Odaiba Area


Odaiba is a man-made island out in Tokyo Bay, and it’s home to the kind of experiences you’ll definitely tell your friends about when you get home. The hot spring theme park, the Trick Art Museum, the Miraikan science museum, and Legoland all cluster here, making it easy to fill an entire day with so much sensory overload, we’ll be reeling.

First stop, Aomi station/Tokyo-Teleport

If you see nothing else in Tokyo, see this.

Just a few of the astounding immersive environments you’ll explore at the TeamLab Borderless digital museum

The TeamLab Borderless digital museum is truly the only one of its kind in the world, and is so worth spending time in, I can’t say it often enough. It’s a constantly morphing and changing digital environment, including an interactive waterfall, and artwork that wanders throughout the museum. You can walk through a pulsing and shimmering crystal LED maze, immerse yourself in a room filled with floating lanterns that react to your presence, and if you’ve got kids, there is a whole floor of playspace with a fantastic trampoline, giant light-changing bouncy spheres, and play structures. Lots more photos and info on how to get tickets here.

If you like cars, we should stop at the Toyota Mega Web, a car showroom so huge they have a test track inside for trying out their newest models
Sometimes they have crazy demo cars on display.

And let’s not miss the History Garage while we’re there, which is not only a fun stroll, it’s FREE.

This Toyota MegaWeb museum is styled to look like a town where all the cars are rare, famous, or both.

And we can’t leave this area without paying our respects to the five-story giant Gundam robot outside the DiverCity shopping mall…

As evening falls, the view from the big ferris wheel just gets more spectacular. If we don’t have the energy to walk back to mainland Tokyo across the Rainbow Bridge, the view of the twinkling Tokyo skyline from the top of this is pretty nice.

You can’t miss the Odaiba ferris wheel – make your way to its stately hugeness through the Toyota Megaweb showroom

On the other side of the courtyard in front of the MegaWeb showroom is Palette Town, which is just another shopping mall (although they do have a pet store with outrageously expensive puppies and kittens, and a Village Vanguard store) but the interior is kind of entertaining because it’s an exact replica of the shopping arcade at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, right down to the changing daylight inside. How weird is that?

In the month of December, the Venusfort mall hos some excellent Iluminations
In the month of December, the Venusfort mall has some excellent Illuminations

Telecom station

But let’s move on to the Oedo Onsen! It’s an only-in-Japan indoor theme park, built just like an Edo-era (samurai times) hot spring resort town. We’ll change into our yukatas (thin cotton kimono), then meet up in the town square before going to the bath areas (separate for men and women), where we’ll jump into all the different hot spring baths. Afterwards, we can meet up again in the outside courtyard for a walk through the flowing foot bath stream. There’s even a hut with a pool where we can get a therapy fish pedicure.

Lots more details and how-tos on the Oedo Onsen here.

And even if we’re not traveling with kids, a stop at The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (better known as the Miraikan) is always entertaining. It’s stuffed with exhibits on all the technologies that Japan excels at: robots, virtual reality, interesting manufacturing stuff, and a giant mechanical model of the internet. It’s their special exhibits I love the most though. Recently they had a fascinating look at that most human and unmentionable of subjects: poo!

If we’re feeling energetic, we can walk across the Rainbow Bridge from Tamachi Station and see the amazing views of Odaiba and the Tokyo skyline along the way (takes about half an hour).

From the South Promenade, you can see the lights of Odaiba. From the north side, you see the Tokyo skyline.
From the South Promenade, you can see the lights of Odaiba.
From the North Promenade, you can see the lights of the city and Tokyo Tower.

Or if we don’t feel like walking, we can take the monorail from Shinbashi station. It loops out over the bay, and we’ll get a great view of the island as we go from station to station. Once we get to Odaiba, there are fun things to do at every station.

Odaiba Kaihin-koen station

First, let’s stop at The Trick Art Museum. It has 45 different scenes designed so you can pose in them and take pictures doing incredible feats.

You can do everything from battling ninjas…
…to surviving a shark attack.

Then let’s go upstairs and stop by the Sony Explorascience Museum. It has lots of entertaining light and sound exhibits to play with, then I will totally beat you at Smile Fight.

Battle Royale!
Battle Royale!

Then, if we’ve brought along a kid or two, let’s go to Tokyo Legoland. It’s got models of all my favorite Tokyo neighborhoods (built of Legos, of course!), and as the lighting cycles through 24 hours, the cars roaming the streets turn on their headlights and the buildings light up. They’ve even sneaked in a few fun surprises, like a button that makes Godzilla pop up out of a Shibuya skyscraper and a baseball stadium that’s actually a pinball game you can play. (Note: Adults aren’t allowed to go into Legoland without a kid, so be sure you recruit one before you try to buy a ticket.) Anyone can go in the store, though, which has awesome Lego-themed merchandise like Minfig popsicle molds.

The trees in the Legoland model of Senso-ji temple change color with the seasons.
The trees in the Legoland model of Senso-ji temple change color with the seasons.

On the lower level of the Sea Side Mall building is Joypolis, an indoor amusement park/arcade with lots of virtual reality rides.

Hungry yet? Restaurants are on the 5th & 6th floors, and the ones on the Tokyo side have great views.

There’s even a retro shopping street, where the stores sell souvenirs from byegone days

Not only can you buy excellent old-fashioned souvenirs here (think vintage toys & such), it’s also a great place to hunt for capsule toys (gachapon)


Click here to explore more

Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

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2 Replies to “Odaiba Area”

  1. Hi Jonelle

    Really nice post. I also write a lot about Japan. Please check out my blog for new article ideas! Hope we can keep in touch!


  2. Thanks Zelli! I’ll go over and catch up on your blog too – it’s great to meet people who like the same things I do!

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