Tokyo Series: Exploring Odaiba
On the coastline, you can find Tokyo's most popular amusement area: Odaiba. This man-made island has nothing short of shops, food, and entertainment, topped with an amazing view. With the 9 days I had in Tokyo, Odaiba was one of the locations I went back to twice because I felt like I hadn't fully consumed it. This was also my first time on the Yurikamome (sky train), which turned out to be self operated. The train loops around Odaiba, offering killer views of the whole city (including Fuji TV and Diver City's very own Gundam). I recommend trying to secure a seat in cart number one to get a 'conductor's view' at least once. As always, you can peep my Tokyo highlights over on my Instagram @Wanderlustts for bonus videos from the whole trip.
Aqua City Odaiba
Location: 1 Chome-7-1 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 135-0091 Hours: 11AM - 9PM
This was my first stop in Odaiba. Aqua City is a huge shopping complex that houses all your clothing, comic, food and even anime needs. Aqua City is formatted more like your traditional mall, with several floors and plenty of space. Fans of Psycho Pass can enjoy a stop at the Psycho Pass Cafe found right inside the mall - bonus points, this cafe also has killer views. The cafe not only designs their drinks and menu around the theme, but fans can also purchase keychains, phone cases, and related goodies right in the cafe. Aqua City also houses a massive JUMP store, which I actually spent an hour in at the Tokyo Station location. But my favourite part about Aqua City is definitely their selection of restaurants. Not only does the fifth floor contain a ton of amazing restaurant options, you can also find the most popular ramen stalls gathered together here for a truly unreal food experience. Aqua City also has one of the nicest views of Rainbow Bridge right within the upper floors of the mall - try to peep it at sunset.
DECKS Tokyo Beach Location: 1 Chome-6-1 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 135-0091 Hours: 11AM - 9PM
DECKS is another beautiful indoor and outdoor shopping centre that is designed to look and feel as if you are on a luxurious ship. It houses Madam Tussauds Wax Museum, Legoland, and my personal favourite Joypolis (more info below at the arcade section). Here you can also get a great view of Rainbow Bridge on the backside of the third floor. The building's light reflects beautifully on the walkway and it is surely a view you do not want to miss, especially in the evening. The shopping at DECKS is certainly a little more chaotic and cramped, but it has that busy market vibe that I love. There are countless stores with literally something to see at every corner. One of my favourite retro arcade called Icchome Shotengai can be found here (more info below at the arcade section). They even have quirky game stores where you can shoot corks from a rifle to win prizes. Side note, there's a cute little Turkish ice cream vendor right outside DECKS down the stairs - make a stop for sticky ice cream and a chance to be trolled.
DiverCity Tokyo Plaza Location: 1 Chome-1-10 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064 Hours: 10AM - 9PM This was hands down my favourite shopping complex in Odaiba. It's possible I spent the majority of day 2 all within this mall. To start, we absolutely had to see the famous unicorn Gundam outside the plaza. Across, was also a mini Gundam store followed by another Gundam Cafe. If that's not enough, peep the seventh floor of DiverCity Plaza to quench your Gundam needs at Gunpla. The Gundam Base not only has a massive section for figurines, there is also an apparel zone featuring some sick collaborations ($280 Alpha Industries bomber anyone?). Bonus: there's also a huge seating area for people like me. Across Gunpla on the sixth to seventh floor is where you can find Round 1. My first time at Round 1 was actually in LA, and I was so glad to see it again (more info in the arcade section below).
One of my favourite purchases on this trip was from a jewellery shop called The Kiss. It featured so many dainty pieces at such reasonable prices, I had to get a pinky ring for myself. I copped a rose gold ring with a super tiny diamond for around $140USD (tax-free if you present your passport). There were so many floors in this mall, you are bound to find something for any one. If you're looking for western brands, there's even a whole floor dedicated to it. Personally, I prefer to spend my money on clothes I probably can't find back at home.
Location: 1 Chome-3-15 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064 Hours: 11AM - 9PM I didn't find too many things to do here so I didn't stay too long. We actually had a hard time finding the exit. BUT with that being said, I 100% do recommend checking this place out purely for the aesthetic of the whole shopping complex. It's modelled after a European theme, mimicking fake skies and romanesque statues. When I went, there was even a performance happening on one end of the mall.
Tokyo Ramen Kokugikan Mai Location: 5th floor of AquaCity Hours: 11AM - 11PM The fifth floor of Aqua City is a foodie paradise. Located deep within the halls, sits the famous Ramen Theme Park where six of the most popular ramen stalls gather together. It was extremely crowded here, with lines forming in all corners of this area. It took us about 45 minutes before we were seated at lunch for Kanakawa Ramen Shinsen. It was extremely worth it. As with most ramen places, we had to order from a designated ticket machine while we wait in line - something I really appreciated in Japanese culture because they work so efficiently. Note that these machines usually only take cash or IC cards so be prepared if you plan to eat here. We got their famous bowl of rich Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with gold flakes, Spicy Red Miso Ramen with extra seaweed and a poached egg with pork on rice on the side.
Food Court of DiverCity Plaza Location: DiverCity Tokyo Plaza Hours: 10AM - 9PM Don't sleep on the food court here in Japan. Their food court has so much to offer, and I highly recommend giving it a go when you're all shopped out. I had a delicious Tempura bowl for dinner here - though I didn't catch the name (opposite side from the elevator, near the ramen corner). There's also a Gindaco for those craving crispy squid balls as we have for most of the trip. Lastly, have a go at Decora Creamery if you missed your chance at the famous Totti Candy Factory in Harajuku. It's not nearly as big, but you can get the same insta worthy photo with this cute rainbow sweetness.
Icchome Shotengai Location: DECKS Hours: 11AM - 9PM There are a ton of arcades in Tokyo that feature retro games, but none of them do it like Icchome Shotengai. This place is plastered with old school posters (Yes I did see a promotional poster for Ayumi Hamasaki from 1999), and vintage toys in their display cases. I got hit with a wave of nostalgia when I saw their Tama and Friends doll that I use to collect as a kid. I had completely forgot about its existence until I saw it again. Besides the vibe, the selection of games are amazing, with rows of themed pinball machines at your disposal. You got your Street Fighter corner on one end, and all sorts of old school whack-a-mole games on another. Somewhere I highly recommend you check out for a really cool blast in the past.
Joypolis Location: Decks Hours: 10AM - 10PM I loved Joypolis. It is the indoor amusement park that we desperately need here. You have the option to pay $8 for admission or $45 to ride as many times as you want. The rides vary in price, with the bigger rides usually priced at $9, and the smaller ones at $6. My favourite ride was Halfpipe Tokyo, a music based game on the first floor. Here, you play as a team of two to move in sync with each other - if you tilt at the same time at the limit break, you spin at the tip of the ride. The more spins you accumulate, the higher the points you get. We waited about an hour for this ride, but it was worth the wait. The first floor also features an indoor rollercoaster, along with several crane games and a crepe shop called Crepe Ojisan. The second and third floor comprises of immersive/VR games, including horror and/or anime based virtual reality games. You can also find a host cafe on the third floor. It’s hard to say if the lines are always this long, as we went during Golden Week. But if so, you’ll likely find yourself hanging around here for the entire day trying to ride everything.
Round 1 Locations: DiverCity Plaza Hours: 8AM - 6AM With most shops closing early, we reserved the arcades for late night fun since they stay open so late. Like any other Round 1 you know of, you got your rows of crane games, karaoke, and arcade machine games. We actually spent most of time here playing Midnight Racing, with the chance to cycle through and play with a ton of competitors. There's something about going against strangers and just vibing out on the same level of excitement. They kicked my ass of course, but it was tons of fun.
Namco Location: Venus Fort
Hours: 11AM - 9PM
It's not hard to miss the Namco at Venus Fort as it actually takes up a decent amount of space right by their open seating area. Like other arcades, you have a fair selection of crane games and arcade machine games. It's quite brightly lit in this location, which I find rare when it comes to arcades. Nonetheless, there isn't anything significant about this place, but it will still be on this list if you're looking to cool off from the shopping at VF.
THINGS TO DO
Teamlab Planet: This is an exhibition space that is truly one of a kind. Similar to its predecessor Teamlab Borderless, the art space is one I highly recommend for an escape of reality to something otherworldly. Here you can walk in knee-high water, lay on the floor and see the flowers float by and explore immersive rooms that are 100% photo worthy (Photo 1).
実物大ユニコーンガンダム立像 Gundam Statue: Located outside DiverCity plaza you can find this life size Gundam standing at 65 feet tall for all to see. Visit it during the right times (11AM, 1PM, 3PM and 5PM) to see it transform into destroy mode. I highly recommend seeing it at night as well (Photo 2).
Telecom Center Station - Yurikamome: As we were walking through the rain on our way home, we encountered the most beautiful sight of the Rainbow Bridge right next to the station. Unfortunately with only an iPhone camera at our disposal, we weren't able to show it's beauty at its full glory. But what a view nonetheless. It almost made up for all the rain throughout the day (Photo 3).
Toyota Mega Web: A massive Toyota showroom located right by Venus Fort. Here you can test out some of the rides, check out the latest technology, and explore past models from the decades.
Ferris Wheel: What's a vacation without doing all the standard tourist things? Check out one of the largest Ferris Wheels in the world that is bound to give you surreal views of Odaiba and Tokyo for $10 a ride. When I first saw the ferris wheel, my first thought was the Inuyasha ending theme song with Kagome on the ride!