Winter time means fewer festivals and fewer events here in Tokyo, which in turns means that I have more time to just wander around. It is hard to resist the long beautiful walk from Tamachi station over the Rainbow Bridge to the artificial Odaiba island in Tokyo Bay. The beach might be artificial as well, but for inland city dwellers even this combination of sand and ocean is like balm for the soul. On weekends there are usually a few couples out getting their pictures taken, and I got one of them in my photos. From Odaiba beach I walked further on to Diver City and Venus Fort, two of the biggest shopping malls in Odaiba, and through to Aomi port on the ocean side of Odaiba, where the biggest and fastest cargo ships stop by. I am afraid I also bothered one innocent duck the stoically endured my photography. All in all a great day to spend a lazy day in Tokyo!
About 30 years ago it was decided that the legendary Tsukiji fish market (the world’s largest wholesale fish market) needed a new and more convenient location here in Tokyo and it was decided that Odaiba would be the place for it. Due to natural causes (Odaiba being reclaimed land) it took slightly longer then usual to start building but a last year the construction started in earnest at the new spot, as you can see from these photos. The new fish market is planned to open in March 2016 but it will likely take a bit longer. For anyone traveling on the Yurikamome Line from Toyosu station the new location will be familiar, as it was for many years (since 2006 at least) the home of a station that was almost invariably completely deserted, no one getting on or off, in the middle of nowhere. The Shijomae (市場前駅) station also happens to be the least used train station anywhere in Tokyo. I expect the number of passengers at the station to increase by a thousand fold this time next year.
Saturday saw a gap in the schedule so I filled it in one of my favorite ways, a long slow walk from mainland Tokyo over to the manmade Odaiba Island in the middle of Tokyo Bay. The magic pink colors that came out at sunset was as fantastic as always! I still think that this (free) walk over the Rainbow Bridge is one of the nicest tourist experiences the city has to offer.
Whenever I meet people visiting Tokyo or planning to visit Tokyo I always get asked the one question: what should I see here? Not wanting to be too obvious and giving the examples everyone has already heard of, my answer is recently this: walk across the Rainbow Bridge around sunset. Surprisingly few people do this. It is not a difficult walk, there is no entrance charge and the views are spectacular. At the end of the walk you are usually rewarded with an interesting visit to Odaiba, or you can do it the other way around and use the walk as a starting point for an interesting evening tour of the city. In the summer season the bridge entrances close at 20:30 and in the winter it close at 17:30. After closing you have 30 minutes to get out before the bridge is shut down for the night. I usually recommend the North promenade (see my previous blog posts about the Rainbow Bridge by clicking the tag) as it is much more scenic than the South promenade. A couple of weeks ago I decided to try the south side by myself and while not as good as the South promenade it is still worth a visit. The South promenade is also the one you have to use if you want to bring a bicycle over.
From the South promenade you have a splendid view of Odaiba island itself, as well as the Odaiba Island Battery Park, an old gun battery set up over a hundred years ago to protect Tokyo harbor from seaborne assaults. Luckily it was never really used and parts of it today is a just huge almost wild series of islands, one of which is accessible from Odaiba by a walkway. For the others you will need a boat.
The South promenade is also a good place for boat spotting if you are into that, as most passenger ships using Tokyo harbors pass underneath.