Sunday, 30 August 2009

Crossing The Rainbow Bridge To Gundam

I thought the Gundam at Odaiba was going to be a permanent attraction, but it looks like it'll only be there till the 31st of August. Quite surprising since it'd only been up since July. The weather forecast was for rain, so I thought we'd miss out.

I've only been to Odaiba once, way back here in July 2007. It's not a bad place. There's an (artificial) beach you can't swim at, a shopping mall that looks like Europe (Venus Fort), and a fake Statue Of Liberty. What's not to like?

Compared to other inner Tokyo destinations, it's costs a little more to get there via the Yurikamome line. On a special occasion like this, I thought it'd be interesting to get to Odaiba by walking along the Rainbow Bridge.

An easy way to get there is to catch a Yamanote line train to the Tamachi station. From there, go out the east Shibaura exit and continue in the same southeast direction in a bee-line to the base of the bridge (Shibaura Anchorage).

Staying on the right-hand side of the road you'll find an escalator to take you to the north or south promenade walkway. From April to October it's open from 9-9pm, and 10-6pm the rest of the year.

I'd recommend the North walkway. You can see Tokyo Tower and the more interesting skyline. Also the wind will blow the traffic's exhaust fumes away from you. Getting closer to Odaiba, there's an underpass to the South side allowing you a nice view of the other side too.

The Gundam was located in Shiokaze Park, on the far right side of Odaiba. Even though there was quite a bit of rain the place was packed with like-minded people wanting to see the impressive life-size machine.

We waited in line to go between the legs to touch it, and get a closer look. On the hour, the Gundam came to life moving it's head from side to side (and up!), and smoke coming out of his chest and jets, looking like he was on fire. The mostly Japanese crowd were vocally in awe of this.

Before going home we walked towards Venus Fort and the Ferris wheel. I wanted to see the place where I won my first UFO catcher toy, and to bring back some memories.

I think Odaiba is worth seeing at least once on a visit to Tokyo, maybe even twice. You should definitely get there by walking along the Rainbow Bridge. The views are great and it's not hard to do. On the way back we took the South side.

Remember too, that although the walkway is on the bottom, second level there isn't any shade from the wind or rain. A lesson I learnt pretty quick with a typhoon rain coming through.

If you're in Tokyo you'd want to hurry up to see Gundam. He's on view only until tomorrow!