Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Years in Tokyo: Odaiba

I spent the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 in the heart of Tokyo. While there are few major tourist sights there that I have yet to see, one can always find something interesting to do there.

One of my goals this trip was to visit the O Edo Onsen Monogatari, which is in the southern district of Odaiba. Odaiba is an artificial island in Tokyo Bay with a number of museums and attractions including the Tokyo Maritime Museum and the Tokyo Big Sight conference center.

The O Edo Onsen recreates, in unironically cheesy fashion, the feel of a street in old Edo. After you enter and pay, you select a design from a number for brightly colored yukata to wear on your trip back in time. A quick change later and you are surrounded by gaudy yukata, a painted sunset ceiling, and a plethora of shops and restaurants with overpriced goods. 
There is an outdoor footbath open to both sexes, and of course the standard segregated baths. They had a variety of indoor baths, outdoor baths and a sauna. The overall experience was enjoyable, though certainly very commercial.

Also on the island is a mall complex complete with Ferris Wheel. I was there on a pretty clear day, so it was a no brainer to ride the wheel to the top and get a view of the city. 

I even managed to glimpse Mt. Fuji, which has always been notoriously shy; I rarely get much more than a glimpse of Japan’s most famous landmark.


Mia said...

Are hot springs in Japan segregated? You can still find both sexes mingling in Chinese hot springs.

I've never seen Fuji from Tokyo.

Island Auntie said...

The first time I saw Maui, Molokai and Lanai from Oahu was with you last year when we climbed Diamond Head. And now you've seen Mt. Fuji from Tokyo... You seem to have a knack for elusive views.

Travelingrant said...

Yeah, Fuji from Tokyo is both a very famous view, and a very rare one! Winter weather helps, less haze in the air. As far as the hot springs go, there are plenty of small rural ones that offer mixed bathing but by and large they are sex segregated. I hear that the ones that are not are mostly filled with dirty old men, and old women who don't care who sees what.

Mia said...

I can't say that Chinese hot springs are filled with the beautiful people but you're not really supposed to go there to look anyway.