Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Odaiba was originally constructed in 1851 by the Tokugawa shogunate as a series of 6 fortresses in order to protect Tokyo from attack by sea, the primary threat being Commodore Matthew Perry's Black Ships, which had arrived in the same year. Daiba in Japanese refers to the cannon batteries placed on the islands.
In 1928, the 3rd daiba was refurbished and opened to the public as park, which remains open to this day.
The modern redevelopment of Odaiba started after the success of Expo '85 in Tsukuba. The Japanese economy was riding high, and Odaiba was to be a showcase as futuristic living, built at a cost of over $10 billion. The "bubble economy" burst in 1991, and by 1995 Odaiba was a virtual wasteland, underpopulated and full of vacant lots.
In 1996, the area was rezoned from pure business to allow also commercial and entertainment districts, and the area started coming back to life as Tokyo discovered the seaside it never had. Hotels and shopping malls opened up, several large companies (including Fuji TV) moved their headquarters to the island, and transportation links improved.
Today's Odaiba is a popular shopping and sightseeing destination for Tokyoites and tourists alike. Some major attractions include:
- Fuji TV studios
- Decks Tokyo Beach shopping mall, feat. Sega Joypolis and Little Hong Kong
- Venus Fort , a Venice-themed shopping mall
- Zepp Tokyo , one of Tokyo's largest performance hall/nightclubs
- Daikanransha, the world's largest ferris wheel after the London Eye
- Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari hot springs
- The only beach in mainland Tokyo (swimming not recommended) along with Kasai Rinkai Park in Edogawa Ward.
Odaiba is linked to Tokyo proper by many bridges and tunnels, including the scenic Rainbow Bridge.
By public transport Odaiba is accessible via the automated Yurikamome transit system from Shinbashi as well as with the privately operated Rinkai Line running between Osaki and Shin-Kiba . City buses provide cheaper if slower access. Ferries also operate between Tokyo and Odaiba.
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