Tag Archive: Odaiba
Tokyo is one of the most exciting (and expensive) cities in the world. It is also Japan’s capital city and the most populous metropolis on Earth. Tokyo, formerly known as Edo, was a small castle town during the 16th century. When Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government in Edo, it quickly became the one of the largest cities in the country.
The Meiji restoration of 1868 saw the move of the capital city to Edo as well as the emperor establishing his permanent residence in the city and was henceforth renamed Tokyo (Eastern Capital).
Odaiba sunset.| Emily Cole at KCP Flickr
Today, Tokyo is a favorite tourist destination and a prominent financial, shopping, and entertainment hub. It is also a haven for Japanese history and tradition.
Even if Tokyo is an expensive city, you can still experience so many of what it has to offer on a tight budget. Here are a few places to visit for free when travelling to Japan:
Get lost in the Imperial Palace gardens. The outer gardens are open to the public for most of the year. The East Garden is probably the most popular with its little bridges, grassy knolls, ponds, and flowering trees. Its gorgeous landscape reflects Japanese aesthetics. Most of the Palace’s administrative offices are located here, including the Imperial Tokagakudo Music Hall, the Archives, Mausolea Department Imperial Household Agency, and the Museum of the Imperial Collections.
Imperial Palace East Gardens. | Matthias Catón
Be enchanted in Harajuku. Harajuku is the Kawaii capital of Japan, is the center of Japanese fashion and youth culture where you can get unique shopping finds and have a great dining experience. Harajuku in Tokyo is the best place to see extreme Japanese pop culture come alive, as well as to appreciate some of the country’s historic sights, all in one place.
Explore Odaiba. Odaiba started out as six artificial fort islands made during the Edo period to protect Tokyo from sea attacks. Tokyo Governor Shun’ichi Suzuki began developing the islands, spending around 1 trillion yen. But it wouldn’t bear fruit until the late 1990s, when it became a leisure and tourist spot as well. By the 20th century, the fort islands had been expanded so that they could be used as a commercial and residential area.
Walk along Tokyo’s Sumida River. The Sumida branches out from the Arakawa River at Iwabuchi and flows directly into Tokyo Bay. It passes through the Tokyo wards of Kita, Adachi, Arakawa, Sumida, Taito, Koto, and Chuo. The river meanders for 27 kilometers and runs under 26 bridges which are spaced about a kilometer per bridge.
There are so many more things to see and do in Japan for free for any frugal traveller!
Sumida River.| Emily Cole at KCP Flickr
Fall 2012 KCP alumna Emily Cole takes us around Tokyo again, this time to Tokyo University and to Odaiba. Thanks for these wonderful shots!
Some background information:
Tokyo University (Tokyo daigaku or “Todai” for short), Japan’s most prestigious university, was established in 1877 and currently accommodates around 30,000 students in a school year.
Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, is home to many popular destinations such as DiverCity and the Telecom Center.
Check out Emily’s photos:
I went to Tokyo University with a friend. The campus is a pretty neat place to visit, and non-students can eat in the cafeteria. | KCP Flickr
The school’s science building had a lot of billboards posted around the central atrium. I had fun seeing how much of the Japanese I could understand. Quite the different graphic design style! | KCP Flickr
The enormous Gundam replica, probably the most famous landmark in Odaiba. | KCP Flickr
Odaiba at dusk, Telecom Center at right. | KCP Flickr
Odaiba with its giant Ferris wheel, Daikanransha, in the distance. | KCP Flickr
For more of Emily’s photos, visit our Flickr set. You can also read our other blog posts about Emily. If you have a question for Emily about her photographs, please ask her.
If you want to enjoy a day of shopping or find a good place to pass the time, visit Odaiba. This artificial island in Tokyo Bay is a hotspot for shopping and entertainment.
Odaiba at night. | pietrozuco
Odaiba started out as six artificial fort islands made during the Edo period to protect Tokyo from sea attacks. Tokyo Governor Shun’ichi Suzuki began developing the islands, spending around 1 trillion yen. But it wouldn’t bear fruit until the late 1990s, when it became a leisure and tourist spot as well. By the 20th century, the fort islands had been expanded so that they could be used as a commercial and residential area.
Odaiba has numerous places of interest. Here are some of them:
The Fuji TV Area
The Fuji Television building, fully earthquake-proof, is a popular Odaiba landmark. The surrounding area is well known for its various shopping malls such as Decks and DiverCity Tokyo Plaza. DiverCity has the Gundam Front Tokyo, which proudly displays a gigantic Gundam statue, and a shop for those who love mecha anime. Then there’s’ Decks with its indoor theme parks and a Legoland Discovery Center.
FujiTV building. |scarletgreen
Telecom Center houses huge satellite antennas and an observation deck that provides spectacular views of the city and Mt. Fuji. There is also lots to see within this area such as the National Museum of Emerging Technologies, also known as Miraikan, with its exhibits on robots, biology, and space exploration. Oeno Onsen Monogatari is both an onsen resort and a theme park, filled with hot spring baths, games, and restaurants.
Palette Town contains the Venus Fort, Toyota Mega Web, Leisureland, and one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels. Venus Fort is a shopping mall made to look like an 18th century town. By contrast, Toyota Mega Web is a showroom that exhibits the latest cars and car gadgets. Leisureland is a good place to pass the time with arcade games, bowling alleys, etc.
Showcase at Toyota Mega Web. | MIKI Yoshihito
Tokyo International Exhibition Center
Nicknamed Tokyo Big Site, the Center is one of the largest convention venues in Tokyo. Its iconic Conference Tower is an eight-story building with the distinctive architectural shape of four inverted pyramids set on giant supports.
There are a variety of ways to get into Odaiba. Two of the more enjoyable routes are through the Rainbow Bridge and via the Yurikamome Monorail, both providing great views of Odaiba.
KCP Japanese Anime and Manga students recently visited Odaiba. Read more about it here!
On July 12, KCP students from the Japanese Anime and Manga Summer Program visited Tokyo Character Street, an underground shopping mall in Tokyo Station. There, they visited some shops which featured popular anime and manga characters. One of these was Jump Shop.
KCP students at Jump Shop. | KCP Flickr
Then, they got on Yurikamome line to go to Odaiba. Yurikamome is a fully automated transit system with no drivers on board. Sitting at the very front of the train car was loads of fun!
At the very front of the Yurikamome line. | KCP Flickr
In Odaiba, the students were treated to the awesome sight of an enormous Gundam robot statue.
They’re dwarfed by Gundam. | KCP Flickr
The next stops were the Gundam café and the FujiTV headquarters.
Taking their pick of FujiTV. | KCP Flickr
It was raining on this day, but rain didn’t get in the way of the students’ spirits and enthusiasm!
Browse more photos at KCP Flickr.
Mary Alania shares some of her adventures around Tokyo and Japan.
My amazing host family took me on a trip to an onsen (hot springs) in Odaiba. I wore a yukata (casual summer kimono) while allowing my feet a little refreshment in the hot spring water.
I was able to fulfill my second dream (the first to go to Japan) by climbing Mt. Fuji. Some KCP friends and I took a bus up to the fifth station and climbed to Mt. Fuji’s peak in late August. The hikes up and down included endless breathtaking views.
Our excursions made for many wonderful, unforgettable experiences. I met and made friends from around the world, including Korea, Malaysia, Canada, and China. Learning and growing with them helped make my KCP experience irreplaceable.
My brother came to visit me during my last month in Japan, so I showed him around, to various spots like Yokohama, Odaiba, Kamakura and Enoshima–and, of course, the Tokyo Tower.
I highly recommend the KCP program to anyone who wants to learn in Japan while gaining the experiences of a lifetime. Why? There are many reasons but the first one for me is the KCP staff. Each person works hard to help us. They maintain a healthy and nurturing environment. When I had a problem (no matter if it was academic or personal) someone was always there to be supportive and listen. KCP understands that their students come from around the world–most of us are living abroad for the first time–and that it can be a very challenging adventure.
Note: Clicking on the photos opens a new window to the KCP Flickr site.
Mary Alania on her experiences as a KCP student.