The Best and Strangest Things to See and Do in Odaiba, Tokyo

A smaller version of the Statue of Liberty can be found on Odaiba
A smaller version of the Statue of Liberty can be found on Odaiba | © sanga park / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lucy Dayman
19 August 2021

Tokyo’s artificial island of Odaiba is one of the capital’s most fascinating and eclectic spots. Its fakeness, down to the man-made beach, gives it a weird sort of charm. The island exists solely for entertainment purposes, and over the years it’s become a playground for all things futuristic, unique and straight-up bizarre. Here are our favourite Odaiba experiences that are wacky and out there, even for Japan.

Learn about “octopus balls” at the Takoyaki Museum

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At the Takoyaki Museum, near Universal City, in Osaka, Kansai region, Japan. Image shot 2012. Exact date unknown.
© jeremy sutton-hibbert / Alamy Stock Photo
Originally created in Osaka, takoyaki have become a comfort-food staple across the country. Takoyaki are golf ball-sized doughy balls that are crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside and filled with chunks of octopus (tako). On the 4th floor of the Decks shopping complex, this cheery little “museum” is more of a food hall featuring takoyaki stalls and a few octopus-themed souvenirs.

Ride in an anime spaceship bar

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A great way to get a fresh perspective on Odaiba is by cruising around on a boat – specifically, a boat-bar hybrid. Jicoo is such a machine, resembling a bizarre spaceship-cum-submarine. It was designed by local manga and anime artist Leiji Matsumoto, and is essentially the perfect vehicle for the water-surrounded neo-futuristic suburb. Operating from Thursday to Saturday, the boat travels between Hinode Pier and Odaiba every hour.

Hang out on the fake Odaiba Beach

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Japan, Honshu Island, Tokyo, Odaiba Seaside Park, artificial beach
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As Odaiba is an artificial island, its beach is, of course, a man-made creation. Its incongruous urban setting awards a surreal feeling to this 800m (0.5mi) stretch of sand. Due to concerns about the water standards, bathing isn’t allowed, but it’s a great place to relax and catch some rays. In July, Japan’s Marine Day festival is celebrated here, in a mesmerising display of hundreds of paper lanterns scattered on the shore.

Get spooked at ghost school

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The country that gave us The Grudge and The Ring has a penchant for horror and the supernatural. Get a taste of it at Decks shopping and amusement centre, where you’ll find the haunted attraction Daiba Kaiki Gakko (School Ghost House). Taking on the role of paranormal investigators, your role is to try and solve the mystery of a suicidal ghost. If you’re a little faint of heart, don’t sweat it – the whole experience only takes around 10 minutes.

Drive into the future at Mega Web

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Inside Toyota Mega Web city showcase at Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan
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A technology playground created by car giant Toyota, Mega Web is divided into three areas, “look”, “feel” and “ride”. The look and feel exhibits are dedicated to the history and future of Toyota’s cars, but the most exciting section is the “ride” exhibit. It allows you to try out a multitude of Toyota cars on its 1.3km (0.8mi) track. There are even go kart-style options for the kids.

Chat with Aqua City's android employee

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Odaiba has no shortage of mega shopping outlets, but Aqua City has a remarkable selling point, who goes by the name of Chihira Junco. This humanistic android was created by Japanese tech company Toshiba, and is one of the first of thousands of many helpful robots the company expects to produce in the coming years. Use the touchpad to ask Junco a variety of questions, from “where is the nearest bathroom?” to “what’s your favourite food?”

Say hello to Tokyo's mini Statue of Liberty

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Replica Statue of Liberty in Odaiba, with the Rainbow Bridge behind it.  Odaiba. Tokyo.  Japan.
© Martha Barreno / VWPics / Alamy Stock Photo
Overlooking Tokyo Bay is a surprising sight: a replica of New York’s Statue of Liberty. In reality, it’s about 1/7th the size of the original, but it still looks epic, thanks to its location backed by the waterfront and the Rainbow Bridge. Japan so adores this New York icon that it’s not the only one: there are ladies of liberty in Shimoda and Osaka, too.

Get up close to the biggest robot you'll see in your life

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Resembling a creature from the Transformers films, this 19m (62ft) moving statue towers over Diver City. In fact, the Unicorn Gundam statue is a full-scale statue of the RX-0 Unicorn Gundam character, from the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn. At intervals throughout the day, its armour plates shift aside and its unicorn horn splits into a helmet shape. There’s also an entertaining light show every half hour between 7:30pm and 9pm.

Live in 3018 at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

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The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation "Miraikan" in Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan
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The short name of Tokyo’s major science centre is Miraikan, which translates to Hall of the Future. It’s a fitting name for this mind-blowing centre of interactive exhibits, covering everything from tech and world development, to biology to space exploration. The best part is its robots: don’t miss the regular daily shows by Asimo, the museum’s humanistic robot and the ridiculously lifelike android Otonaroid.

Visit teamLab's first museum

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It’s impossible to have the same experience twice at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum, as 520 computers and 470 projectors create an ever-changing light and sound experience. The world’s first digital art museum, it occupies a 10,000sqm (108,000sqft) space that will immerse you in a profusion of colour as you walk around. The enigmatic, 400-member art collective teamLab is behind this ingenious work of moving art.

These recommendations were updated on August 19, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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