When we visited Japan in 2016 we had originally planned to spend an entire day in Odaiba. There were so many things we wanted to see and do that we weren't even sure we would be able to fit it all into a single day. While we decided to call off visiting Odaiba in lieu of gyozas and arcade games we weren't going to make that mistake this time. We carved out two full days for Odaiba and today was the first of those days. The only concrete plans were to be in Odaiba by noon and stay at least until at the sun went down so we could see the skyline of Tokyo all lit up.
Since most commercial places don't seem to open until 11am in Tokyo we decided that we would get in some sightseeing before heading to Odaiba. We chose to visit the Hamarikyu Gardens because it was very close to Shiodome Station where we would catch the Yurikamome line to take us to Odaiba.
What continues to amaze me about Tokyo is not only just how many parks they have but how unique all of them seem to be. Hamarikyu Gardens is apparently a typical Daimyō garden with a large tidal pond which means it is connected to the ocean and has the ability to alter the consistency of the water by letting in more salt water. In the middle of the tidal pond is an island and on that island is a teahouse with a large deck that literally extends out onto the water. So you're probably thinking "That sounds like a cool park. I think I'll go visit it someday." well guess what I am not done. This garden was also used as a recreational duck hunting grounds and all of the huts and tools that were used for it are preserved and on display. The southern part of the park contains a massive plum garden and a huge 300 year old pine tree that is literally held up by struts. The final cherry on top was that Elsie found a stray cat sunbathing.
By now it was a little after noon and we decided it was time to head to Odaiba and find some food. We took the U train line to Odaiba-kaihinkōen Station and made our way to DECKS Tokyo Beach where we found some delicious tonkatsu at Tonkatsu Wako. Mine literally came in a bubbling iron skillet. We explored the rest of the shopping mall (both the seaside and island towers) where we found an arcade that consisted solely of games from the 70s. I'm sure the amount of iron in those cabinets was staggering.
Having spent a good amount of time indoors we headed outside and walked along the northern side of the island and got great views of the the Rainbow Bridge, a replica of the Statue of Liberty and the iconic James Bond villian headquarters of Fuji TV. We then headed south and made our way to what was the main reason I wanted to come to Odaiba, the life-sized Gundam statue. This thing was absolutely massive, almost 20 meters tall, and it also lit up and partially transformed. As someone who grew up loving Gundam Wing, seeing this thing in person was an absolute dream come true.
After prying ourselves away from the Gundam we made our way over to Palette Town and got on the Daikanransha ferris wheel. Being the daredevils we are, Elsie and I opted for a completely glass car and were treated to a beautiful view of central Tokyo. When the ride finished it was getting close to sundown so we headed back to the northern edge of the island, as close to Rainbow Bridge as we could get, and waited for the sun to set. Watching the city slowly light up as the sun went down was one of the more amazing things I have seen during my time in Tokyo. Once the sun completely set and Tokyo was lit up we made one more pass of Odaiba and got some more great pictures of both the life-sized Gundam and the ferris wheel completely illuminated.
Having been outside for over three hours now we decided it was time to reward ourselves and entered the Diver City shopping center. We went to the The Gundam Base Tokyo store and bought ourselves some miniature Gundam models before heading to UNIQLO so I could buy some winter clothing because I grossly underestimated how cold it would be in Tokyo. Damn San Francisco and its singular climate. It has fucked with my brain. I barely remember that seasons exist anymore.
At this point Elsie and I were running on empty but we really wanted to see the life-sized Gundam transform at night so we got some coffee to kill time until 7:30pm. It was then we got to experience a totally kick-ass show complete with sound effects and everything. Throughly satisfied with our time in Odaiba we headed back to our Airbnb and watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi to relax. Afterwards it was time to get some sleep because tomorrow we would be heading back to Odaiba to finally check out Joypolis.#Japan#Tokyo2017