Months before we went to Japan, I asked a Japanese friend of mine to write down the best destinations that I shouldn’t miss in Tokyo aside from the famous Shibuya Crossing. She wrote it down on a sticky-note and as I breezed through the list, I found one odd-sounding (at least in my vernacular lingo) destination on it — Odaiba.
I asked her about it and she described it as a “man-made island that’s best for shopping”. At that time, I swiftly brushed off the idea of heading there. I am personally not into shopping (gadget-shopping is a different story altogether) especially when traveling.
However, when we were planning our trip, Odaiba keeps on popping up on our Google searches. It triggered our curiosity, and as we delved deeper and done more research, the man-made island turned from an optional destination to a must-visit.
Odaiba — A man-made island full of wonders
The artificial island is located in Tokyo Bay, which is originally created for defence purposes back in the 1850s. Now, Odaiba, the seaport district, serves as a commercial, leisure, and residential area.
Despite being a man-made island, for us, the seaport district is not lacking wonders at all. Yes, those wonders may not be works of nature but they showcase how Japan is the home to skilful builders, advanced technology, and deep-rooted culture that even modernisation wouldn’t be able to erase.
Getting to and around Odaiba
From Shibuya to Odaiba
You could take a train from Shibuya Station (Yamanote Line) to Osaki Eki Station. From Osaki Station, head to Tokyo Teleport Station.
If you have a JR Pass, you could use it to go to Osaki Eki Station. But JR Passes aren’t honoured in train rides heading to Tokyo Teleport Station (and vice versa).
Getting around Odaiba
Almost all destinations in Odaiba are really close to each other and you could just simply walk from one spot to another. You could also take the free shuttles roaming around the district. It also has a railway system that connects almost every location. See the map below:
Where to stay if you will visit Odaiba
Since Odaiba is conveniently located in Tokyo, you could easily get there wherever you are in Japan’s Capital. If you’re on a tight budget, we advise that you book your hotel outside Odaiba. The rates per night in the seaport district are pricier as compared to other districts in Tokyo.
Here’s a sample (latest as of date of publication) rate of booking.com‘s available accommodations filtered to show the hotels with the lowest price.
Odaiba’s top destinations
Here are the man-made wonders you shouldn’t miss when you visit the seaport district of Tokyo:
1. DiverCity Tokyo Plaza – This destination is one of Odaiba’s shopping centres. However, for anime and J-pop culture lovers, it’s more than just a shopping mall. If you love Bandai’s Gundam Series, then you shouldn’t miss going to DiverCity. You can see a life-sized Unicorn Gundam RX-0, an exact moving replica of a mobile suit featured in the series. If you’re not satisfied with just seeing the life-sized Gundam, you could also dine in the Gundam Cafe or shop for your favourite action figures at the Gundam Base Tokyo.
The Unicorn Gundam wasn’t complete yet when we visited. Good thing @livingthedream allowed us to feature one of his photos.
Cost: Free of charge
Operating Hours: 10:00AM to 9:00PM
Address: 1 Chome-1-10 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0064, Japan
2. Venus Fort – Another shopping centre in Odaiba which looks like an ordinary mall outside, but is truly stunning inside. The mall’s interior is patterned to European medieval villages. The ceiling even looks like the sky! The mall has three floors that offer a wide array of fashion boutiques, home items, and even food establishments.
Cost: Depends on your shopping spend
Operating Hours: Stores 11:00AM – 9:00PM; Restaurants 11:00AM – 11:00PM
Address: 1 Chome-3-15 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0064, Japan
3. National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) – This museum, in our opinion, is the best Science museum we’ve ever been to. It is home to several innovations such as interactive exhibits explaining quantum physics, the world’s most humanoid robot — Asimo, and the Geo-Prism which serves as one of its focal points.
We found the Geo-Prism extremely fascinating since it uses an augmented reality (AR) system to display the data gathered from different satellite images and videos, plus it even shows simulations of different scientific phenomena that happen on Earth.
Cost: Adults JPY620; 18 years old and below JPY 210 | For more information, check their website through this link.
Operating Hours: 10:00AM – 5:00PM; Ticket sales end 30 minutes before the closing time
Tip: There are certain days when the admission is free for select individuals. Check out Miraikan’s website to know more.
Address: 2 Chome-3-6 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0064, Japan
4. Toyota Megaweb – It’s no secret that Japan is one of the leading manufacturers of cars. Toyota, one of their homegrown car brands, has an exhibit located in Odaiba. The Toyota Megaweb offers a unique, hands-on, and interactive automotive experience for car enthusiasts. It also showcases Toyota’s most recent models and even futuristic concepts that may hit the road several years from now.
Cost: Free entry | For more information, check their website through this link.
Operating Hours: 11:00AM – 9:00PM
Address: 1 Chome-3-12 Aomi, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0064, Japan
5. Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatari – Wanting to experience bathing in an onsen? Ooedo Onsen is one of the biggest and most popular onsens in Japan. Note that women are separated from men, and you have to bathe and walk around naked in the bath area. No one really cares about your business, everyone is just there to relax and release all their stress. Taking photos inside the onsen is prohibited and people with tattoos aren’t allowed to enter the facility. After taking a bath, you could indulge yourself in savoury Japanese food and traditional festival games while wearing a kimono.
Cost: Adult (Over 12 years old) JPY2,612, weekends JPY 2,828; Children (aged 4 -12) JPY 1,058 | For more information, check their website through this link.
Operating Hours: 11:00AM – 9:00AM the next day
Address: 2 Chome-6 Aomi, Koto, Tokyo 135-0064, Japan
6. Rainbow Bridge and Odaiba Statue of Liberty – The Rainbow Bridge is one of the prominent landmarks in Tokyo. It connects Odaiba to the mainland Tokyo and is one of the ways you could get to the artificial island. The bridge which is built in 1993, got its moniker since its lights could turn into the colours of rainbow on special occasions.
The Odaiba Statue of Liberty, on the other hand, was temporarily erected from 1998 – 1999 as a tribute to Japan’s ties with France. It was then put down but due to its popularity and continued demands from tourists alike, the statue was returned for good in 2000. Since then, it has attracted even so many tourists wanting to take a glimpse of the Statue, in Japan.
Cost: Free of charge
Operating Hours: 24/7
Address: 1 Chome-7-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0091, Japan
Here are top harv experiences you shouldn’t miss while in Odaiba:
1. Awaken the science-kiddo in you at Miraikan – Regardless if you love Science or not, you’ll definitely enjoy the exhibits in Miraikan. It’s thrilling to see and experience how advanced technology could be used and integrated into our everyday lives, particularly in this era.
2. Pamper yourself in Ooedo Onsen – You may have apprehensions in going naked all the way with a bunch of strangers. However, know that the people you’re with will not care about how you look and what you got, not to mention onsens are deeply-rooted in Japan’s traditional culture for centuries. Aside from its relaxing benefits, getting to experience it is definitely liberating and makes you feel good about yourself regardless.
Important tips and reminders when visiting Odaiba
1. You would need a full-day in Odaiba if you really want to explore every destination.
2. You need at least 2 – 3 hours to roam around Miraikan and another 3 hours to make the most of what you paid for in Ooedo Onsen.
3. If you’re planning to buy Gunpla (Gundam) Kits, you could get them at the Gundam Tokyo Base. However, another (slightly cheaper) option is to buy Gunpla Kits in Akihabara.
4. The Unicorn Gundam in DiverCity is a lot more stunning at night when you could fully see all its mechanical abilities and light details.
Odaiba Day Trip Itinerary
Here’s a sample itinerary for your Odaiba adventure:
The estimated cost for all the activities in Odaiba is JPY 6,000 per person (minus shopping).
Odaiba Day Trip Itinerary Map
Here’s a map of all the important spots for your day trip itinerary. Note that the yellow pins are train stations, light blue pins are the destinations, and the dark blue pins are the harv experiences — destinations and activities you shouldn’t miss.
Artificial island full of authentic wonders
Everything in Odaiba is man-made but it’s definitely full of wonders that bring genuine joy to everyone’s heart, close to everything but artificial.
From exposure to technological advancements that could awaken one’s interest in science to activities that are sure to pamper and make your stress fade away all in an instant, this seaport district truly is one of the destinations in Tokyo you can’t afford to miss.
We’re grateful that my friend recommended this district to us and in return, we highly recommend that you experience Odaiba, too!
If you have any questions about your upcoming trip to Odaiba or even Tokyo, feel free to drop a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.