Odaiba (お台場) today is a large artificial island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, across the Rainbow Bridge from central Tokyo. Odaiba was initially built in this area for defensive purposes in the 1850s. The original Odaiba opened in 1860 as a port and shipyard in the city today known as Yokosuka, site of the joint Japanese-US fleet HQ. Reclaimed land offshore Shinagawa was dramatically expanded during the late 20th century as a seaport district, and has developed since the 1990s as a major commercial, residential and leisure area. Odaiba, along with Minato Mirai 21 in Yokohama, is among a few manmade seashores in Tokyo Bay where the waterfront is accessible, and not blocked by industry and harbor areas. For artificial sand beaches in the bay,[1] Sea Park in Kanazawa-ku is suitable for swimming,[2] Odaiba has one, and there are two in Kasai Rinkai Park area looking over to the Tokyo Disneyland.[3]

Daiba (台場) formally refers to one district of the island development in Minato Ward.[4] Shintaro Ishihara used Odaiba to refer to the entire Tokyo Waterfront Secondary City Center (東京臨海副都心, Tōkyō Rinkai Fukutoshin) which includes the Ariake and Aomi districts of Kōtō Ward and the Higashi-Yashio district of Shinagawa Ward.[5]


The name for Odaiba comes from a series of six island fortresses (daiba) constructed in 1853 by Egawa Hidetatsu for the Tokugawa shogunate in order to protect Edo from attack by sea, the primary threat being Commodore Matthew Perry's Black Ships which had arrived in the same year.[6] Daiba in Japanese refers to the cannon batteries placed on the islands. In 1928, the Dai-San Daiba (第三台場) or "No.3 Battery" was refurbished and opened to the public as the Metropolitan Daiba Park, which remains open to this day.

Of the originally planned 11 batteries, seven were started construction but only six were ever finished.[7] No.1 to No.3 Batteries were completed in eight months in 1853. Among No.4 to No.7 started construction in 1854, it was only No.5 and No.6 that completed by the year end. No.4 and No.7 were abandoned with 30 per cent and 70 per cent unfinished, and an alternative land battery near Gotenyama was built instead. For No.4, they resumed construction in 1862 and completed it in 1863.[7]

The modern island of Odaiba began to take shape when the Port of Tokyo opened in 1941. Until the mid-1960s all except two batteries were either removed for unhindered passage of ships or incorporated into the Shinagawa port facilities and Tennozu island. In 1979 the then called landfill no. 13 (now Minato-ku Daiba, Shinagawa-ku Higashi-Yashio and Kōtō-ku Aomi districts), was finished directly connecting with the old "No. 3 Battery". "No. 6 Battery" was left to nature (landing prohibited).

Tokyo governor Shunichi Suzuki began a major development plan in the early 1990s to redevelop Odaiba as Tokyo Teleport Town, a showcase for futuristic living, with new residential and commercial development housing a population of over 100,000. The redevelopment was scheduled to be complete in time for a planned "International Urban Exposition" in spring 1996.

Suzuki's successor Yukio Aoshima halted the plan in 1995, by which point over JPY 1 trillion had been spent on the project, and Odaiba was still underpopulated and full of vacant lots. Many of the special companies set up to develop the island became practically bankrupt. The collapse of the Japanese asset price bubble was a major factor, as it frustrated commercial development in Tokyo generally. The area was also viewed as inconvenient for business, as its physical connections to Tokyo—the Rainbow Bridge and the Yurikamome rapid transit line—made travel to and from central Tokyo relatively time-consuming.

The area started coming back to life in the late 1990s as a tourist and leisure zone, with several large hotels and shopping malls. Several large companies including Fuji Television moved their headquarters to the island, and transportation links improved with the connection of the Rinkai Line into the JR East railway network in 2002 and the eastward extension of the Yurikamome to Toyosu in 2006. Tokyo Big Sight, the convention center originally built to house Governor Suzuki's planned intercity convention, also became a major venue for international expositions.

The D1 Grand Prix motorsport series has hosted drifting events at Odaiba since 2004.

Odaiba is one of the venue locations in the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics. The events to be held there under the venue plan include beach volleyball at Shiokaze Park, triathlon and marathon swimming at Odaiba Marine Park, and gymnastics at a new gymnastics venue.[8]


Today's Odaiba is a popular shopping and sightseeing destination for Tokyoites and tourists alike. Major attractions include:


Two Shuto Expressway lines access Odaiba: Route 11 enters from central Tokyo crossing the Rainbow Bridge, while the Bayshore Route enters from Shinagawa Ward through the Tokyo Port Tunnel and from the bayfront areas of Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture to the east.

By public transport Odaiba is accessible via the automated Yurikamome transit system from Shimbashi and Toyosu. The privately operated Rinkai Line runs between Shin-kiba and Osaki but many trains connect directly to Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. City buses provide cheaper if slower access. Ferries connect Odaiba with Asakusa running along the Sumida River and the Kasai Rinkai Park in eastern Tokyo.

The Tokyo Cruise Ship is a water bus operator in Tokyo that offers services including public lines as well as event cruises and chartered ships. Such as from Asakusa → Odaiba Seaside Park → Toyosu → Asakusa.

Cultural references

Odaiba, the Rainbow Bridge, and other parts of the surrounding area are a major setting of the Digimon Adventure franchise. The area is noted in many major areas of the plot.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]


  1. "ⅱ.東京湾岸の干潟" [ⅱ.Tideland along Tokyo Bay shores] (in Japanese). Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  2. "Umino Ken" [Marine Park] (in Japanese). Yokohama Greenery Foundation. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  3. Kasai Beach is another one within the Kasai Kaihin Kōen facility. Mainly divided into two sections, the west beach is for leisure consumers and the east beach is reserved for a wild bird and wildlife sanctuary with limited access."Dai-1-pen Kaigan no hozen ni kansuru kihontekina jikō; Dai-3-shō ō Kaigan kubun to kaigan hozen shisetsu; (2) Kasai Beach" [Part 1 Basic matters concerning coastal conservation; Chapter 3 Coastal segments and coastal conservation facilities; (2) Kasai section] (PDF). Tokyo Bay Coast Conservation Plan (Tokyo section), Revised March, 2017 (Heisei 29) (in Japanese). Bureau of Port and Harbor, Tokyo Metropolitan Government. pp. 1–50. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  4. Bureau of Port and Harbor, Tokyo Metropolitan Government supplies a diagram to show the original area. "Daiba chiku" [Daiba district] (in Japanese). Bureau of Port and Harbor, Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  5. "Kaiken Repōto: Ishihara Shintarō Tōkyōto chiji" [Press Conference: Shintaro Ishihara, the Governor of Tokyo] (in Japanese). Japan National Press Club. 20 December 1999. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  6. The architecture of Tokyo Hiroshi Watanabe p.143
  7. Ishizaki, Masakazu (1992). "Bunken kara mita Shinagawa daiba" [A Study on Sinagawa Daiba through Literatures]. Dobokushi Kenkyu (Historical Studies in Civil Engineering) (in Japanese). 12: 403–408. doi:10.2208/journalhs1990.12.403.
  8. "Venue Plan". Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee. Archived from the original on 27 July 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  9. "Giant 60-Foot 'Mobile Suit Gundam' Statue Presides Over DiverCity Tokyo Plaza (PHOTO)". Anime News Network. 2017-09-01. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  10. "Gundam Base Tokyo (Optional)". Japan Deluxe Tours. 2017-10-02. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  11. "About Tokyo Odaiba Oedo Onsen Monogatari - Tokyo Travel Guide | Planetyze". Planetyze. Retrieved 2017-11-14.
  12. Odaiba - Shiria-mae Crossing at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 December 2015)
  13. Odaiba (odaibamansion) at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 December 2015)
  14. Odaiba (rainbowkoen) at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 October 2017)
  15. Odaiba (school) at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 December 2015)
  16. Odaiba (rainbowbridge) at the Wayback Machine (archived 2015-12-22)[Positional parameters ignored]
  17. Odaiba (daiba) at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 December 2015)
  18. Odaiba (Map) at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 October 2017)
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