Not sure you can tell from the pictures but Day 4 of our trip was a rainy, windy mess of a day. We decided to stay mostly indoors and detoured to Odaiba, a shopping and entertainment district on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay. In the late 90s, Odaiba was the hottest place in Tokyo, but by 2012, it had lost a lot of its luster to trendier areas in Roppongi, Omotesando and wherever the kids are going these days. Still, it’s an interesting place to visit.
Amongst other attractions, there’s no less than four shopping malls, exhibition centers, museums, and a Edo Period-themed hot springs theme park called Oedo Onsen Monogatari. There are many ways to get on the island, but the most unique are the Yurikamome elevated train which traverses Rainbow Bridge and the Tokyo Water Bus.
Japan has, well, three Statues of Liberty, an Eiffel Tower, and one life-size Gundam Robot, just to name a few attractions. Plenty to stare at.
Japan also has no shortage of interesting architecture. This one is the Fuji TV Building on Odaiba.
The Toyota Mega Web is like a combination interactive showroom and museum. If you have an International Driving Permit (available at AAA for $20), you can test drive pretty much any vehicle in the Toyota lineup.
Had to stop off at Leisureland, a huge entertainment center.
Lunch: bacon and egg cheeseburger, ebi katsu burger, fries. No doubt the foodies are disappointed, but it tasted remarkably like McD’s. We’re talking corporate theft here (just no sesame seed bun).
And there was also snacks to be had.
The Japanese do love their Ferris Wheels, but since the winds were blowing at 50 knots that day, this ride was closed.
A random shop we passed by. The pink nightmare that is Hello Kitty’s Kawaii Paradise.
After our jaunt through Odaiba, we went back to Chiba to visit my old boss. This gave us an opportunity to eat at what was my (nostalgic) favorite tonkatsu restaurant chain, Katsuhana. If you are a tonkatsu afficianado, this won’t be the best you’ll ever try, but it’s not bad.
And, finally, a shout out to this heroic taxi driver who was watching TV as he was driving us around (you can see the screen to the left of the steering wheel), but also turned back and delivered my phone to me after I put it on the seat after taking this picture.
- Japan 2012 – Introduction, Day 1
- Japan 2012 – Day 2, Part 1 – Tsukiji and 3 Breakfasts
- Japan 2012 – Day 2, Part 2 – Asakusa, Kappabashi
- Japan 2012 – Day 3 – Tokyo Disney Sea and a Journey to Nostalgia
- Japan 2012 – Day 5 – Ueno, Meiji Jingu, Yoyogi, Omotesando, Shibuya
- Japan 2012 – Day 6 – Travel Day by Shinkansen, Kyoto
- Japan 2012 – Day 7 – Kyoto and Nara Day Tour
- Japan 2012 – Day 8 – Bicycling through Kyoto, Turtle Dinner
- Japan 2012 – Day 9 – Kyoto Imperial Palace, Ginkakuji, Travel Day to Hakone
- Japan 2012 – Day 10 – Hakone Circuit and Onsen-ing
- Japan 2012 – Day 11 – Travel Day Return to Tokyo and Sushi at Kyubey
- Japan 2012 – Days 12-13 – Akihabara Craft Beer Festival and Our Goodbyes to Japan