Everybody tells me to go to Odaiba.
Everyone who goes to Tokyo, Japan goes to Odaiba.
Being a first timer to Japan, I obediently took the effort and spent and 3 hours commuting to Odaiba. In short of a summary, I thought it was a waste of time. But that’s me. Anyhow, you’re going to see and hear all about my trip here!
So the day started settling out from my hostel. I was still staying in Asakusa area and following my map and guidebook, I was supposed to head to Shimbashi station (Ginza Line) to change to Yurikamome line and stop at Daiba station. All for 500 yen – RM20.
BELOW: A quick breakfast from the bakery at Ueno Station; bought the night before. Post HERE.
So I followed my hostel’s very useful guide of the subways and popular destinations in Tokyo. Frankly, staying in hostel rocks. They provide all sorts of useful information for the backpackers. 🙂
2 buns and a carton of wonderful Japanese cocoa milk later, I headed out; walking quickly to the nearest station which happily enough is the very Ginza Line that I was supposed to be on. If you have been hearing how well connected Tokyo is via trains/subways, you have heard right.
Along the way I was being the typical tourist.
In the attempt of “immortalizing” the feel of Tokyo in me, I went click happy and took shots of buildings, roads, the sights, the people, basically anything!
Today I looked back and revived the memories of walking along those busy streets and I could almost transport myself back in the cultural yet busy Tokyo, a city of 2 extremes.
This Phillippe Starck-designed building has a darn pretentious name that I don’t recall but it’s better known as “The Golden Turd” due to its rather laughable design.
It is actually the Asahi Beer Hall on the east bank of the Sumida River opposite Asakusa. The golden form is supposedly the shape of beer foam rising from the beer mug-shaped building below.
In Japan, you don’t get to choose your destination on the ticket machine screen. What you do instead is to refer to the board above you, look for your destination, note the amount you have to pay, then choose that amount on the screen. Then pay and grab your ticket.
My first destination is Shimbashi (Yen 190 – RM8) so I can change to the JR Yurikamome Line which will take me the rest of the journey to Odaiba.
Here’s my train! In Japan, the wait for the train is NEVER long; mostly less than 5 minutes.
Reaching Shimbashi station, I just have to follow the signs that leads to the Yurikamome Line.
In all of my blogposts of Japan you will be seeing a lot of photos taken of the stations. One reason is to remind me of how it was like to travel in Japan using the subways and another is to show you guys how different it is from other parts of the world.
Even in Europe (I was in Paris, Amsterdam & Antwerp) the subways did not have such bustling business presence in its subways where you can buy food, shop, grab groceries and even some make- up/toiletries along the way as you change trains.
And the walk from one station to another, connected as it is, can be a long long walk. In case you’re lost, I alighted at the Ginza Line platform to walk over to the JR Yurikamome Line, and all of this was within the Shimbashi Station.
In most major stations, lockers are available for rental. Prices are 200 – 600 Yen (RM8 – RM24) depending on sizes and each rental is valid for 24 hours.
I have arrived at the Yurikamome Line platform.
Time to buy another ticket. From Shimbashi station to Daiba station – as per my subway guide paper earlier is 310 Yen (RM12).
The Yurikamome is relatively new and what’s great about this train is the view along the way of the Tokyo Metroplitan skyline as you travel to Tokyo Bay – the man made island where Odaiba is.
Another option would be by the Himiko water bus.
The Asakusa-Odaiba cruise ( about 50 mins, cost: 1520 yen, 2-4 rides/day) is popular because of its futuristic designed Himiko boats with panoramic windows. 1520 Yen is 3 times the price of my train ticket. I admit I was conveniently in Asakusa and the pier was just 10 minutes walk away and though that would have been another form of experience, I somehow decided to take the train that day.
I have been on the Singapore River cruise, the Seine River Cruise (Paris) and I can tell you that I have had enough of cruise for now. If the cruise is going through a city, then I would say it feels pretty much the same for every city. I would take a cruise through a Amazon jungle, Iceland or in Vienna. But for now, no cruises for me.
From afar, I could see the famous Fuji Television globe and my heart pumped excitedly. I’m finally near!
But as usual where’s there wackybecky there’s drama.
No one told me that there were many stops along the way that lands you in different parts of the Odaiba city. With me and my last minute non-planning modus operandi, I didn’t really know which stop and just came out of the stop named Daiba, taking for granted that Daiba station takes me to Odaiba. Anyhow, my subway guide did says “Daiba”!
Unfortunately no. I came down at Daiba station and there were nothing around me!
Asking around didn’t help much as no one speaks English. After standing at loss for a while at the station, someone finally told me to go to Aomi station – where the “entrance” to the elusive Odaiba city I seek is. Well, not being entirely familiar I just bought another ticket and head to Aomi station.
At Aomi station I realized that I have landed right smacked in the middle of this whole place called Odaiba. Coming out from the station, I was at Palette Town.
For the uninitiated this is how Odaiba is like. Note the stations and the surrounding areas of interest. I wish I knew this beforehand!
Anyhow, if you do not mind walking, most of the areas of interest are connected via pedestrian walkways. bridges and garden/large squares.
Yups, the whole city is huge. I was really exhausted at the end of the day.
Also I know I mentioned that I found Odaiba boring. You see, other than the Rainbow Bridge, the Ramen City, the Statue of Liberty, the Fuji Television building (which you can’t access anyways) and the Gundam replica, Odaiba is a city full of shopping malls!
The malls are huge, but to travel all the way here for shopping? In Tokyo city itself there’s more than emough malls to keep you occupied!
There’s a Toyota city showcase that shows all Toyota cars from the beginning til today. Test drives are only allowed for citizens with driving license. For the rest of us? Take some photos. I didn’t bother.
Palette Town – a shopping mall.
Joypolis – a mall of sorts.
Aquacity – another mall.
Decks – a mall.
Divers’ City – another mall.
Albeit with a rather interesting facade where you get to view the cars going in and out of the monstrous carpark.
Since I’m already here, I did the customary tourist walk.
But first up, FOOD!
**This post is getting too long! Next page please! 🙂
Hey…I been to here…I remember the Toyota showcase city…hahaha 😛
LOL! Was it boring to you then? Maybe I need a friend for this kind of sightseeing…
Not tat boring lar…snapped my dream car…the sexy Toyota Auris…haha =)
Hahah I should have gone in..but after the initial getting lost I was in quite a bad mood already
Nice, prefer your next post.. cos there’s pics of Gundam and ramen . Hhaah
LOL! Yes, this is more storytelling huh? 😛
I’m browsing your Japan posts to get ideas on what to do in Tokyo (over here on a whim). It seems one of the major attractions here is the Oedo Onsen Monogatari public baths. Planning to give it a try some time this week!
Oh yes Onsens are quite a hit here. I didn’t go to any, as I have been to so many hot springs in Taiwan, Australia and so forth.
Anyhow I was traveling alone and didn’t feel it somehow. Do let me know how’s it’s like, will definitely visit the Arima Hot Springs next year when I revisit.
The onsen definitely are popular, the one I mentioned is in Odaiba, and is a tourist attraction in itself! The best I went to in Japan is in Kawaguchiko. It’s a small village near the base of Mt Fuji, and you get a brilliant view of the mountain while soaking your worries away.
I’d say the main difference for the hot springs in Japan is that you are expected to be fully naked, which is not the norm for most other countries I’ve been to. But when in Rome..