Tracing the origins of this reclaimed land, we learn that Odaiba, consisting of six small islets, was initially constructed in 1853 as a daiba (台場, fort) to protect Edo from naval attacks following the invasion from an American naval fleet. Odaiba was later transformed into a seaport district sometime during the late 20th century, becoming the bustling place we know today.
Now recognized as Tokyo’s largest man-made island for shopping and all sorts of entertainment, tourists and locals flock to Odaiba all year round. The former fort is especially popular amongst couples and young families, offering a variety of theme parks and shopping facilities as well as restaurants with stunning views overlooking the Tokyo Bay.
Odaiba Tokyo Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari: Rediscover the bathhouses of Edo
Onsen lovers, you are in for a treat! Get ready for a hot spring experience like no other at this Edo-themed onsen facility, which recreates the appearance of feudal Japan.
Rent a yukata and stroll down the main hall decorated to capture the atmosphere of a typical Japanese matsuri (祭, festival) street. Aside from the various food booths available, you can even take part in the festival games.
Soak in their luxurious bath areas, which provide a variety of options from rotenburo (露天風呂, open-air baths) to outdoor barrel baths and more. The small garden dedicated to foot baths is the highlight for most visitors. Beautifully adorned with traditional bridges and lanterns, this common area is the best place to relax with friends and loved ones.
Address: 2-6-3 Aomi, Koto-ku
Opening hours: 11am – 9am (overnight, last admission 7am)
Admission: ¥2,612 on weekdays & ¥2,828 on weekends (adults); ¥1,058 (children); evening discount available
Access: 2-min walk from Telecom Center Station (Yurikamome Line)
Yakatabune Amikou: An Edo-style voyage
Hop on a Yakatabune cruise from one of the two piers at Asakusa and begin your voyage to Odaiba. On board, sample the freshest seafood brought in directly from Tsukiji Fish Market as you journey down the Sumida River.
Laid with tatami (畳, rice straw mats) and low wooden tables, the inside of the boats resemble a typical Japanese home, making it a comfortable setting for get-togethers. Equipped with karaoke, there is no room for boredom aboard this ship!
Address: Pier 1: 1-23 Azumabashi, Sumida-ku, Pier 2: 1 Imado, Taito-ku
Admission: Cruises start at ¥8,500 (tax excluded)
Access: Pier 1 Azumabashi Bridge: 5-min walk from Asakusa Station Exit 5 (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line) / Pier 2 Sakurabashi Bridge & Sanbashi Bridge: 15-min walk from Asakusa Station Exit 5 (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
Symphony Tokyo Bay Cruise: Breath-taking views and extravagant meals
While cruising down the metropolis, how about pampering yourself with exquisite Italian or French cuisine on board? Choose from a lunch, sunset or dinner plan and take in the dreamlike views of the cityscape from your seat.
Address: 2-7-104 Kaigan, Minato-ku
Opening hours: 11.50am – 7pm (Boarding time varies)
Admission: From ¥1,500 ~ ¥3,800 (adults), ¥750 ~ ¥1,900 (children)
Access: 1-min walk from Hinode Station (Yurikamome Line)
(This feature first appeared on WAttention Singapore magazine, Jul/Aug 2018 Vol. 45)