2009 - 2010

Day 12


After the big Mt. Fuji day yesterday, we had a bit of a sleep in this morning,then discussed what we all wanted to see today.
Today was planned to see Odaiba. One of the main attractions I wanted to see was the Tokyo Sea Life Park (an aqarium) but it turns out this place wasn’t actually in Odaiba as first thought.

Odaiba is a small artificial island that is joined to the mainland with the famous “Rainbow Bridge”, it also has a replica of the Statue of Liberty, a ferris wheel, the indoor Sega themepark called “Joypolis” and lots of impressive architecture for buildings such as FujiTV studios and the Telekom building. It also has a lot of shopping, including a large shopping center called “Aqua City”, a themed shopping town called “Palette Town” (I think that is a reference to Pokemon). Also, there used to be a 1:1 scale model of a Gundam (a big anime robot) which Sarma and Anthony in particular were looking forward to, but has since been pulled down.

As there was so much to do, we ranked the attractions and I asked our friendly hotel staff for some help with directions. After looking at maps, brochures and websites, we planned to go to the aquarium first, then head out to Odaiba for the rest of the day.

From our hotel we had to catch a couple of trains to get to KasaiRinkaiKoen  station, which was one stop before DisneyLand. Our train was actually express and went straight past our stop, and to DisneyLand.  For a split second there, I saw Amy’s face light up, but then we jumped on a train going the other way and got off at the right place.

This place had a ferris wheel too and was a really nice waterfront area. We headed towards the Aquarium and saw some street performers setting up, but they weren’t ready yet.

We got to the aquarium and it looked pretty cool from outside, it was like a giant glass dome that looked like it was sitting on the water.

We went through and saw everything from penguins and sharks to jellyfish and starfish.

After spending alot of time here and getting some lunch from the food court, we decided we better get going if we were still going to get to Odaiba. On the way out the street performers were actually doing a show, and even though they were speaking Japanese, their jokes were still funny. They were juggling knifes and plenty more for a fairly big crowd that had gathered around. At the end, people left them money and got their photos taken. Robert got his taken with him and Anthony left him a nice generous tip.

When we got back to the station, we got some really nice ice-cream from a vending machine and got on a train to go back to Tokyo to get yet another train to one of the coolest sounding station names we had heard - The Tokyo Teleport.

We finally got to Odaiba and were welcomed with another ferris wheel and the really cool architecture we had heard about.

After a little bit of walking we came across the FujiTV building that had a massive dome observation deck (which we ran out of time to go see) and the telekom building which looked pretty cool too.

First stop was a science museum. It took us a while to walk there, but it was pretty cool. They had lots of robots, including one which we think was a prototype for a transport machine.

They also had a little robot with cameras that was connected to a cinemotion room, where when you sit in the chairs in the room, it looks as if you are sitting in the cock pit of the little robot outside. The robot would move and look around and the people inside the room would see and feel everything from the perspective of the robot. This exhibition closed before we got a chance to go in.

There was also a mechanical representation of the internet that had these huge machines to represent routers with marbles flowing between them to represent messages and would eventually get to terminals where people could receive the marbles and send others to other terminals.

The other cool exhibition was a 3D cinema where you wear 3D glasses and look into a box that had video projected on each side. You could then take a controller and fly around Odaiba in a Google-earth like world.

They also had these straight lines of lights that when you move your head from one side to the other, formed an image, which was pretty cool!

In the middle of the museum they had a huge globe made from LED panels and appeared to spin. This globe was visible from a few levels of the museum.

After looking around for a while, we ran out of time to see the other levels of the museum which had other themes (such as space, nature, etc.) but we left and headed for the Rainbow Bridge not that it was dark.

After walking for a while we got to “Aqua City” the big shopping center, but before we went it we all took photos of the near by Statue of Liberty and Rainbow Bridge.

By this time we were all hungry and we went to the food court to eat. Here they had a McDonalds, which I almost went for, but instead I went with something a bit more Japanese. I attempted “Okonomiyaki” (which I could not remember the name of for the life of me, thanks Sandra!). It was like a pancake, with meat and noodles on top and then covered in an omelet and sprayed with Mayonaise. I asked the chef (who spoke pretty good English) to leave out a couple of ingredients and it actually wasn’t too bad. Only thing is, I could not work out how to eat it with chopsticks!

Another attraction on the list was a light display which supposedly happened every hour along the beach, we wondered up and down the beach asking people for directions with little success, then in the distance we saw some lit up jets of water and ran down there.
This looked so cool! There were these really tall jets of water being lit up with multicolored lights and in the middle there was a huge flat spray of water that formed a screen for a projector. They projected small videos and moving images onto the screen and the whole area had speakers hidden away in the bushes - it was really nice.

After this, we went back to get some more night shots of the bridge from the beach perspective and headed back to the main road where the Sega Joypolis theme park was.

We got to Sega and I just payed to get in as I am not much of a rides person, but after seeing the prices they charged per game/ride, I ended up upgrading my ticket to an unlimited passport, which covered just about everything.

When we got there Lee and I went on an “Initial D” racing car simulator which had what looked like full cars that actually moved around and had a massive screen attached to the windshield. While ee did this, the others went on the indoor roller coaster and then a snow boarding ride (in a mechanical half pipe).

There were a few pretty cool rides/games here that even I liked. They had these 3 simulators that where like a roller coaster seat that held about 12 people at a time, you sit in it, and it takes you into a dark room where the doors shut behind you. Then the room lights up  by this huge screen that covers the majority of your peripheral vision and gives you a sence movement - between the seat moving, wind blowing at you and sprays of water, it actually felt like you were moving.

There were 3 of these rides where all the stories were linked up, one in a plane, one in a water raft and one in a jeep (that could fly).

In the second one, there were these young Korean girls laughing they’re heads off and clapping, which was so entertaining, that the next time we went on we made sure we went on with them. in the end we asked for a photo with them and they came along with us around the park.

The next ride was one I wasn’t really keen on. You sat in a chair of some sort of little rocket ship and it drive it around a course, but it actually barrel rolls 360°.

After this, we found out that these girls thought Lee was really hot and so naturally we planned on going out with them after the park.

We went to the station where they taught us some Korean games while we waited for the train. After some conversation, it sounded like their hotel was in Roppongi, so we all headed there to go to a karaoke bar.

It turns out that they didn’t actually have a hotel in Roppongi and it was actually fairly far away, but our little trip out to Roppongi meant they missed their last train. They looked quite worried so we ended up finding them a taxi and Lee shouted them a fare back to where they were staying. We were all going to chip in, but Lee insisted that he would pay (for his girlfriends, lol).

It has been a really long, but very enjoyable day. There has been something for everone and we even managed to fit most of our list in, which is not bad consiering we had such a big day yesterday, and we had to travel from Akasaka (our hotel) to the aquarium, then out to Odaiba, then to Roppongi and then back to our hotel!