Japan: Odaiba

While in Tokyo, we took a train over to Odaiba, a large artificial island on the seashore. It was initially built in the 1850s for defense purposes but has since been turned into a shopping, tourist, and liesure area. There are several shopping centers, some beaches, museums, and theme parks.

The train on the way out conveniently does a scenic loops so you can better appreciate the views of Odaiba and the Rainbow Bridge. No not that Rainbow Bridge. The Rainbow Bridge that crosses northern Tokyo Bay between Shibaura Pier and the Odaiba waterfront development.

On the Way to Odiaba

From the train window

From the train window

From the train window

The Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow Bridge

After getting off the train, we wandered a bit, taking in the sights and eventually winding up down on at the bay.

Odaiba plaza

Odiaba Zoomed In

A close up.

McDonald's and Madame Tussaud's ad

A McDonald’s and Madame Madame Tussaud’s ad with Michael Jackson

This was a bit startling.

Odaiba and a replica Statue of Liberty

Are your eyes playing tricks on you?

Odaiba and a replica Statue of Liberty

Nope! That is a miniature Statue of Liberty in Odaiba.

Apparently, this mini-Liberty was put here for a year to celebrate Japan’s relationship with France. People liked it so much that after the year was up, it was made into a permanent installation. Tokyo was already reminding me a lot of New York City, so this added touch was especially interesting.

Next, we visited the life-size Gundam. That’s right, from the miniature Lady Liberty to a life-size Gundam. Oh, and the requisite store of Gundam paraphernalia.

Giant Gundam at Diver City.

Full-size Gundam at Diver City

Full-size Gundam

It is neat that it is not only full-sized, but also styled as if it were real, with part numbers, warnings, etc.

Full-size Gundam from the rear

Full-size Gundam

Seems to be a popular attraction.

Next up was Sega’s Joypolis, a three-story, nearly 12,000-square-foot indoor amusement park.

Car ride in Joypolis

A car ride where the car and the screen in front move as you drive.

Adam gave it a try.

Hammer game

Adam getting the hammer for losing a game.

Joypolis Kirkland Kettle Chips Prize

In this machine, a Kirkland brand bag of kettle chips was the prize… thanks Costco!

Joypolis "new you" machines asian surgery culture

There were a ton of these “games” where you can presumably preview what you’d look like if you were “prettier”… a reflection of the thriving “plastic surgery culture” that I personally find troubling, but that is so prevalent as to be normal in some asian cultures.

Vigan laboratories

Tetris with giant controls at sega joypolis

Tetris with giant controls.

Sonic-ified Hello Kitties Crane Game

This crane game featured Sonic dolls, and Sonic-ified Hello Kitties

Crane game

In this game, instead of grabbing the toy with a claw, you try to pierce a piece of paper with metal sticks on the crane, which would release the prize.

Adam and his coworker took in an immersive zombie game, and I went for a monster-theme indoor roller coaster. The second I saw that thing twirling around the three stories of the building, I knew I had to ride it. I waited in line and smiled and nodded vacantly during the rules, regulations, and how not to die on this ride instructions, and boarded the ride. Turns out this roller coaster ride is also a competitive video game (that may have made me chicken out if I had known). Each seat has its own video game gun and you have to kill baddies as you go along and a couple of bosses to advance the ride to the next section of the ride. Now, at this point I was feeling a little silly as the foreigner with a limited gaming history and performance anxiety, but I went for it, and it was a very fun ride. We made it past all the baddies and then they displayed the scores – I won! I couldn’t believe it!

So, our little trip down to Odaiba was a huge success (and not just because I excelled at a shoot-’em-up game in the land of video games). The ride was pleasant, the views were nice, the malls were expansive, and the attractions entertaining. I definitely recommend a jaunt to Odaiba, in the Minato Ward of Tokyo.


Nerd. Foodie. Gamer. Homecook. Perpetual planner. Gardener. Aspiring homesteader. Direct response graphic designer. I use too many damn commas.