Odaiba: Tokyo`s futuristic island

(See page 2 for German Version)

When people, who are planning to visit Tokyo, ask me what my recommendations for the city are, Odaiba is actually always among my top 5. One of the most interesting things about Tokyo is that it has so many different faces and that every city district has its own history to tell and attracts certain types of visitors (… apart from the hundreds of thousands of tourists …). While in Asakusa one can find a remaining part of traditional Tokyo, Harajuku and Shibuya can be seen as a symbol for youth culture and young fashion trends, Akihabara is known for its geek culture and electronics, etc., there is also Odaiba, an artificial island in the bay of Tokyo, which for me is the futuristic counterpart of Asakusa. Of course you can get a glimpse of Tokyo`s modernness here and there in other areas, too, but Odaiba could be seen as the high-tech highlight here, – at least when it comes to the cityscape!

Its futuristic aspects already become obvious when you get on the monorail that brings you to the small island, crossing the Rainbow Bridge, which, as its name suggests, at night (sometimes) is illuminated in all the colors of the rainbow. There are also the Fuji TV – Studios, which look as if they had been taken from the set of a Sci-Fi movie with their combination of symmetrical shapes, and Tokyo Big Sight, a huge hall for fairs and exhibitions that looks just as modern. And there is even an impressive 18m high Gundam robot (which however is still waiting for even newer technologies that will teach it how to move) standing behind one of the shopping centers.

I liked Odaiba right from the first time I had been there. And not only because of the many attractions and random things like a small Statue of Liberty, but also because it offers something that is rare to find in Tokyo: space. The sidewalks are wide and the many shopping centers are standing so far apart from each other that the amount of people is not that obvious – even if the number of Odaiba`s visitors has increased in recent years. When the weather is good, you can see many children playing at the beach, families with strollers that are going for a walk, and even a few magicians who enchant their audience with their special tricks. They all fill the coldness, the abstract buildings of Odaiba evoke with warmth and fill the artificial island with life. Whether people come for shopping, sightseeing, a little more space or for other reasons to Odaiba, – they will never leave disappointed.

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