As one of the biggest cities in the world, Tokyo, Japan is home to dozens of shopping centers where visitors can take full advantage of their duty-free status. Odaiba, the reclaimed island inside Tokyo Bay hosts a number of different industries such as shipping, manufacturing, and entertainment. But visitors to this futuristic space will find no shortage of shopping destinations. Many of these shopping malls are marked by eye-catching and memorable landmarks that draw in tourists. Outside the Aqua City mall, visitors flock to photograph the scenic vista of a Statue of Liberty replica flanked by the Rainbow Bridge. We took a trip to this jam-packed mall and found the 6 most interesting spots to visit for tourists looking to find more than just luxury shopping.
From the Miraikan to the Gundam Plaza to the many technological showcases such as the Toyota MegaWeb, Odaiba is promoted as an island where you can the future of Japanese Technology. Aqua City takes part in that campaign too with the Sony ExploraScience center, an interactive museum where you can participate in a variety of exhibits such as the Smile Rater which analyzes visitors facial muscles. This is a great place for families to visit as the visually interesting displays draw in children to teach them about various aspects of technology.
While it might be unusual to find an anime cafe in a bustling mall, that kind of destination is what draws people to this slick and stylish cafe and store in Aqua City. Noitamina is a television block known for airing various stylish anime across a variety of genres like Eden of the East and Ping Pong the Animation, and the Noitamina Cafe frequently runs collaboration events that promote these shows. Visitors can purchase goods related to these anime like bag charms and plushes, and also themed foods. If you’re interested in Japanese anime but not sure where to go on Odaiba to search for it, the Noitamina Cafe can be a fun and interesting spot.
Due to Japan’s real-estate tradition focusing on smaller homes and minimal yards, outdoor grilling doesn’t quite have the same popularity in Japan it does in the United States. If you want to enjoy grilling habits while in Japan, you’ll often have to trek out to specific restaurants. This makes spots like the Weber Grill Deck attractive. You can enjoy a fun breezy day overlooking Tokyo Bay while grilling up a variety of fun foods from lobsters to bananas. You’re charged by the plate at these restaurants which makes them a cheap way to try some foods as well as being a good choice for parties. While your experience may vary depending on the weather conditions, the unique feeling of grilling food while taking in a clear view of the Rainbow Bridge and surrounding area can’t be beat.
While there’s a variety of fun American-themed spaces in Odaiba, nowhere is that more apparent than at the Ocean Globe Street. This collection of shops and a restaurant is based on the attractive and stylish Captain Santa mascot, themed around a retro American look and the Atlantic Northwest. At the Longboard Cafe you can eat some fun American foods while surrounded by beautiful dated advertisements in a American diner-themed restaurant. More than just a copy of American ideas and decorations, this is a playful and unique Japanese interpretation of old-fashioned America.
While Aqua City has many floors and spaces dedicated to restaurants, one of the best spots to visit is the Tokyo Ramen Kokugikan Mai. Marked by the presence of a giant Taiko drum and an ominous giant Maneki-Neko, this cluster of six ramen shops is the perfect destination in Odaiba for ramen maniacs with a passion for the famous Japanese dish. You can select from a variety of ramen styles and casual, affordable prices make this an attractive destination in comparison to the pricier restaurants nearby.
Visitors to Aqua City will have a hard time missing the Jump Shop. One of many across Japan, this store’s outlandish presentation stands out in stark contrast to the more muted and minimalist storefronts of other locations within the mall. Visitors can take their pictures with the oversized stands for One Piece and DragonBall Z, or try to imitate Son Goku and his famous Kamehameha posture. There’s no limit to what you can find at this stores, from towels and shirts depicting your favorite character to the lastest manga volume releases to even themed foods. Have you ever wanted to see the pearly white DragonBall villain Frieza as a ball of mochi? You can find it at the Jump Store!
Did any of these spots suit your fancy? It can sometimes be a challenge to shop in Japan, firstly because you might encounter any language or cultural barriers, but also because of differences in building design. Thanks to its sweeping views of the Tokyo Bay area, Aqua City is quite a different experience than most malls, and thanks to the collection of interesting and fun activities and shops, it’s also a surprisingly memorable part of your day trip out to Odaiba.