Saturday, 26 August 2017

Tokyo: Odaiba Island

Random Transformer on Odaiba
The previous day (unblogged) we'd travelled up from Kyoto to Tokyo on the bullet train and checked into our Air BnB apartment in Shibuya. The only tourist thing we'd done of note was to visit the Tokyo local government offices which has a free observation floor at the top of their building.

As much as we were loving Japan, we were both beginning to feel a bit oppressed by the large cities that we'd been living in for the last ten days. Heading out into the countryside felt like a bit of a slog, so we decided instead to head for the man made island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay in search of some greenery. It would be completely over selling it to say that we found the lungs of Tokyo, but there was enough open space and leisure activities to keep us interested.
Becks checking out a Toyota GT86
We took the monorail (?) out to the island and started by aimlessly drifting round the green edge of the island. I vaguely suggested popping into a couple of places, but Becks was quite firm that she wanted to spend some time outside. I was therefore shocked, and absolutely delighted, when Becks suggested going into a building that contained a huge Toyota showroom.

The showroom had every production car they make in Japan, some of their vehicles from the American market, a mobility section, some race cars and also future concepts type area. I've always fancied a GT86 so made a beeline for those first. Sadly it was a bit uncomfortable to sit in. It's a bit annoying when boring practicalities get in the way of your dreams.
Trying out an oculus rift
Next up was the future zone where I had a go in a safety simulator wearing a virtually reality headset. The virtually world I entered wasn't that cool, but I'd never tried an Oculus Rift headset before so that was a definite win. In the future zone I really wanted a go in one of their one person electric concept vehicles but there was a very prominent sign up saying that you had to be able to understand safety messages in Japanese so I wasn't allowed to give them a try.
Inside Bills Odaiba
As well as wanting to escape the big city for the day I had a hankering for the familiar so was looking forward to lunch at Bills, one of my favourite cafés from Sydney. It didn't have exactly the same vibe as Sydney, but the interior of the café was definitely more Australian than Japanese.
The Aussie breakfast
The menu was broadly familiar to anyone who has been to one of the Sydney restaurants. I had the 'Aussie breakfast' which isn't on the menu back home, but their famous scrambled eggs definitely are. Rebecca had the ricotta hotcakes which definitely are one of signature dishes.
Ricotta hotcakes
After lunch we headed to the western side of the island to promenade up and down and to enjoy being beside the water. The pavement was absolutely packed with people who were glued their phones playing Pokemon. It was near the peak of the global craze, but I was still shocked at how many people there were playing.
Volleyball competition on the beach
I'm not quite sure what put the idea in our heads, but rather than catching the light rail back into the city we decided to walk over the Rainbow Bridge back into the city as the sun was setting. It was worth it for the sunset views of Tokyo Bay though.
Walking back over the rainbow bridge

Fuji TV building as the sun began to set
Before heading back to our apartment for the night we decided to swing by Akihabara. This was one of the first suburbs I visited on my previous visit to Japan with work some ten years ago and I remember it being a really intriguing place. Maybe we didn't quite chance upon the right streets this time, perhaps it was because we arrived late in the day and some places we already closing down, but I wasn't particularly impressed by Aki this time round.

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