last update: March 09, 2021
Odaiba is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, connected to the city via the Rainbow Bridge. The island as we see it now was built in the late sixties, but remained almost empty until the mid-nineties. 1996 was a turning point for the island: that year the futuristic new headquarters of Fuji TV were inaugurated, together with the modern Telecom Center, the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center, and Decks Tokyo Beach, the first in a long line of large shopping malls to be opened on the island. Odaiba is now one of the most interesting areas of the city, full of shopping and entertainment opportunities, including a Ferris wheel, several museums, a few hotels, a large spa, a Statue of Liberty and a giant Gundam. Furthermore, the island is surrounded by a long coastal park, with a sandy beach facing the city skyscrapers on the other side of the sea, making this place one of the most romantic and fascinating places in Tokyo.
Things to do and things to see in Odaiba
Odaiba is a neighborhood that offers lots of opportunities for recreation, if your goal was to see all that this island has to offer, just one day would not be enough. There are huge shopping centers, museums, parks and beaches on the sea with fantastic views of the city, futuristic buildings, convention centers, museums, spas, and more.
Tokyo Bay view from the panoramic elevator of the Fuji TV Building in Odaiba
Odaiba's main landmarks
Tokyo is said to be the only city in the world where you can see the Eiffel Tower (Paris), the Statue of Liberty (New York) and the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco) at the same time.
The Rainbow Bridge is a suspension bridge, 798 meters long, which connects the artificial island of Odaiba to the mainland, crossing Tokyo Bay. Its construction began in 1987 and ended in 1993. In the evening the white pillars are illuminated by a beam of colored lights that resemble a rainbow, hence the origin of the name. The bridge is crossed by both cars and the yurikamome automatic train, and it is also possible to cross it on foot via two pedestrian paths on both sides of the bridge.
Fuji TV headquarters
(free admission, opening hours 10-18, closed on monday)
In 1996 these new headquarters of Fuji TV, one of the main Japanese television broadcasters, were inaugurated in Odaiba. The building was designed by Kenzo Tange and has a very distinctive architecture that makes it one of the most iconic buildings in Tokyo. The building is 123.45 meters high, with 25 floors in total. The most distinctive element is the large sphere of 32 meters in diameter on one side of the structure, which today houses an observation deck open to the public (700¥). You can freely access some areas in the first floors of the building, which host exhibitions on the most famous TV programs and the official shop.
Statue of Liberty
In April 1998, the French statue of liberty of Île aux Cygnes was brought to Odaiba to celebrate "the year of France" in Japan, in a ceremony that also saw the official visit of the president of the French republic. The statue remained in Odaiba for a little over a year, until May 1999. At the end of the period the statue returned to France, but it was decided to forge a replica to be erected in the same place. The replica is 12.25 meters high and weighs 9 tons. The statue is located more or less opposite the south end of the Aquacity shopping center, and can be observed very closely as an elevated walkway passes right next to the statue.
typical night view from Odaiba
Decks Tokyo Beach
(opening hours 10-21, some restaurants stay open until 23)
Decks Tokyo Beach was the first shopping center to open on the island of Odaiba in 1996, in a complex with different details that recall the nautical theme and divided into two separate buildings. The innermost one is called Island Mall, the one on the sea side is called Seaside Mall. Today this center is one of the main attractions of Odaiba: inside there are not only shops and restaurants, but also a whole series of popular attractions that you can discover in the next paragraphs.
The center is spread over six floors, but the main floor is the third, where there is a large wooden terrace from which to enjoy the panorama of Tokyo Bay, and which resembles the deck of a ship. On this floor there are also the entrances to the main attractions and most of the shops. The fourth floor houses other shops and attractions. The fifth and sixth floors mainly house restaurants, some of which overlook the Tokyo Bay sea.
(opening hours 10-22)
Buy tickets for the Sega Joypolis online 10% Off
Sega Joypolis is a 3-story indoor amusement park based on advanced video games, special effects and virtual reality. The entrance is located on the third floor of the Seaside Mall in Decks Tokyo Beach. The park was completely renovated in 2012, so if you've been there before, you can go back. The entrance ticket costs 800¥, plus the cost of each individual attraction you decide to do. It is also possible to buy a universal pass for all attractions for 4,500¥. You can save 10% by going in the late afternoon or by purchasing tickets in advance on this website.
This area is located on the fourth floor of the Seaside Mall in Decks Tokyo Beach. Don't be fooled by the word "museum", it's not a real museum. The Takoyaki Museum is a free-entry dining area where you will find six different Takoyaki restaurants, offering tons of variations of this popular Japanese street food. There is also a corner where you can buy souvenirs and everything you need to cook takoyaki at home.
Daiba 1-chome Shoutengai
This area is one of our Odaiba favorites. It is located on the fourth floor of the Seaside Mall in Decks Tokyo Beach, next to the Takoyaki Museum. Once you enter the Daiba 1-chome Shoutengai, it will be like traveling through time in Japan in the sixties, the so-called Showa era that arouses strong nostalgic emotions in everyone, Japanese and non-Japanese. Here you will find several quirky souvenir shops, retro items, old-fashioned candy shops, and above all a large arcade full of old-school video games . Here you can play the original video games of Super Mario, Tetris, Street Fighter, Pac-man, the legendary pinball machines, pong, table hockey, and many other particular video games that probably existed only in Japan and that you will see in this place for the first time in your life.
Tokyo Trick Art Museum
(admission 1000¥ opening hours 11-21)
The Tokyo Trick Art Museum is a small "museum" with various three-dimensional installations, optical effects and other very curious things. The purpose of visiting this museum is to have fun taking lots of funny photos using the optical effects inside the museum. It is also located on the fourth floor of the Seaside Mall. The entrance is located between the Takoyaki Museum and 1-Chome Shoutengai.
(admission 2300¥ but you can save 30% by buying it online, opening hours 11-20, from 10 on weekends)
Buy tickets for the Madame Tussauds Tokyo online -30%
This is the only Japanese location of Madame Tussauds, the most famous wax museum in the world and originally from London. Inside you will find around sixty life-size sculptures. Partly these are famous foreign celebrities from all over the world, partly they are Japanese celebrities made exclusively for this Tokyo branch of Madame Tussauds. The entrance is located on the third floor of the Island Mall in Decks Tokyo Beach.
Legoland Discovery Center
(admission 2500¥ but you can save 25% by buying it online, opening hours 10-20, until 21 on weekends)
Buy tickets for the Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo online -25%
An indoor theme park dedicated to the world of Lego and designed primarily to entertain children. The entrance is located on the third floor of the Island Mall in Decks Tokyo Beach.
Palette Town is another shopping and entertainment center in Odaiba, on the other side of the island from Decks Tokyo Beach. The center includes a large Ferris wheel and several buildings, which house a shopping center, a digital art museum, a concert hall, a Toyota showroom.
Venus Fort is the shopping center of Palette Town, with several fashion shops and a few restaurants. The style of this center is very particular: the interior replicates the style of a typical shopping street of an elegant European Renaissance city, while the ceiling gives the effect of a real blue sky above your head, as if you were walking outside.
Daikanrasha ferris wheel
(1000¥ opening hours 10-22)
The Palette Town Ferris Wheel is one of Odaiba's historical landmarks. It was inaugurated in 1999, and with its height of 115 meters it became the tallest Ferris wheel in the world at the time. After so many years, it is still the third tallest wheel in Japan and the sixteenth in the world.
(free admission, opening hours 11-19)
The Megaweb is a mixture of museum and showroom of Toyota, the largest car manufacturer in the world. On the ground floor you will find an exhibition of all the models currently on sale, and an area dedicated to racing cars which also includes several driving simulators. Upstairs you will find exhibits on the latest technological innovations and some Toyota concept cars. In a separate building a few meters from the main one (History Garage) you will also find a whole collection of vintage cars and a café.
Finally, there is the possibility of carrying out a test-drive (300 ¥) choosing from many models (available cars), along a 1.3 km mini-circuit that winds its way in front of Palette Town. If interested, you can book directly on site or even online.
Mori Building Digital Art Museum: Epson teamLab Borderless
Palette Town's newest attraction, opened in June 2018. A wonderful place to see incredible works of art made using computers and projectors. Read more about Odaiba's Digital Art Museum.
This shopping center is located opposite the famous Fuji TV building, and also includes a multiplex cinema. On the fifth floor, among the various restaurants, there is also a special ramen area called Tokyo Ramen Kokugikan Mai, where to find many different styles of ramen to choose from, next to each other (restaurants list).
Diver City Tokyo Plaza
Diver City is most recent shopping center in Odaiba, opened in 2012. In addition to the various shops and restaurants, this mall is super popular thanks to a giant statue of Gundam Unicorn (19,7 high) located outside, in front of the mall. Until April 2017 there was a different statue of Gundam RX-78-2. On the seventh floor there is an area called The Gundam Base Tokyo (opening hours 10-21), basically a large store where you can find any kind of merchandise dedicated to the famous robot, as well as gunpla models. There is also a gallery where to find all the Gundam model kits ever placed on the market, and a few other things of interest aimed to the fans of the series. On the second floor there is also a Gundam Cafe (another Gundam Cafe is located in Akihabara).
Diver City and the life-size Gundam statue
Museum of Maritime Science
(free admission, opening hours 10-17, closed on Mondays)
This museum once included a large collection that has been closed until further notice. Currently only a small area is still open, and for this reason the admission is free. An icebreaker that can be visited internally belongs to the collection.
(admission 620¥, opening hours 10-17, closed on Mondays).
A museum about science and in particular dedicated to those branches most projected in the future such as information technology, biology, robotics, the exploration of space. Many exhibitions are interactive and have an educational purpose. One of the most famous pieces on display is the famous robot ASIMO.
(admission 3200¥, opening hours 11-19, fri and sat until 21, closed every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month)
The most recent attraction of Palette Town, inaugurated in June 2018. A wonderful place to admire incredible works of art created by computers and projectors. Inside there is also a tea house where you can taste one of the most exciting teas of your life.
Read more about Odaiba's Digital Art Museum.
Buy tickets for Oedo Onsen Monogatari online 42% Off
Oedo Onsen Monogatari
A large thermal park. Inside there are numerous restaurants and souvenir shops in an environment that reproduces the Tokyo of the Edo period, but the main attractions are the various pools of thermal water it offers (onsen). To enter the various tubs you must follow the traditional rules of the Japanese bath. Another peculiarity of this place is the fact that it is open almost 24 hours a day, in fact it is closed only between 9 and 11 in the morning for maintenance. The structure offers rooms to rest, both classic (quite expensive), and in "capsule hotel" style.
You can get up to 42% discount on the admission ticket if you buy through Govoyagin.
Tokyo Big Sight
Risupia Panasonic Center
Parks and beach
Certainly one of the most fascinating places in Odaiba is its long seafront
. The large beach in front of the Rainbow Bridge is the most popular spot, but once the beach is over, the boardwalk continues for about a mile with a peaceful green coastal park. At the corner of the island you will find Shiokaze Park
(with several barbecue spots), while at the north end there is Daiba Park
. If you plan to spend a day in Odaiba, make sure you are close to the waterfront at sunset time.
Where to stay in Odaiba, hotels with view over the Tokyo Bay
How to get to Odaiba
Odaiba by Yurikamome
The Yurikamome is an automatic train (without driver) that connects the station of Shinbashi with Toyosu station, passing through the skyscrapers of Shiodome, crossing the Rainbow Bridge, and passing by all the stations in Odaiba; The view from the trains is very fascinating, especially from the "head" of the train. Get off at "Odaiba-kaihinkoen" or "Daiba" station for the waterfront, the Fuji TV building and all the main shopping centers; get off at "Fune-no-kagakukan" station for the Museum of Maritime Science, at "Telecom center" for the Telecom center and Onsen Monogatari, at Aomi for the ferris wheel, at "Kokusai-tenjijo-seimon" or "Ariake" station for the Tokyo Big Sight and the Panasonic Center.
Anyway, if you get off at any of these stops except for the last two stops that are a bit further away, you can reach any interesting point of Odaiba on foot. Leaving from Shinbashi, the Yurikamome costs 330-380¥ depending on where you get off.
Odaiba by boat
You can also reach Odaiba by boat, from Hinode Pier
(20 minutes, 400¥) or from Asakusa
via the sumida River (1 hour, 1500¥).
Odaiba on foot
The island of Odaiba is connected to the mainland by the Rainbow Bridge
, that you can cross on foot walking on the sidewalks on either side of the road. It takes about half an hour to arrive in the area of the waterfront and shopping centers of Odaiba. The bridge is open from 9am to 9pm in summer and from 10am to 6pm in winter, the crossing is free but you can't cross it by bicycle. You also have to choose if you want to walk along the sidewalk north or south of the bridge. From the north walkway you will enjoy a better view of the skyscrapers of the city. Unfortunately, the sidewalks are right next to the road all the way, so you have to breathe constantly the exhaust of vehicles and be disturbed by the noise of cars and trucks. The nearest station to the entrance of the bridge (on the mainland) is Shibaura-futo station, served by the yurikamome.
Map of Odaiba
Guided tours, activities and other things to do
If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Govoyagin
How to use Govoyagin
Govoyagin is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience
, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Govoyagin you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities
all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Govoyagin you can also buy tickets
for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table
in hundreds of restaurants.
Take a look at Govoyagin
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