Odaiba is an island in Tokyo harbor which seems just a little bit in the future. Here are some of the amazing things to do in Odaiba.
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Mori Building Digital Art Museum
The Mori Building Digital Art Museum is difficult to describe. Imagine if you will large rooms filled with music and with artwork projected on the walls. Now imagine that the artwork on the walls will react and change depending on your presence or touch.
We started in a room where digital butterflies come to life on the walls and then fly through the rest of the 1st floor of the museum. But be careful because if you touch one of the butterflies it will drop to the ground. Or if you touch one of the flowers in the next room it will lose its pedals.
The next big room had digital waterfalls coming down the walls. If you put your hand on the wall or stand nearby you can watch as the water redirects around you. Streams running down an area of raise “rock” on the floors also will redirect based on where you are.
Dropping down from the ceiling were a series of Kanji characters for fire or fireworks or rainbow, etc. When someone would touch one of these characters it would explode into the appropriate display. Kids were particularly fascinated and you could watch them patiently wait for one of these characters to drop into their reach or eagerly jump to reach it as it dropped.
One room would have strands of lights hanging from the ceiling that would pulse in different patterns that one of the guests was choosing from a console. Other rooms would have rays of light streaming out like a giant disco or hanging glowing lamps that would change color as you walk through.
The hallways would have spectral soldiers or bunny rabbits marching along. The rabbits would stop and turn towards you if you touch them.
The second floor turns up the level of interactivity to 11. There are places where big kids of all ages can bounce or climb or little kids can push balls that change color. Under your feet, there are colorful wales or hand-drawn alligators that would squish if you stepped on one.
One of the areas on the second floor that was extremely popular with kids was an area where you could color in one of a series of sea creatures. You could then take your art to one of the staff who would scan it in and add it to the virtual aquarium on the walls of the room. To complete the tableau you have to add kids running to the wall to point out and follow their creatures.
This amazing museum can get quite crowded on weekends and on holidays. I suggest getting tickets ahead of time and preferably visiting during a weekday. Allow at least 3 hours.
Megaweb Toyota City Showcase
Toyota shows off some of its latest cars as well as some of their ideas for future vehicles in the Megaweb Toyota City Showcase in Palette Town right next to the Mori Building. This is a large area that car buffs should not miss. There are displays of historic cars, concept cars and even the chance to test drive cars. To take part in a test drive you must show a Japanese Driver’s License or International Driving Permit.
Odaiba Statue of Liberty
No, you are not seeing things. Odaiba has a scaled-down replica of the Statue of Liberty that sits just off a walkway in front of the Rainbow Bridge. If you look at some of the tourist pictures it appears to be massive, but it is only 40 feet tall, 1/7 the size of the one in New York Harbor. But your friends at home don’t need to know that. This statue was built in 1998 as a temporary art installation to celebrate relations with the country of France. It was taken down again about a year later but was returned in 2000 because of public outcry about the loss of the popular photo spot.
Unicorn Gundam Statue Odaiba
The other popular statue in Odaiba is the Unicorn Gundam statue in front of Diver City. I called it a transformer but that just shows how little I know of Japanese anime. This 65 foot (19.7 meters) tall statue is from an entirely different franchise of fighting robots.
Miraikan – The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
If you are looking for things to do in Japan with kids, you can step into the future at Miraikan, a museum devoted to innovation and science where you can talk to a robot and enter a space station. Opened in 2001, you can spend a few hours at the museum enjoying its interactive exhibits designed to engage kids, young and old. Miraikan is organized into 3 sections – Discover Your Earth, Create Your Future and Explore the Frontiers – and all the exhibits have descriptions in English as well as Japanese.Weave your way through a physical representation of the internet, map out scenarios showing the impact of climate change and even check out an astronaut’s bathroom. The highlight of your visit is watching one of the regular shows by Asimo, a humanoid and eerily lifelike robot who explains how machines like him will be a huge part of our future. A huge globe known as Geo-Cosmos spins slowly overhead displaying near real time events of global weather patterns and ocean temperatures.Keep an eye out for their temporary exhibitions. When we visited you could help solve a virtual crime with a Manga character.
Tokyo Trick Art Museum
Emily from kidsandcompass.com writes:
If you want to do something lighthearted that’s just good, silly fun then you need to go to Tokyo Trick Art Museum in Odaiba.
Head to DECKS Tokyo Beach mall, out by Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge, and you’ll find the Trick Art Museum on the 4th Floor of the Seaside Mall, through a fantastic street set out as 1950s Tokyo.
You’re going to want to go with a group – the more people, the better – and definitely don’t forget your camera, or a sense of humor.
Inside the museum you’ll find often comic pictures on the walls for you to pose and interact with (there’s a helpful guide to show you what to do by each picture). The “trick” part of the museum’s name comes from the differences in perspective in the scenes which make you become part of the action. You can then, of course, capture the visual trick on camera!
The first part of the museum is based around the Edo period, so there are traditional scenes being played out. The next section is more fantastical with monsters, dinosaurs and characters from Japanese myths and legends represented.
You need to play around with the angles to get the photos to look just right, but this museum is great fun for families or groups of friends, as you can make yourselves look as silly as you like.
Tickets for the Tokyo Trick Art Museum cost 1000Y for adults and 600Y for kids aged 4+.
Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Helen from differentville.com writes:
Visiting an onsen (a hot spring bath) is on the must-do list of many visitors to Japan and, Oedo Onsen Monogatari on Odaiba is Tokyo’s biggest and, probably most tourist-friendly, one to visit.
Arrive, pay the entrance fee (from Y2720 for an adult) and choose the pretty yukata robe you’ll wear as you wander around the outside foot baths and the eating and entertainment areas. Be warned though when you get into the bath area proper (which are segregated by gender), you’re going in naked with only a towel slightly bigger than a face flannel to spare your blushes.
This is where you ‘ll further appreciate Oedo Onsen as the types of minerals in some of the baths change the water color and, slipping nonchalantly in the milky white Bath of Silk (after a soapy scrub in the washroom first) partially hides you as you soak.
You’ll soon realize no-one but you cares that you’re naked; now stride confidently out to the outdoor bath and get on with the more important business of soaking your cares away.
Oedo Onsen opens from 11am-9am the next morning making it a great thing to do in Tokyo in the early morning.
Note, like many onsens in Japan, Oedo Onsen doesn’t allow in people with tattoos.
Danila from travellingdany.com writes:
Odaiba island has so much to offer, but there’s one thing you should add to your Japan itinerary if you want to grasp a feel of the area. Enjoy a cappuccino with Hello Kitty! Café de Miki with Hello Kitty, an official Sanrio-themed café, is located in Diver City, one of the large shopping centers in Odaiba. Many people head over to Hello Kitty’s theme park, so this small café is never overly crowded.
They do have a tasty range of Hello Kitty themed pancakes and treats, that you can enjoy sitting next to a huge “life-size” Hello Kitty plush doll. It’s absolute paradise for lots of instagrammers who come here to take pictures of the British decor. Why British? Well, actually according to the local stories, Hello Kitty is English and was born as a Brit in a suburb near London. So at Café de Miki you’ll find scones in the menu, as well as posters of London red buses and British royal soldiers everywhere.
Prices are average, and the place is quiet enough to allow you to enjoy a late breakfast or a light lunch without having to push through the crowds.
Taking photos is perfectly acceptable, but if you’re planning to take pictures of the staff, it’s always polite to ask them first.
Shopping at Venus Fort
Lena from socialtravelexperiment.com writes
If you happen to be in Odaiba on a rainy day or if you are looking for a place to escape the heat for a few hours a visit to Venus Fort might be just right for you.
This shopping mall looks like a Renaissance Italian city square with fountains, statues and white marble columns. The sky changes regularly from bright blue to an afternoon pink with clouds moving over your head, so you really feel as if you time traveled from Japan today to Italy a hundred years ago.
You can find a wide variety of Japanese clothing and accessories brands as well as restaurants.
But don’t worry, if you are not so much into shopping the Venus Fort has more to offer. You can, for example, visit History Garage a free exhibition of vintage cars. Walking around this area will transport you back into the beginning of the 20th century in Japan with a lot of love for detail including old cameras, coca cola bottles, and plastic dishes in the fake restaurant windows.
I would add that while you are there check out the pancakes at Shounan Pancakes. Yum.
Getting to Odaiba
Tokyo Water Bus
You can easily get to Odaiba via train but can also reach the island via ferry service. I recommend taking the subway there because you will have great views of the Rainbow Bridge and of the Tokyo harbor but then take the ferry back because especially the sleek modern ferry looks just a bit in the future.
Tickets can be purchase from the waterfront on the north end of the island facing the Rainbow Bridge. You can take the ferry as far as Asakusa near the Sensoji Temple.