2019 NO.27

Strolling JapanStrolling Japan


The Tokyo Bay Area: An Intersection of Future Trends and Traditions
Odaiba and Toyosu

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Odaiba and Toyosu are two man-made islands in Tokyo Bay that are in the process of redevelopment in preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. These areas are constantly evolving and ultra-modern, yet they border the city’s historic downtown districts where the nostalgic ambience of old Tokyo can still be felt. On Odaiba and Toyosu, appealing old traditions cross paths with fascinating contemporary trends.

Photos: Osaka Satoshi

The futuristic water bus (cruise vessel) Himiko produced by the master of the Japanese manga world Matsumoto Reiji (best known for the manga Galaxy Express 999 and other works). The vessel links Odaiba and Toyosu with the famous sightseeing spot Asakusa.

The first reclaimed land in the Tokyo Bay area was built in the late 16th century. For approximately 400 years after that, the reclaimed area kept expanding, and new neighborhoods were built on it. Today, Odaiba and Toyosu are about to become an important hub for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, as they will host some of the main sports venues and the Olympic village. The vibrant and energetic spirit of the transformation taking place here is part of the appeal of Odaiba and Toyosu.

As for access to Odaiba and Toyosu, we recommend the traditional and more atmospheric water route. The trip takes approximately one hour by water bus from one of Tokyo’s iconic tourist spots, Asakusa. The water bus glides on the surface of the sea, first to Toyosu, then to Odaiba, accompanied by the cries of waterfowl and the gentle sound of the waves.

The name “Odaiba” comes from the cannon batteries (daiba in Japanese) built in Tokyo Bay in the mid-19th century for the purposes of maritime defense. Today, the beautifully landscaped lawns of Daiba Koen Park, which is open to the public, spread across the areas where cannon batteries once stood. Since there are no buildings in the vicinity of the park, the sky feels truly vast, creating a relaxed ambience for those who wish to enjoy the waterfront scenery.

In recent years, Odaiba has developed as an entertainment city, becoming a popular area bustling with large-scale shopping establishments and a rich variety of leisure facilities. The Tokyo International Cruise Terminal will commence operations in July 2020, establishing a new sea gateway to the city that will welcome some of the world’s largest luxury liners, such as the MS Queen Elizabeth and the Spectrum of the Seas. It has also been decided that the Odaiba Marine Park will be used as venue for the triathlon and other Tokyo 2020 competitions.

A life-sized 20m-tall Gundam statue featured in the popular Japanese anime Mobile Suit Gundam rises over DiverCity Tokyo Plaza in Odaiba. The Gundam Base Tokyo store offers a diverse line of Gundam-related products, including some limited items.
©Sotsu/Sunrise *The photo of the Gundam statue was taken June 2019.

Toyosu Market is Tokyo’s food distribution hub. Some tours start at 5am, and by that time, the market is already bustling.

A skateboard park “H.L.N.A Sky Garden” that opened in 2013 in the DiverCity mall in Odaiba. The park offers lessons for children and adults, in which everyone can participate, regardless of age and experience.

Daiba Koen Park is surrounded by beautiful stone walls and boasts breathtaking views of the high-rise buildings in Odaiba.

Some of the world’s largest luxury liners are expected to call at this cruise terminal, which will commence operations in July 2020 in Odaiba.