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March 28, 2006

A sunny afternoon in Odaiba

What better way to spend a sunny (pre-) spring day then go to Odaiba? Actually, no need to answer that.

Odaiba is a funny place. It is an island built on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, which means that there is nothing old or historical to get in the way of development. As a result, it does not have the crowded feel of other parts of Tokyo. The downside, of course, is that it is the last place you want to be if there is a major earthquake!

You can get to Odaiba on the Yurikamome Monorail (¥370 from Shimbashi Station) or by water taxi from Hinode Pier. We took the monorail in both directions - you get nice views, especially when you are going over the Rainbow Bridge. You can also access Odaiba on the subway using the Rinkai Line, but I have no idea where that goes...it is just sort of there.

The prime attractions are the Palette Town/Venus Fort shopping center, which made a huge splash when it opened. It was positioned as an upscale shopping area at the time, but seems to be moving downmarket in the face of competition from new more easily accessible developments like Roppongi Hills, Marunouchi Building and Omotesando Hills. But, still good fun to walk around in.

We walked around the bayfront park (nice day for a stroll and not crowded at all!) first and had lunch at Kua'Aina, a Hawaiian hanmburger place (it is very good!). On the way, I got my first close-up view of the Statue of Liberty. The Tokyo version, I mean (see below). There is also a pictures of the Fuji TV building, which is easily identifiable from the rest of Tokyo (assuming the wall of new skyscrapers in Shiodome does not block your view).

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These are pictures of Tokyo from Odaiba (left) and a ship at Tokyo Port (right) taken from the Aomi Station.

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Posted by Kirk on March 28, 2006 10:33 AM