Odaiba, Tokyo's Bizarre Man-Made Island Turned Tourist Attraction

Fuji Television Headquarters Building
Fuji Television Headquarters Building | © Dick Thomas Johnson / Flickr
Lucy Dayman

Although when you picture Tokyo, the typical image that is conjured up in your mind is a sprawling metropolis filled with towering, grey skyscrapers, neon-drenched streets, and footpaths literally crawling with pedestrians, in reality there’s so much more diversity to be discovered.

From the lush green inner city parks like Yoyogi, Inokashira and Ueno, to the bookstore-populated streets of Jimbocho, Tokyo is city filled with unique attractions and fascinating cultural pockets. Many of the city’s corners don’t get much more fascinating than Odaiba, the artificial man-made island, located just a short trip from the more famous Tsukiji Market. Filled with bizarre attractions, strange cultural phenomena, and the humming sci-fi sounds of futuristic technology, it’s truly one Tokyo tourist attraction you can’t miss.

A very brief history

Odaiba was built in during the tail end of the Edo Period (1603-1868) as a set of fort islands (the term daiba means “fort” in Japanese), built to protect the city from potential sea-based attacks. Arguably the need for defense was inspired by the arrival of the American fleet that arrived under Commodore Perry, a man who basically forced the nation into international trade in the 1850s.

Tokyo, Japan

Around 100 years later, when there was no longer need for the protective forts, Tokyo decided to transform the small cluster of islands into two main islands, which it was planned would become some of the city’s biggest development projects. This was during the 1980s when the country was in the midst of a huge economic gold rush, but as the bubble bust, so too did the Odaiba dream. During the 1990s, the island remained pretty much vacant.

In the late 1990s, a few hotels started sprouting up in and around the area, as did attractions to draw and keep the hotel guests in the area. As the years rolled on, the area became home to some of the city’s biggest developments, including the Fuji TV Building, Telecom Center, and Tokyo Big Sight.

So why should you go there, what’s so special about the place?

Well, once you spend a little time exploring the rest of the city’s main hubs, you’ll quickly realize just how traditional Tokyo is: temples, shrines, old Showa-style houses. Even Akihabara the supposedly technological hub of the nation, is home to a selection of historic hangouts and traditional sites. This combination of old and new worlds colliding is what makes the city so fascinating; however, unlike the rest of Tokyo, the culture of Odiaba is basically a pocket of the country without any history.

DiverCity Tokyo Plaza: Odaiba Gundam

Because of its recent development, there’s no precedent for the place, which means its has an almost “anything goes” kind of atmosphere. People aren’t worried about following what went before, because really nothing did.

This is why perhaps instead of the towering torii gates of a Shinto shrine, you’ll find the cloud-ticking Gundam robot figurine. Rather than a tea-house run by a an expert tea sensei, the neighbourhood is home to a shopping center run by an android. In the place of a traditional museum, soon will sit the world’s first interactive DMM-run immersive digital gallery. Oh also, there’s a mini Statue of Liberty, really “just because.”
A popular date spot for young Japanese couples, the area is gaining a little more traction with Western visitors, but it’s still peanuts in comparison to some of Tokyo’s other central destinations. But that’s exactly why you should go. It’s really, well, and truly the “weird Japan” you read so much about in travel books. And although its culture may feel at times artificial, nonsensical, and incomprehensible, that’s just what makes the place so special. No history to adhere to means to you’re really only limited by your ability to imagine what the future looks like.

Statue of Liberty (Odaiba) and Rainbow Bridge

How to get there

You can catch the Rinkai Line to Odaiba’s Tokyo Teleport Station which connects to Osaki Station on the JR Yamanote Line (the city’s main city loop). Otherwise you can also hop aboard the Tokyo Water Bus, which operates between Odaiba Seaside Park and Hinode Pier and connects to the historic hub (basically the antithesis of Odiaba) of Asakusa.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.