The Tokyo World Trade Center was completed in 1970, 2 years before the former US World Trade Center. It offers an observation deck, offices, a conference center, and underground shops + restaurants. It also has a large wedding venue. For a year or so it was the tallest building in Tokyo in the early 1970’s. In the basement is also a station for the Tokyo Monorail.
The observation deck is on the top floor. Admission is 600¥ ($6 roughly) as of this writing. It has 360-degree panorama windows and a decidedly 1970’s decor. This is the must-see attraction at the WTC, so don’t miss it.
The famous western view of Tokyo from WTC’s observation deck.
Looking down at the street from the observation deck.
If you look to the north from the observation deck, you can see Tokyo Sky Tree in the distance.
In The Basement
In the basement of WTC are shops, restaurants, a huge parking garage, and some art exhibits. There is also a rail station for the Tokyo Monorail.
Just to the south of WTC is a nice small Japanese garden called Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens. Since it’s so close, it’s worth a stop – especially in the spring or fall. There’s a large pond with walking trails, so stop in and have a look.
There’s also a large tech museum called the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
There are a number of large parks on the island and the Museum of Maritime Science, as well a many hotels + office parks.
There’s also a near-perfect 1/4 scale Statue of Liberty at the south end of Aqua City Odaiba.
The northeast side of the island is mostly residential high-rise buildings, including the most luxurious one called The Towers Daiba.
If you’re willing to walk to the east across the short Teleport Bridge, on the 2nd island to the east there are also the Tokyo Sewearge Museum (yes, they have museums about sewers in Japan) and a large hotel with a European-styled wedding venue called Anniversaraie. Anniversaraie also has a small replica European town on the premises. Just beyond that to the east is Tokyo Big Sight (see below). At the southeast end is a large park with a jogging path called Mizunohiroba Park.
Odaiba seen from the air. Up is north. The large hotels are in the upper left (northwest) corner, the West Promenade is in the center, and Aqua City Odaiba/Fuji TV/DiverCity are above that. The Yurikamome station is also just next to the hotels.Venus Fort/Megaweb Toyota City Showcase are off the right of the West Promenade.Odaiba Marine Park is at the very north end of the frame.
DiverCity is a large multi-use complex run by Mitsui Corporation just south of Aqua City. This is where the world-famous full-scale Mobile Suit Gundam statue is. Pretty impressive. You can wander around DiverCity all day. There’s lots of food + entertainment and it’s popular with kids. There’s also a bowling alley + a skateboard park.
West Promenade + Flame of Liberty Statue
South of DiverCity is the long West Promenade which runs east. It’s well worth a stroll. There’s a huge garden in the center and along the way there’s also a huge BMW dealership + showplace. If you head to the east end of West Promenade, you’ll find AIST Tokyo Waterfront (see below). At the very west end of the promenade is a sculpture entitled Flame of Liberty.
Tokyo Big Sight
On the 2nd island to the east is a huge convention center called Tokyo Big Sight. Various expo’s are held here every year. The entire convention center floor is elevated on 4 large posts. If you want to see the Tokyo Motor Show or Tokyo Game Show every year, this is the place. Lots of other conventions are held here as well. Yurikamome has a stop here so there’s no need to walk to it.
Northeast of the West Promenade is a huge shopping/entertainment complex called Venus Fort. It’s worth a stop. You can get spectacular views of the island and of Tokyo + Rainbow Bridge from the top of the large Ferris wheel there. Toyota also has a large car exhibition here called Megaweb Toyota City Showcase.
Just east of Venus Fort is a huge open-air modern techno art exhibition called MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM designed by teamLab:Borderless. It’s an interesting place, if not a bit unusual. You basically wander around the inside with each room being a different whole-room immersive experience. Worth a stop.
If you walk 1 block east from the digital art museum and cross Akemi Bridge, you’ll come to another huge shopping/mixed-use complex directly across from Tokyo Big Sight Station.Tokyo Big Sight is just to the southeast. If you make this your last stop you can easily hop on Yurikamome here for a direct return to Shimbashi or Shiodomé back in the city.
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
Also known as Miraikan, it’s not to be missed. (Mirai means “future” in Japanese) – and as a footnote was also the subtitle of an astonishing 1999 album by Japanese pop star Imai Miki.
Shiokaze Park + Museum of Maritime Science
There are loads of parks on Odaiba and all of them are good. Just to the northwest behind the hotels is Shiokaze Park (Tidal Wind Park), which offers great views of the city. Check out this and other parks over on tokyo-park.or.jp
1 block south of the park is the massive Museum of Maritime Science – a huge museum of all sorts of stuff related to ships + the sea. Definitely worth a stop and well within easy walking distance to the station. You can easily spend 1/2 a day here.
South of the West Promenade is a large tech museum in an institute called the AIST Tokyo Waterfront. There’s a huge globe of the earth with realtime weather patterns on it, as well as various other exhibits to see. Well worth a stop.
Aomi Minami Terminal Park+ Smile Garden+ Akatsuki Terminal Park
A few blocks south of the maritime museum is another long park on the shore called Aomi Minami Terminal Park – adjacent to a huge shipping yard run by Tokyo Port Terminal Corporation (which actually runs a lot of parks in the area including the impressive Tatsumi Seaside Park on another island way to the east). Directly east of Aomi Minami Terminal Park on Odaiba is another TPTC park: Aomi Green Park.
Out in front of AIST is a huge green open space called Smile Garden. In the spring the park is planted with tulips and is spectacular.
As a footnote, on the extreme southeast corner of Odaiba is yet another park run by TPTC: Akatsuki Terminal Park, but there’s not much else to do on the south end of the island as it’s mostly industrial + involved in shipping.
If you’re willing to walk a bit, at the very north end of Odaiba out on a tiny sqaure island around 35°38’03.91″ N 139°46’21.31″ E is Daiba Park. The park was mainly used during World War 2 for gun batteries and you can still see the their concrete housings on the island today. There’s not much else to do here, but it’s an interesting historical footnote anyway.
Just south of AIST Tokyo Waterfront is Ooedo Onsen Monogatari – a full-scale onsen (hot spring) resort where you can stay + relax. The grounds are quite extensive with gardens + other stuff to do. Just be aware that if you are a foreigner, most onsen in Japan absolutely do not allow anyone with tattoos – mainly because of the Yakuza.
Just east of the onsen around 35°37’01.29″ N 139°46’49.68″ E is a huge complex called Tokyo Telecom Center which has all kinds of displays + an observatory. You can get a great view of the island + Tokyo from here. Yurikamome has a stop here at Telecom Center Station.
The 2 largest + best hotels on Odaiba – both at the northwest corner – are Grand Pacific Le Daiba and Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba (お台場のホテル) around 35°37’32.47″ N 139°46’16.68″ E. Both are excellent, albeit slightly expensive. The first Yurikamome station at Odaiba is right next to the hotels.
If you’re willing to spend a whopping $300 USD, you can take a 10-minutetour over Tokyo in a helicopter which includes a flyover of Odaiba + Rainbow Bridge.
There’s lots to do at Odaiba so plan on at least one full day. You may want to stay past dark to do things such as a night view of Tokyo from the Ferris wheel. The place has the feel of an amusement park to it and it’s lots of fun. Definitely on anyone’s bucket list when in Tokyo.
Shimbashi is a major Tokyo area just south of Ginza/Yurakucho in eastern Tokyo. It lies directly west of the world-famous Hamarikyu Gardens, a stone’s throw from Toranomon to the west, and southeast of the Imperial Palace. Just to the east of Shimbashi Station is the eastern termius for the new fully-automated Yurikamome Line which runs in a loop out to Odaiba and many of the other artificial islands in Tokyo Bay.
Former Shimbashi Station. The Panasonic Building is on the right. If you happen to be in the Panasonic Bldg. also check out the very nice museum inside.The station’s original tracks have been long removed, but the frame for the railway’s overhead outdoor roof is still intact today – along with some of the original buildings, which are now over a century old.
Yurikamome02 – Shiodome Station. Note the traditional-style pillars on the right.
Shiodomé area. Shimbashi is just to the northwest (left) behind the green Panasonic building in the distance.This photo is facing north. If you head left where the cement truck is, you’ll eventually come to Toranomon. Heading right leads to the waterfront and Hinodé(which is interesting in its own right).
You’ll find all kinds of cool restaurants such as this one under the station.
Any of the lines mentioned above will bring you to Shimbashi. But your best bet is probably the Metro Ginza Line. Also note the Ginza Line has a direct Ginza stop also. The Ginza Line is useful because both termini on either end are easily accessible to 2 other major areas of Tokyo – Shibuya to the west and Asakusa to the northeast.
Shimbashi Station is a large brick above-ground station with an east and west side. The east side is rather small but features some old locomotive parts + plaques. There’s not much to do on the east side as it’s just a block from Shiodomé. The interesting side is the west side which is adjacent to the main area. There’s also an old historical steam locomotive in the square on the west side. You can also walk from any of the areas mentioned fairly quickly.
At first the backstreets can be confusing, but you’ll soon get used to them.
New JR station renovations are being completed as of 2021.
The Sugi Drug Exit
Aside from the main station exits, there are several other street-level exits around the area. One of the major ones is the sidewalk exit right next to a corner drug store called Sugi Drug across the street from the northeast corner of the station around 35°40’03.52″ N 139°45’31.25″ E. This exit is handy because it’s on Rt. 405 which runs east-west into Toranomon to the west. If you head just up the street north of this corner you’ll also find one of the best Korean restaurants in Tokyo on the left.
The Metro street exit right next to Sugi Drug.
Hidden Bike Park
Just across the street from Sugi Drug to the southwest around 35°40’02.94″ N 139°45’30.31″ E is a hidden bicycle locker under the train tracks. You can park your bike here for 24 hours for around 400¥ ($4) which is a great deal. When you’re ready to retrieve your bike, use the automated pay machine at the west end of the lot:
As a footnote, if you head 1 block north of Sugi Drug (shown on the right here), you’ll be heading into Ginza if you keep going straight. If you take the crosswalk shown here, just on your left one block up is one of the best Korean restaurants in all of Tokyo: Bokuden around 35°40’06.74″ N 139°45’31.42″ E.The hidden bike park is just to the left, out of frame.
There are several cheap coin lockers around + in the station – one bank is just inside the west exit, one is deeper underground in the station near the Metro platforms, and one is outside on the southeast side under a covered walkway. All are fairly cheap + easy to use.
A bank of lockers inside on the way to the JR and Metro platforms.
The southwest side outdoor lockers.There is also an automated currency exchange machine straight ahead.You can pay for a locker using your Suica or other IC card at the black terminal shown on the right.
The main area just outside the west exit. The retro bldg. on the left was built in the 1970’s.
Just across from the old locomotive outside the west exit of the station is a large Yamada Denki(Electronics) LABi. If you’re looking for a big electronics store in Shimbashi, this is it. It’s across the street from the station around 35°40’02.10″ N 139°45’26.04″ E.
LABi Shimbashi, right. The station is just to the left out of view.
Shimbashi has some of the coolest backstreets in Tokyo. After dark there are endless things to do. Restaurant options are nearly unlimited. You can spend hours wandering around and not see it all. Plan on spending several hours exploring. Shimbashi isn’t a very large area of Tokyo but there is lots to do nonetheless.
A very popular high-end shop just under the Shimbashi train tracks.
Man In The Moon Pub
Possibly the most popular bar in all of Shimbashi is the foreigner-friendly Man In The Moon pub located just northwest of the station around 35°39’55.25″ N 139°45’22.40″ E. Be sure to check it out.
If you head 2 blocks south from the station, then hang a right west, you’ll come to the very cool area called Toranomon – home to the upscale Toranomon Hills complex. Check out our 2-part series on Toranomon. If you’re looking for a good reasonable capsule hotel, check out First Cabin Atagoyama on the way, around 35°39’51.57″ N 139°45’07.50″ E. It’s tucked down a quiet little side street.
If you’re willing to walk a mile south to Tokyo’s World Trade Center, you can enjoy spectacular views of Tokyo from the top floor at the Seaside Top Observatory. The WTC is located around 35°39’22.82″ N 139°45’23.91″ E and is easy to get to. If you’re willing to change trains once, you can also get right to its front door at an Onarimon Station exit.
One of the most famous views of Tokyo is this view from the Seaside Top Observatory. Toranomon is just to the right out of frame. The tall bldg. in the distance is the HQ of the Mori Construction Company.
Well that’s it for now. Spend some time getting around Shimbashi and you won’t be disappointed.
Facing the station from the northeast around 3:30 PM – an early sunset in fall.