|The New Developing Waterfront District
of the Metropolis
In the 1980s, in response to surging demand for office space by foreign-own and other companies and to increase migration into the nation's capital, Tokyo Metropolitan Government promoted the 448-ha (1,107-acre) land reclamation and development megaproject along the Tokyo waterfront to include Ariake, Odaiba, and Harumi, and to be completed by 2004. The project was to provide space for 106,000 workers and 63,000 residents. With the collapse of Japan's so-called "bubble economy" and the corresponding withdrawal of many companies which had planned to move in, the project was down-scaled to a level of 72,000 workers and 42,000 residents, and the scheduled completion date was postponed until 2015.
Beginning around 1995, new buildings based on creative
architectural design were completed one after another and a semi-futuristic
city began to take shape. At present, the central commercial facility is
the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, popularly known as "Tokyo Big
Sight." This is an gigantic, comprehensive convention facility, occupying
a total space of 230,000 square meters. The facility got off to a smooth
start, attracting more than 10 million visitors during first 15 months
after it opened in April 1996.
The Odaiba district boasts such amenities as a seaside park, hotels, and beach-side open-air restaurants. Wind-surfing and other water sport events are held here. A computer-controlled monorail system, the "Yurikamome" winds its way among the structures and connects the new city center with the rest of Tokyo, attracting visitors because of its science fiction-like atmosphere as well as the splendid views that passengers can enjoy during a ride.
In addition to the visitors to Tokyo Big Sight, the seaside city center, popularly known as "Rainbow Town," also attracts couples and groups of young people and is gaining popularity as a new sightseeing attraction and one of trendy spots to bring your date.
Photos: (From top) An overall view of "Rainbow Town"; Tokyo Big Sight; the new transportation sysytem "Yurikamome." (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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