Odaiba is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay turned into a shopping and amusement centre with lots of sightseeing spots. There are plenty of things to do here, from shopping to playing in amusement parks, and even relaxing in onsens. But I’m more of a sightseeing person, because I’m not much of an activity person, and well, sightseeing is free. So after exploring Odaiba for a day, I found seven great spots for fellow sightseeing and window-shopping lovers like me. And yes, Odaiba can be covered easily in one day, it is a pretty small island and you can get by everywhere on foot.
1. Daikanransha (パレットタウン大観覧車)
It is hard to miss something so big and colourful against the sky. The Daikanransha in Palette Town complex is the second tallest Ferris wheel in Japan, and is very much the epitome of all Japanese Ferris wheels, they are all so colourful. You would think that something this colourful belongs in an amusement park, but no, they have these kind of Ferris wheels in all places in Japan. Japanese seem to love Ferris wheels. And I guess with something that size, you can get a pretty awesome view, but I’m just not a patient girl. Ferris wheels are a little too slow for me.
2. Rainbow Bridge (レインボーブリッジ)
Second, you will be able to dip your toes in water whilst admiring the iconic Rainbow Bridge at the Odaiba Beach. The Rainbow Bridge is beautiful when it is lit up, especially against a backdrop of golden sunset. But the best time to see the Rainbow Bridge would probably be in from Christmas to New Year, when the bridge actually lives up to its name and gets bathed entirely in psychedelic lights.
3. Statue of Liberty (自由の女神像)
The replica of the Statue of Liberty is located at Odaiba Beach Park, near Aqua City and Fuji TV. With the Rainbow Bridge in the background, the spot doesn’t get any more scenic than this. There are actually a total of three Statues of Liberty in Japan, with one in Osaka and the other in Shimoda. I have never seen the actual Statue of Liberty, so this is as close as I can get, till I go to America. If I ever go.
4. Unicorn Gundam Statue (ユニコーンガンダム立像 )
The Unicorn Gundam statue is located just outside DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, and there is actually a Gundam Cafe inside, if you are interested. I didn’t check that out though. It is actually a replacement statue of the old Gundam which didn’t light up at night. It was replaced in a bid to revitalize the area as 2020 Tokyo Oympics is coming soon, and the waterfront area is one of the spots where they will be holding the games. I have to say they have done a great job with it. The Gundam Statue is really impressive, with its size, and somehow, it seems like the Gundam is really about to fly off. At night, when its gets lit up in its ‘destroy mode’, the ‘unicorn horn’ on its head separates. That is really super badass.
5. Fuji Television Network, Inc. (株式会社フジテレビジョン)
The Fuji TV building is not only beautiful on the outside, some parts are open to public for free. I knew that you can get a view of the whole of Odaiba from the 25th floor with a fee, but I wasn’t really expecting to find anything else inside. But there are in fact many areas open to public. I only visited the FujiTV Shop Fujisan, but it was more than enough to keep me thoroughly entertained, with the array of quirky Japanese snacks and souvenirs.
The best part of the place were the two anime shops, ONE PIECE and Dragon Ball Z. The shops are designed to like the animes, so it was really cool for an anime lover like me, even though they aren’t my favourite anime. I think though, there are probably like special events held for a limited time, so you might find something different there if you visit it some other time.
Also, if you love Japanese dramas and anime theme music, then be sure to check out Fuji TV building’s music illumination at night, whereby the lights dance and change colours according the music.
6. History Garage (ヒストリーガーレジ）
The History Garage, which is connected to VenusFort shopping mall, was something I stumbled into, but it is a pretty cool museum which showcases vintage cars from all over the world, and it has a Japanese sector whereby you will feel like you are back in ancient Japan.
7. VenusFort (ヴィーナスフォート)
Lastly, VenusFort at Palette Town is a shopping mall designed to resemble a medieval European city with intricately carved statues and pillars, and it is most known for its stunning fountain at the Fountain Plaza. The ceilings have a really cool feature called the Sky Feature program, whereby the sky constantly changes from day to night. The shopping mall is divided into three sections according to the floor levels, the first floor is Venus Family, the second Venus Grand, and the third Venus Outlet. Venus Family is targeted at family and children, selling lifestyle products. Venus Grand sells the latest fashion, accessory and cosmetic trends, and Venus Outlet has many outlet shops that are popular with the Japanese young people.
Odaiba is a great place for couples and families, and I do like that it is not terribly crowded unlike Shibuya and Shinjuku. Also, besides modern entertainment and tons of great shopping, there is the additional element of nature in its sandy and rocky coasts, cool, salty sea breeze, and lush green parks, so anytime you tire of shopping or playing, there is the beach and parks for you to head to for a short, quiet respite.
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00 (until 23:00 on most Fridays, Saturdays)
Admission: 920 yen (entire cabin: 3080 yen)
DiverCity Tokyo Plaza
Opening Hours (Shops): 10:00 to 21:00
Opening Hours (Restaurants): 11:00 to 23:00
Fuji TV Building (Including FujiTV Shop Fujisan)
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 18:00
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday).
Admission: Free (observation deck: 550 yen)
History Garage (MegaWeb)
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 21:00
Opening Hours (Shops): 11:00 to 21:00
Opening Hours (Restaurants): 11:00 to 23:00
Getting there: 25 minutes from Shinjuku to Tokyo Teleport Station on Odaiba via Rinkai Line