Tokyo: Places to Explore

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Odaiba

Odaiba is a man-made peninsula in Tokyo Bay. Its beginnings date back to the Edo period (1603–1868), when various fortifications were constructed for protection from attacks by ships.

As a result of Japan’s rapidly expanding economy in the 1980s, the area became a target location for a number of flamboyant and futuristic-looking development projects. Today, 1,000 acres of landfill are home to various leisure, corporate, and commercial complexes.

Connected to the city by the Yurikamome monorail from Shimbashi and the Rinkai Line from Osaki, Odaiba is known to tourists for its arcades, hotels, shopping malls, and museums, as well as the city's longest (albeit artificial) stretch of sandy beach, along the boat harbor—swimming is not recommended because of high levels of pollution. There's also a large Ferris wheel, a neon phantasmagoric beacon for anyone driving into the city across the Rainbow Bridge. The exhibition halls at the Tokyo Big Sight, the entrance of which is beneath four large upside-down pyramids, hosts numerous conventions, trade shows, and fairs. For one day in the spring and fall, the Nagisa Music Festival turns an open field near the tip of Odaiba into a frenzied party for thousands of fans of rock, trance, and techno.

At the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, one can walk out onto the diamond-shape Odaiba Park that juts out into the bay, or stroll over the bridge itself to get an amazing view of what is certainly one of the most diverse megaprojects in Tokyo.

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