Today, Odaiba is an entertainment district of Tokyo that is popular with both Japanese and tourists due to the delightful Marine Park, the iconic Statue of Liberty, exciting museums, the original Gundam statue in Japan, and great shopping opportunities. However, the man-made island linking Odaiba to the city by the spectacular Rainbow Bridge has not always been an area for pleasure and leisure activities. It was created in the mid-1800s by the Edo shogunate to protect Tokyo against enemy attacks from the sea.
the square hotel GINZA is located in Ginza / Chuo in a lively neighbourhood and features a restaurant/café on site. Remarkable design. The hotel features a common hot bath. Located near the Antique Mall Ginza and the Wakayama Art Museum.
Hotel Gracery Asakusa has a top location in Asakusa near the vivid and popular streets around the old Sensoji Temple and is near the kitchenware street, Kappabashi Street. Ueno Station is within 20 min walking distance and Tokyo Skytree within 20 min.
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To get to Odaiba from Tokyo, you can either take the Yurikamome elevated train across the Rainbow Bridge – or walk over the famous bridge, which is an experience in itself! From the top of it, you have panoramic views of the Tokyo skyline, the harbour, Odaiba’s beach area, cutting-edge architecture, and the little fort islands and landmarks in Tokyo Bay. You can also explore the Rainbow Bridge from below on a cruise!
A collection of small islands, with cannons serving as protection for the city towards the end of the Edo Period (1603-1868), were initially just small separate fort islands off the coast of Shinagawa.
Much later, the batteries were united by artificial land – and Odaiba was born! The area served many different purposes – from being a significant port and location of shipyards to a production site of seaweed.
In the 1980s and 1990s, a spectacular development took off. Odaiba was planned and ‘reborn’ as a futuristic city. In 1993, the Odaiba area was linked to Shibaura Pier with the construction of the Rainbow Bridge. That brought new opportunities to Tokyoites. Shopping malls such as the Aqua City Odaiba, hotels, businesses, and tourist attractions were established. Now, with the opening of the Yurikamome elevated train line (in addition to the Rainbow Bridge), Odaiba was suddenly a most attractive part of Tokyo.
Odaiba is still a big draw with its eye-catching futuristic architecture, such as the Fuji TV Building, Telecom Center Observatory, and Tokyo Big Sight, as well as with its elevated walkways, laid-back waterfront beach area, and Daiba Park built on the Third Battery of the former fortifications.
For many years, the iconic Daikanransha Ferris wheel from 1999, one of the biggest in Japan ever, has been a landmark of Odaiba. However, in 2022, it ceased operations and thus no longer illuminates the waterfront.
Arching over Tokyo Bay, the impressive Rainbow Bridge from 1993 has become a landmark of Odaiba and Tokyo. At night, it is illuminated by a rainbow of colours.
The Rainbow Bridge is constructed with upper and lower decks, allowing for car traffic on the expressway and the regular road, the driverless Yurikamome line, and the Rainbow Promenade from Tokyo City to Odaiba. The two-storey bridge has become a famous vantage point over Tokyo Bay.
Via the promenade, you can walk across the bridge in half an hour, and this offers the opportunity to enjoy stunning views of the harbour, Tokyo skyline, the old fort islands, Odaiba’s spectacular architecture, and its enticing beach and marine park.
The Statue of Liberty is not unique to New York. In fact, there are quite a few statues scattered around the world. A famous replica in Tokyo is in front of the Rainbow Bridge. The Japanese Odaiba Statue of Liberty has existed since 1998 when Paris’s distinguished lady was moved temporarily from the Île aux Cygnes to Japan as a tribute to the country’s relationship with France.
However, the Statue of Liberty became so popular in Tokyo that a new replica was erected in Odaiba two years later, in 2000. Backdropped by the Rainbow Bridge, it is now (despite being much smaller than the original Statue of Liberty in New York, only 12m tall!) an iconic sight in Tokyo and a favoured photo spot!
In addition to the Statue of Liberty in Tokyo, there are at least two more in Japan, one in Shimoda and another in Osaka.
The Unicorn Gundam Statue in Odaiba in front of the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza is a symbol of the Japanese otaku culture. Gundam is famous in Japan, introduced in 1979 as a television series set in the future. Since then, the popularity has exploded with manga and otaku items – in Japan and around the world!
The current Gundam Statue is not the first one in Odaiba. The original classic RX-78-2 Gundam Statue was introduced in 2009 to celebrate Mobile Suit Gundam’s 30th anniversary and as a contribution to the Green Tokyo Gundam Project to raise funds for a more sustainable Tokyo. It stood in Shiokaze Park in Odaiba, as the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza was not built at the time.
As part of the installation, the current nearly 20 m high RX-0 Unicorn Gundam Statue from the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series switches between ‘unicorn’ mode (with one horn) and ‘destroyer’ mode (with two antennas and glowing red panels) several times a day at 11, 13, 15, and 17 o’clock – and again with night sound & light shows every 30 minutes in the evening. There is also a café and a shop with Gundam-themed items behind the statue and inside the mall.
One of the oases in the summer in Tokyo is Odaiba Marine Park, with its 800-metre-long artificial sandy beach. Although it is not allowed to swim in the water, it is attractive for a stroll, playing football, frisbee or other sports games, and for organising sailing competitions in the small bay.
Odaiba Beach offers a relaxed atmosphere, and it is a popular and excellent place to take photos with the Japanese Statue of Liberty, the Tokyo skyline, and the Rainbow Bridge in the background. Especially at night, Odaiba Marine Park is an iconic spot for a stunning sight of the city, with all its lights against the dark sky.
Daiba Park opened in 1928 on the site of the former military battery built by the Edo Shogunate. It now allowed ordinary people to enjoy the green areas of Tokyo Bay.
Still today, there are tall stone walls and remains of the Third Battery, such as powder warehouses and barracks. There are also ruins of the former regional government office. In addition to being a viewpoint for the Rainbow Bridge, in spring, the small Odaiba park is also a favourite spot in Tokyo to see cherry blossoms.
The Museum of Maritime Science and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation are both outstanding science museums.
The first is shaped like a ship docked in the harbour and modelled after the Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner. However, it is under more or less permanent renovation and is now closed. Therefore, today, the main gallery is the Annex and Soya from 1938, a ship that participated in the Pacific War. As a plus, admission is free.
The other is an innovation museum that exhibits robots, information technology, space science and biological phenomena.
In addition to the two science museums, there are several eye-catching structures in Odaiba. The Fuji TV Building, Telecom Center, and Tokyo Big Sight are all spectacular pieces of architecture in this part of the city.
The headquarters of Fuji Television is one of the futuristic buildings with an observation deck in the sphere in the upper part of the structure. Tokyo Big Sight is Japan’s largest exhibition and convention centre.
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Japan: Tokyo Rainbow Bridge & Odaiba Statue of Liberty
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Japan: Tokyo Rainbow Bridge
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