot because of its spherical dome shaped structure.
TIP: This is an activity better done at sunset or nighttime to view the lights of the skyline.
At the distance is Fuji TV, with the spherical structure.
9 | DIVERCITY TOKYO PLAZA AND ITS LIFE-SIZED GUNDAM
Odaiba is famous for its futuristic looking buildings, and one best way to add another touch of advancement to this place is the view of the life-sized Gundam! For the Gundam fans, this is a sight to behold (I’m a fan too!! *blush*). This 2017, they are building a unicorn Gundam, you can get a shot at the foot of this giant mecha once it's finished.
Inside DiverCity is a Gundam-themed café that is recommended for the hardcore fans, but just a note that there might be a long queue since there are a lot of fans of this series too. Arrive early so you can avoid the queue.
WHAT’S GUNDAM? Mobile Suit Gundam is a really popular mecca anime series in Japan that rose to popularity and now has loyal fans all over the world. It features cool, handsome giant robots bearing the name Gundam which is now an iconic robot series in Japan. For the fans, your trip ain’t complete without a visit to this giant dude.
10 | THE RAINBOW BRIDGE
An iconic symbol of Odaiba is the Rainbow Bridge which connects artificial Odaiba to the land of Tokyo. This suspension bridge is best viewed at night where it illuminates bright rainbow-like colors. There are two walkways available along the bridge which is the north and the south side. Both offer different views with the south offering views of Tokyo Bay and Mt. Fuji on clear days and the north lets you view the Tokyo Tower and the harbor.
Definitely pack up lots of physical energy when you plan on walking! And if you have a bicycle with you, it is permitted on the sidewalk. But they need to be pushed not be ride on.
Later did I know walking here is possible, I think I’ve only seen the entrance to the bridge but I was reaaaally truly am tired that I want us to get on the train as soon as we possibly can and rest! Why must they be so far apart? *sobs*
FACT: The lamps used on the rainbow bridge uses solar energy obtained during day time. I salute Japan for using such clean energy.
11 | EYEING MS. LIBERTY IN AQUACITY
Phew! There is a lot of shopping mall in Odaiba and one of them is Aquacity that stands next to the Fuji TV building. An interesting food theme park awaits you on the fifth floor of Aquacity where you can try different kinds of ramen from all over Japan. That's right, there's a Ramen museum inside Aquacity! Ain’t that a sweet deal? When you’ve got no time to visit Osaka or other parts of Japan, why not try and get a taste of ramen from those distant places? Are you simply a ramen lover? Definitely stop by here!
From the wooden deck out front of Aquacity, you can find a dashing replica of the statue of Liberty overlooking the iconic Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo bay.
FACT 1: There are three replicas of Ms. Liberty scattered in Japan and of course the best is the one in Odaiba but nothing beats the original in New York.
FACT 2: The statue was only supposed to be a temporary fixture for the “French Year of Japan”. But due to its popularity in 1998-1999, she now has a permanent spot overlooking the bridge.
12 | DECKS TOKYO BEACH
Since The Decks is right next to Aquacity, I keep forgetting which is which. Until now, I am still confused with the duo since they look so similar to each other. Their distinguishable difference is, The Decks have Joypolis, an indoor theme park with virtual reality arcades, Legoland Discovery, Trick Art Museum and Wax Museum.
13 | THE ARTIFICIAL ODAIBA BEACH
If you’re already at The Decks, why not take an exit out front where you can access Odaiba beach? Swimming at the beach is not allowed, but dipping your toes is fine. Do you prefer to just chill along the shores? You can do so since the beach is quiet and gets crowded only when there’s a festival or an event.
When my friend and I were walking here, we saw a promo poster for windsurfing lessons and some boating activities. Since it’s in Japanese we didn’t understand the details we want to know. Plus, it’s already late at night to ask people what the poster is for. I think there’s an area near the beach where water activities are allowed since they’ll be supervised. Maybe I really need to visit Odaiba the third time to know the facts about this beach. Oh how I love Odaiba!
HAVE SOME FUN IN ODAIBA!
That’s my list of fun things to do in Odaiba that I can recommend for now. All the activities I listed here is impossible to do in a day, unless you just want to take a shot of the place and move on to the next. I prefer to experience each place as much as I can because... IT’S JAPAN YO! Don’t wanna waste my airfare to just capture some shots, I NEED to experience and have fun while at it.
This sume my weariness took a toll late afternoon on our tour. My brain keeps saying “let’s go here, it’s just near” and my body shouting “I’M TOO TIRED!!!” That’s always how it goes whenever I’m in Japan haha their places are faaar apart each other. Not like in the Philippines where most places are compact and easy to get to but that makes the place more crowded.
On my second visit in Japan I love the familiarity I was feeling, like a home. My excited-ness is lower than the first time, but the endearment is there that made me more comfortable and in love with the place. I even said while walking home to my friend’s house that it feels like I just went away from my house to a nearby city in the Philippines. Ahhhhhh, I can’t wait for my third visit here and I am aiming for the lovely spring season next! Here’s me wishing and hoping that the Japan Embassy will give me a 5 year visaaaa~ Ohhhh please, please, please!!!
I hope you enjoy my list of top things to do in Odaiba! Let me know if there are other interesting spots to visit in Odaiba guys! I might visit them and add it to this list 😀 kampaai to more travel for us!!
A wave from me for the Gundam lovers out there!
On winter 2016 I spotted some Filipinos taking a shot of te Gundam. We just stared at each other for a brief while and move on to our business. That was kinda an awkward moment for me. At first I felt weird because I can understand what the stranger is saying then the next I figured, that it's in Tagalog. It's kind of a funny scene sometimes when you're overseas.
- Are you a Gundam fan as well?