I have to be honest with you, when I first went to Japan I read the guide book and did all my due diligence before deciding where to visit while I was in Tokyo, but Odaiba didn’t make the cut. I just wasn’t sold on the idea of an onsen “theme park” and a mini Statue of Liberty.
But here’s the thing – that description does not do Odaiba justice. At. All. Here’s why you should make a visit to Odaiba during your trip.
1. Oedo Onsen: the Onsen “theme park”
So I’ll agree that this isn’t your traditional onsen with natural hot-spring-fed pools carved out of rock in the mountains, but if you wanted that you’d be heading out to Hakone or Fujigoko, right? Odaiba onsen is perfect for people staying just in Tokyo, but who are after a bit of the onsen experience, and especially for people who haven’t been to an onsen before. It’s really accessible for western tourists as there are signs in English explaining how to prepare for bathing and what the important etiquette is. Having said that, this place is full of Japanese people so it doesn’t feel like a tourist trap.
Aside from the baths themselves, which are separate for men and women, there are loads of other things to do here. When you first enter, you get to choose which yukata (a Japanese cotton robe) you will wear during your visit from a range of colourful designs. Then you get a token that you can use to pay for things inside. The inside is designed so that you feel like your back in an old Edo town.
There are loads of eateries that serve all kinds of Japanese foods – we went for ramen which did not disappoint. There are also some shops selling Japanese souvenirs and onsen goods. Then there’s a huge tatami room where you can spend time relaxing in traditional onsen style.
There are also a number of spa facilities that you can pay a little extra for such as the hot salt beds that you lie on in a hot sauna. There’s also a pretty outdoor foot pool that you can walk through that has different sized stones to massage your feet.
2. The mini Statue of Liberty
So there’s a mini Statue of Liberty…ok, sounds great. What you don’t necessarily hear about is the awesome view behind it of the Tokyo skyline and Rainbow Bridge! If you walk a little further along the bay there’s also a popular beach where you can while away time relaxing in the sun. We made a point of coming back at night time to see this:
3. All of the shopping and eating
Odaiba has at least 3 or 4 shopping malls, including Aquacity and DiverCity, with loads of restaurants and eateries so it’s a great place to come on a shopping day or to find some souvenirs before choosing from all of the Japanese foods you can imagine.
There’s easily enough to do in Odaiba to make it worth a trip!