Today, I’m going to be sharing some ideas of things to do in Odaiba, Japan. As you already know, we used our month in Tokyo to go on a lot of day trips, and one of them was to Odaiba in search of robots!
This day trip was really fun because it felt like we were transported through time to the future. Odaiba is a large artificial island in the Bay of Tokyo and not only is it home to a lot of futuristic buildings, but it’s also a place where you can see a lot of experimental technology. Robot encounters are normal here and it is mind-blowing!
The fun began before we even reached Odaiba. You see, we travelled aboard the Yurikamome, which is a self-operated train with no conductor.
That’s right, this train is controlled by a computer as opposed to a person and it’s a beautiful ride. Before crossing to Odaiba via the Rainbow Bridge, the train made a wide loop and we got incredible views of the bay. Our tip would be to board the front car if you can!
But now let’s talk about where you can find robots in Odaiba and what else you can do during your visit.
Where to find robots in Odaiba
Junco Chihira at Aqua City Shopping Complex
The first robot we encountered in Odaiba was Junco Chihira at Aqua City Shopping Complex. Junco is an android, meaning she is a robot designed to look like a human.
She works the info desk at the mall and is trilingual, speaking Japanese, Chinese and English. She’s able to answer questions and offer general visitor information, though most people at her desk were there to take pictures and try communicating with a robot for the first time – no one was in actual need of visitor information.
It was also quite amusing seeing that the second info desk staffed with real people was pretty quiet because everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of Junco instead!
Unicorn Gundam at DiverCity
The next robot we visited in Odaiba was Unicorn Gundam outside DiverCity. Gundam is a fictional robot from an anime series and he stands 20 meters tall. He also draws big crowds!
Unicorn Gundam undergoes a transformation a few times a day, changing from Unicorn Mode to Destroy Mode. During this transformation, lights begin to glow, his armour plates shift and his unicorn horn splits in two.
People gather to witness the show and then, there’s a Gundam Café selling light snacks and souvenirs – picture lots of Gundam miniatures!
ASIMO at Miraikan
Our third robot encounter of the day was at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, simply known as Miraikan. Here we met ASIMO, a humanoid robot that was created by Honda in 2000.
ASIMO stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility and he sure lives up to that! The goal with ASIMO was to create a robot that could walk, but they also achieved a robot that can hop on one foot, dance, play football and more. If you’re planning to visit the museum, it’s worth sticking around to watch his performance.
Other things to do in Odaiba
I wanted to visit Odaiba mostly for the robots, but there are plenty of other things to see and do on the island like shopping, museums, and various exhibits focusing on technology and digital art.
So here are some ideas to get you started:
Meet the other robots at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
I’ve already mentioned ASIMO, but there are many other robots to interact with inside the museum. For me, one of the most fascinating robots was Alter, who is able to move and make facial expressions that are almost life-like.
Museums are an especially nice idea because summer in Japan can be extremely hot and humid, and the air conditioning in here felt divine!
Visit the MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM
Keeping with the theme of technology and the future, this is a place where you can experience digital art as it moves through rooms and takes you into a magical world of lights and fantasy. This is a very popular attraction, so you’ll want to make sure tickets have not sold out for the day before you visit – you can do so online.
See Odaiba from the Hachitama Spherical Observation Room
One of the most unusual buildings you’ll see in Odaiba is the Fuji TV Headquarters, a futuristic structure with a massive sphere that kind of resembles a spaceship. The sphere can be accessed by a series of escalators and elevators and once you enter, you have 360-degree views of the city.
Check out the cars at Toyota Mega Web
This is a car theme park where Toyota exhibits its cars ranging from current models available on the market to more futuristic concept models. At Toyota Mega Web you can learn about the history of certain car models, test drive some cars in a closed circuit (an international driver’s license is required for this!), and have a virtual reality experience where you can see what it’s like to ride in a self-driving vehicle. Perfect for the automotive enthusiast!
Ride the Daikanransha
When the Daikanransha Ferris wheel first opened in 1999, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. Today, it stands 115-metres tall and the 16-minute ride offers views of Odaiba, Tokyo and beyond – they say you can even see Mount Fuji on a clear day!
Visit the former military battery post on Daiba Park
This park sits on what was once a fortified island and that’s why it’s surrounded by walls that are anywhere between 5 to 7 meters tall. The name for Odaiba actually comes from the 6 island fortresses that were constructed to protect the city from attack by sea during the Edo period.
Visit the beach, but don’t go in the water
Odaiba has a lovely stretch of beach, but the only downfall is that it’s illegal to go swimming! That doesn’t stop people from dipping their feet, picnicking and sunbathing, but if you’re looking for something a bit more active, you can rent stand-up paddleboards.
Snap a photo of the colourful doors at Soho Building
The Soho is a 13-story office building with brightly painted doors; this has made it every Instagrammer’s dream. If you really want the rainbow doors to pop in your pictures, it’s recommended to visit at night.
Let your inner child out at LEGOLAND
If you’re visiting Odaiba with family, another place to consider is LEGOLAND Discovery Center. This is a space designed for children, where they can go on rides, enjoy some 4D cinema, and of course, visit Miniland where you can see cities built out of lego.
Find the Statue of Liberty
Did you know that there are hundreds of replicas of the Statue of Liberty around the world, including one in Odaiba?
This particular statue was erected as a temporary monument from 1998-1999 to pay tribute to ties between France and Japan, however, it was so popular that it became a permanent fixture in 2000.
Spent the day at the onsen
Oedo-Onsen Monogatari is an onsen theme park, so it’s a bit different from your traditional onsen experience. Here you can dress up in yukata, wander through a mall that resembles the Edo period, throw ninja stars, visit a fortune teller, and sample popular Japanese dishes at the many eateries.
Aside from these activities that provide some entertainment, you can also experience the communal baths or the foot bath if you don’t want to strip down!
Travel back in time to the Renaissance at Venus Fort
This shopping mall is designed to feel like you’re walking through Europe during the Renaissance. There’s an ornate fountain with the illusion of a domed ceiling, plus the aisles are lined with columns and statues. There’s even an illuminated sky that changes colour to reflect the passing of time – sunrise, noon, sunset and night – all within the span of one hour.
Try Hawaiian hamburgers
There are lots of food options in Odaiba, especially considering the number of malls with their own food courts, however, we really enjoyed KUA’AINA, a Hawaiian burger and sandwich grill that serves some real masterpieces. We loved the avocado burger!
See Odaiba from a river cruise
To see Odaiba from a different vantage point, you can board one of three futuristic vessels belonging to Tokyo Cruise. They have departure points across Tokyo including a route from Asakusa to Odaiba Seaside Park.
Try Japan’s favourite snack at the Takoyaki Museum
The Takoyaki Museum is a bit like a themed food court with a collection of shops where you can try fried octopus balls. Each shop specializes in a different variety of takoyaki and you can watch it be made right in front of your eyes. The Takoyaki Museum is located inside DECKS Tokyo Beach.
Admire the Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects Odaiba to the mainland. It lights up at night, so it’s best viewed once the sun’s gone down.
And if you’re into the whole futuristic vibe Odaiba has to offer, you can then book a super modern capsule hotel in Tokyo (that honestly feels a bit like a spaceship).
So those are just a few suggestions of things to do in Odaiba. Now, I leave you with a video we filmed during our day trip so you can get an even better idea of what it’s like on this island of the future. Happy day-tripping!