Tokyo, Japan has been my dream destination ever since I was a little girl. I was immensely interested in Japanese culture growing up, starting with a love for Manga (Japanese comics) which ultimately led to me to taking Japanese lessons on Saturdays for a few years and learning more about Japan’s history and culture. I finally got to go to Tokyo in October of 2018, and my sister and I took my parents along with us! I did a ton of research for this trip, and wanted to share my favorite travel spots with you on my blog. I’m breaking my Tokyo, Japan travel guide into 2 parts - with part 1 including my top picks for a day trip to Odaiba, within Tokyo!
First off - you may be wondering what and where is Odaiba. Odaiba (also known as Daiba) is a modern entertainment and shopping district on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, accessible via the Rainbow Bridge from Central Tokyo. This hub is filled with shopping, leisure, dining, and other entertainment options, and is enjoyed by both locals and tourists.
How to get to Odaiba: You can reach Odaiba via the Yurikamome and Rinkai lines. If you’re traveling to Odaiba from Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, or Shibuya Stations, take the Rinkai line. You won’t need to transfer trains since this line operates with the JR Saikyo line. You’ll want to get off at the Tokyo Teleport Station!
We only had a day to spend in Odaiba, so I’ll be sharing details on the 2 main attractions we visited: the teamLab Borderless exhibit (a modern digital art museum) and the Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari (a popular hot springs center). I’ve also listed a few popular shopping and entertainment centers in Odaiba towards the bottom of the post, though we weren’t able to personally check these out ourselves.
If you enjoy digital, innovative art and museums, you would love the Mori Building Digital Art Museum teamLab Borderless exhibit. Ever since I checked out teamLab’s Pace Gallery digital art exhibit in Palo Alto, CA a few years ago, I knew I had to go see the Borderless Exhibit in Odaiba, Tokyo. The exhibit features a multitude of interactive magical artworks that ultimately form one borderless world. Each piece of art constantly moves freely in and out of the rooms, often intermingling with each other and interacting with the museum visitors. My entire family enjoyed this exhibit!
Tips for a Pleasant Experience:
Purchase your tickets online, and ahead of time. It is a popular exhibit so you won’t want to risk it being sold out on the day you visit! Each (adult) ticket costs ¥3200. They can be purchased here.
Read up on the exhibits and visit the ones you’re most interested in first. If you have other things on your Odaiba agenda like we did, and need to be mindful of the time you spend at the museum, be sure to hit up your top-of-the-list exhibits first so you don’t leave with FOMO. Below are some of my favorite exhibit highlights:
* Forest of Lamps
* Universe of Water Particles
* Wander Through the Crystal World
* En Tea House
* Athletics Forest
Check out the whole list of exhibits here!
Make sure you reserve a few hours to spend here so that you don’t feel rushed. We stayed at the museum for 3 hours and felt that was a good amount of time to see all of the popular exhibits.
Download the teamLap app to participate and interact with the artwork. For example, you can shoot your own ‘crystals’ from your phone into the Crystal World exhibit - this influences and changes the colors and sounds in the crystal universe. How cool is that?! You can download the app here.
Plan to eat before or right after the exhibit. There is no food or drink at the exhibit (besides the En Tea House for drinks, and a couple of hard-to-find vending machines). If you plan on spending a few hours at the museum, you’ll want to make sure you eat right before or after. We did not plan this ahead of time and were starving by the time we got out!
teamLab Borderless Exhibit Address:
Odaiba Palette Town, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Weekdays: 10am - 7pm
Sat - Sun, & Holidays: 10am - 9pm
Notes: Last entry is 1 hour before the museum closes! The En Tea House opens an hour after the museum opens. Hours may vary depending on the season, so be sure to check the site here for the most recent visiting hours.
The Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari is a natural hot springs center with a variety of open-air and steam baths, a Japanese garden-style foot bath, a rock-salt sauna (for an additional fee), and other relaxing and entertaining attractions within the facilities. The Yurikamome-Shimbashi bus can take you here if you’re coming from the teamLab Borderless Exhibit, but we decided to walk since it’d only take 23 minutes total.
The Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari is one of the most relaxing and pleasurable places I’ve ever been to. They pump natural hot springs water from 1,400 meters below-ground for their various calming baths. When you’re walking around the foot bath area as well as the indoor food and ‘festival’ section (they call this area ‘Edo Town’, and it includes a plethora of shops and carnival game booths), you get to wear a stylish Yukata robe of your choosing! The dining section has a tasty selection of ramen, udon, sushi, yakitori, and desserts as well to satisfy all your Japanese food cravings. All of us were so glad that we decided to come here after the teamLab Borderless Exhibit. It was the perfect way to relax and end the day!
P.S. — You can purchase additional spa treatments within the facility as well. My mom and I opted for the Asakuri, a vigorous body scrub that exfoliates and removes dead skin cells. My skin felt SO refreshed and smooth afterwards. It’s supposed to improve blood circulation, too! A few of their other spa treatments include head massages, body massages, and foot reflexology.
Note — Unfortunately, they don’t allow anyone with visible tattoos. It is their company policy and they mention that many other public baths in Japan have similar restrictions.
Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Address:
〒135-0064 2-6-3 Aomi, Koto-ku Tokyo
West side of Telecom Center
Sat - Sun: 11am - 9am (next day)
Note: Last entry is 7am
Adults (over 12 years of age): ¥2,720 on weekdays, ¥2,936 on Sat-Sun, ¥3,044 on special holidays
Children (4-12 years of age): ¥1,058
Note: Free for children under 4! They also have special evening discount admission prices. Check the site here for the latest rates.
Unfortunately, we only had a day to spare in Odaiba, so we weren’t able to visit the many other attractions on the island. I’ve listed a few below anyway, in case you’d like to check them out!
Shopping & Entertainment Centers:
Aquacity Odaiba: A shopping mall with various shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and a 13-screen cinema! You can find Ramen Kokugikan on the 5th floor, where you can try different ramen from all over Japan.
Address: 1-chōme-7-1 Daiba, Minato City, Tōkyō-to 135-0091, Japan
Hours: Monday - Sunday, 11am - 9pm
DECKS Tokyo Beach: This is also a shopping complex with a ton of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment options. It houses 4 mini ‘theme parks’, including Tokyo Joypolis, the Tokyo Trick Art Museum, Legoland Discovery Center, and Madame Tussauds Tokyo. It also includes the Odaiba Takoyaki Museum.
Address: 1-chōme-6-１ Daiba, Minato City, Tōkyō-to 135-0091, Japan
DiverCity Tokyo Plaza: This 7-floor shopping, dining, and entertainment center features a “theatrical city space” theme with over 150 stores. On the top floor, you can find an entertainment center called Round 1, which houses a bowling alley, karaoke, and arcade games. It is also the home of the large “life-size” Gundam statue.
Address: 1-1-10 Aomi, Koto 135-0064, Tokyo Prefecture
Hours: Monday - Sunday, 10am - 9pm
Hope you enjoyed this mini travel guide to Odaiba, Tokyo! Let me know in the comments below if you plan on visiting Odaiba in the near future. As always, I’m here to answer any questions you might have on the above :)