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From A Ramen Theme Park To Hot Springs, Why You Should Visit Odaiba During The Tokyo Games

By Devin Lowe | July 09, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)


The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they are still a year away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.


Just over the Rainbow Bridge from the Shibaura Pier is Odaiba, a grouping of islands (“daiba” means “island” in Japanese) in Tokyo Bay. The islands were originally built during the Edo Period to protect Tokyo from water attacks and later expanded through the use of repurposed trash in the 1980s.

City planners envisioned Odaiba as a futuristic escape, with modern hotels and shopping options aplenty. But with the Japanese property market collapse in the early 1990s, plans were put on hold, and Odaiba remained mostly vacant.

In the late 1990s, the Yurikamome elevated train line opened, connecting Odaiba to Tokyo proper and revitalizing the empty island. Developers flocked to Odaiba and built unique hotels, shopping malls, museums and other entertainment options that made the island a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

On Odaiba, visitors can find a replication of Edo Period hot springs at Oedo-Onsen Monogatari or stroll through what feels like an 18th century European town at the Venus Fort shopping mall. Other attractions include the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Aquacity Odaiba (which includes a ramen theme park, where ramen from all across Japan is served), and Toyota Mega Web, where Toyota’s latest models and technology are on display for the public.

Odaiba will play host to triathlon, open water swimming and beach volleyball during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The island is a 20-minute drive from the Olympic Stadium and takes around 50 minutes to reach by train. 

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A replica Statue of Liberty stands in Odaiba along with Tokyo Rainbow Bridge and city skyline in the background on Sept. 1, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan.