When traveling abroad, one of the most tempting thoughts is to see just what kind of fun and exciting goods you can purchase, and Japan is no exception to these urges. The striking logo of sakura petals for Japan’s Tax-Free Shop campaign are everywhere in Japan, encouraging visitors to spend, spend, and spend. The many shopping centers in Japan, especially those located in the metropolitan Tokyo area have become hot tourist spots. These places are popular not just for their shopping wares, but a variety of leisure activities and attractions you can visit. On the reclaimed island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, there are quite a few shopping complexes you can visit, but the most striking is the Palette Town outlet mall. Here are a few of the fun activities you can expect to do inside the complex if you’re looking to spend some quality time in between bouts of shopping.
Take in the great view over Odaiba and the Tokyo Bay by taking a ride on the Daikanransha Ferris Wheel. Originally constructed in 1999, it is one of the tallest ferris wheels in the world, measuring over 110 meters in height. Located in between the Toyota Mega Web facilities, the ferris wheel is easy to reach if you disembark from Aomi station. Tickets to ride are priced at 1000 yen (or about $10) for adults, which gives you about a 15 minute ride for a full trip around, which is a good value for how much you can see from every direction.
The Toyota Mega Web, an extensive exhibit of the company’s past present and future in automobile production, is split into three sections spread over Palette Town. The History Garage, located next to the Venus Fort shopping and restaurant complex is a showcase where visitors can observe and learn about Toyota’s history in automobile production as well as cars produced by other manufacturers. Cars that visitors can get up close to in this Showa-themed museum include curious one-seat Messerschmitt KR175 to the iconic DeLorean of Back to the Future fame.
In the Technology Zone of the Toyota City Showcase, you can observe strange and exotic prototype designs Toyota has developed for the future to explore increasing passenger safety and reducing environmental impact.
Why settle for just looking at cars when you can drive one? By signing up for the Toyota Ride One program at a section of the ground floor showroom, you can actually take a car you’re interested in out for a test drive. The Toyota test track is over a kilometer long and weaves around much of the Toyota facilities, making prospective drivers a common sight for visitors outside. Inside the Toyota Ride Studio, children can take part in learning about the experience of driving by driving on indoor tracks or getting an up-close look at the vehicle assembly and maintenance process.
Have a taste of casino gaming in Japan! While many people think of Japanese gambling through games such as pachinko and gachapon toys, the country is opening up to more traditional forms of gambling as well. In the summer of 2018, Japan’s Parliament passed legislation legalizing casino gambling in Japan for the first time. This was done to develop Japan’s tourism industry on a new front, bringing in a fresh source of revenue to a country reliant on patronage from tourism. Enjoy the unique feeling of western-style casino gambling in a Japanese setting!
teamLab is an art exhibit collective which focuses on creating unique artistic displays for visitors to experience. At its Borderless exhibit in Odaiba, emphasis is placed on the mobility of a work, and how it can be influenced through interaction with an individual. In some of the highlights of Borderless, visitors can brush a field of flowers or stand within a river, and watch the display change in real time in response. Other displays such as Transcending Boundaries place the viewer in a colorful room where the displays are alive and constantly on the move, traveling from display to display throughout the exhibit.
As you can see, many of Japan’s largest shopping mall areas offer more than just restaurants and stores for visitors. They want to create a unique, memorable experience for the visitor so they can visit again and again. Maybe you have a similar feeling about a shopping center you know where you live. At Palette Town in Odaiba, there’s always something for visitors to see and do, ensuring visitors will be left with memories of this futuristic play island in Tokyo Bay.