I must admit, the time we spent in Tokyo felt more like an afterthought rather than an actual leg of our Japan tour. It was SO SHORT. So short.
I don’t even know if I’m well-equipped to blog about it, because the time we were here slipped right through my fingers. There could have been so much stories about Japan’s utterly diverse capital, but we didn’t have any time to visit its popular spots like Shiunjuku, Harajuku, Akihabara, Tsukiji Fish Market, Yoyogi and Ueno Parks… And so much more! There was a quick stopover at Ginza for a bit of shopping (hello 10-storey Uniqlo!), but mostly we got a few hours to ourselves walking around Odaiba way out in Southern Tokyo just because we lived there.
All the more reasons to return, just like my friend Rainbowholic would always tell me.
The corner of Odaiba that I was privy to was a rather quiet one, which to me is odd since I’m so used to seeing images of Tokyo crawling with all sorts of interesting people. We lived in the Tokyo Nikko Hotel, which is a quick walk away from several shopping malls. So I guess you can imagine how little time we spent indoors. And did I mention the view from the hotel windows are superb? Behold the iconic two-storey bridge that connects Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo.
The Rainbow Bridge is probably the most iconic structure in the Tokyo Bay area.
It might be a little strange seeing a replica of the Statue of Liberty smack in the middle of Japan, a country that is admiringly patriotic of their own, but this statue has nothing to do with the American statue. It’s more like a replica of a statue that was erected here in 1998 as a symbol of Japan and France’s friendship. As to why they chose to make it look like New York’s statue, I really don’t have a clue!
Living in a pretty fancy hotel in Odaiba was both a pleasure and a bit of a waste. We never really spent time inside except to sleep and eat breakfast. But when your breakfast area has the view of the Rainbow Bridge, can you really complain?
The best thing about our hotel is that it’s actually connected via a bridge to Decks Tokyo Beach and AquaCity, two shopping malls that feature various stores and attractions. We had dinner at Decks the night we arrived in Tokyo so I was able to spot some interesting things inside, mainly Tokyo Joypolis by Sega. This place is heaven for gamers, and while I myself am a fan of Japanese console games I didn’t feel as enthusiastic without my brothers. But apparently there is also a Madame Tussaud Wax Museum and a Trick-Eye Museum in here. The Decks is one of the best places to photograph the Rainbow Bridge by the way.
We didn’t really explore inside AquaCity except to go straight to a souvenir store where we stocked up on Japanese snacks to take home as gifts. (Also where I spotted matching Sailormoon Mugs that I would’ve bought for friends had it not been so expensive haha! By the way, I’ll write about my Japanese Snack Haul another time.) I later found out that AquaCity actually houses a ramen-themed food theme park where you can acquaint yourself with all the different types of ramen Japan has to offer. That’s what happens when you do the research AFTER the trip… I wasn’t expecting to get any free time to be honest.
In Japan, most shopping malls make it a point to have something interesting that sets them apart from others, so it’s worth doing a bit of research regarding what you can find in the immediate area of your Tokyo home away from home, especially if you have more time in your hands than I did during this visit.
We crossed over to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza via an overpass and ended up in front of what is one of my favourite-named subway stations ever: Tokyo Teleport! Close by is the entrance to DiverCity, and as my Dad and I made our way around I grabbed a map of the mall and was scanning it when I noticed the unmistakable drawing of a Gundam head on one corner of the map.
I quickly realized that this was where the Gundam Café is located, which means giant Gundam is here too! As an anime geek, I told my Dad I wanted to see the giant Gundam and he just gave me a look that meant he clearly didn’t get what I was going on about. Luckily it was quite close to the food court where we had our dinner, so while my Dad was ordering I ran off to the garden outside.
Funnily enough, there were A LOT of foreigners out there snapping away. We were like this group of children fixated on a giant toy while the locals were just walking past us. I kind of had to laugh at how excited we all were when the Gundam started moving its head and the lights flashed on its big body. Couldn’t understand a word of the animation playing via projector against DiverCity’s façade because it was in Japanese, but this would’ve been so much cooler if the Gundam’s arms could move too.
Asking it to fly would be too much, but who knows? This is Japan after all. Maybe in about 5 years haha!
The Gundam statue stands right in front of the café, which I didn’t visit because my Dad is clueless about anime and I would prefer to visit it with my brothers next time. I realized during this time how weird it feels to go on a trip without my brothers when we’re talking about family trips.
After a dinner of tsukemen we treated ourselves to a Matcha ice cream sandwich by Haagen Dazs. Matcha lovers should go on ahead and inhale as much matcha as they can in Japan, just like I did! And boy does Japan have some really good ice cream.
On our walk back to our hotel, my Dad and I took the route over at Decks so I can take snapshots of the Rainbow Bridge with its evening lights so pretty. A great memory to take home during our last night, wouldn’t you agree?