Trip Report: Japan 2012 – Day 4 – Odaiba and Hometown Tonkatsu

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.

Rainbow Bridge on the way to Odaiba via the Yurikamome. Image Credit: Ryan.

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.

Lady Liberty, Tokyo Bay. Image Credit: T.

Japan also has no shortage of interesting architecture. This one is the Fuji TV Building on Odaiba.

Fuji TV Building, Odaiba. Image Credit: Ryan.

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.

Toyota Mega Web, Odaiba. Image Credit: Ryan.
The Line Up, Toyota Mega Web. Image Credit: Ryan.

Had to stop off at Leisureland, a huge entertainment center.

Leisureland, Odaiba. Image Credit: Ryan.
Dance Dance Embarrassment. Image Credit: T.
Sumo Struggle. Image Credit: T.
The Scope of Leisureland. Image Credit: Ryan.

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).

Odaiba Lunch. Image Credit: Ryan.

And there was also snacks to be had.

Cup Noodle Vending Machine. Image Credit: T.
Ice Cream Vending Machine. Image Credit: T.

The Japanese do love their Ferris Wheels, but since the winds were blowing at 50 knots that day, this ride was closed.

Ferris Wheel, Odaiba. Image Credit: Ryan.

A random shop we passed by. The pink nightmare that is Hello Kitty’s Kawaii Paradise.

Kawaii Paradise, Odaiba. Image Credit: T.
Ryan Under the Happiness Tree. Image Credit: T.

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.

Katsuhana, a Place for Tonkatsu. Image Credit: Ryan.
Beers and Pupu, Katsuhana. Image Credit: Ryan.
Rosu and Ebi Katsu Teishoku, Katsuhana. Image Credit: Ryan.

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.

Heroic Taxi Driver. Image Credit: Ryan.


Questions, Comments or Criticisms?