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Odaiba - Tokyo's Most Visited Attraction

Aqua City, Venus Fort, and Rainbow Bridge. While they may sound like the settings for the next big battle of 21st century superheroes, they are in actuality just three of the attractions which have made Tokyo’s Odaiba one of the city’s most frequented destinations.

Odaiba stands on two of six islands which the Togukawa shogunate built and fortified to protect Tokyo Harbor from Western intrusion, which arrived in the person of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853. It received ...

Tokyo hotels, hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo Accommodation

Aqua City, Venus Fort, and Rainbow Bridge. While they may sound like the settings for the next big battle of 21st century superheroes, they are in actuality just three of the attractions which have made Tokyo’s Odaiba one of the city’s most frequented destinations.

Odaiba stands on two of six islands which the Togukawa shogunate built and fortified to protect Tokyo Harbor from Western intrusion, which arrived in the person of Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853. It received its name from the Japanese word ‘daiba,” for fort. When Japan experienced its enormous economic boom in the early 1980s, the third and sixth of the fortified islands were extended, and named Tokyo Teleport Town for the ultramodern business city which was to be constructed on them.

The economic boom went bust, however, and in the 1990s, new plans permitting Odaiba to be commercially developed saw it quickly inhabited by the entertainment and commercial enterprises which make it such a huge draw today. Among Odiaba’s most impressive attractions are the replica of France’s Statue of Liberty wtching over its Aqua City shopping center; Venus Fort, another shopping mall designed to resemble eighteenth–century Venice; and Oedo Onsen Monogatari, an Edo-period style bathing park built around a 1400-metre deep hot spring.

The Odiaba Kaihin Park, near the Rainbow Bridge and the possessor of one of Tokyo’s two sand beaches, is a favorite spot for romantic assignations, but swimming in Tokyo’s less-than-pristine bay is not recommended. For the technologically inclined, Odaiba has the Miraikan, Japan’s Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, the Fuji Television Building, and the Toyota Mega Web.

Accessing Odaiba from either the Rainbow Bridge or the Yurikamome elevated train will afford visitors some splendid views of Tokyo Bay.

The park-like grounds and private waterfront balconies of the five-star Odaiba Nikko Hotel, the first built on Odaiba, offer visitors an escape from the bustle of Tokyo with its. The Odaiba Nikko is a perfect spot for romantic getaways.

 

Roppongi Hills

Minoru Mori had a vision of building a city within the city of Tokyo, and after seventeen years with the help of some four hundred of Tokyo’s individual landowners, his vision was realized in 2003. Roppongi Hills is an eleven-hectare vertical city, and its centerpiece, the fifty-four story Mori Tower, can be seen from all over Tokyo.

Divided into eight distinctly themed areas, Roppongi Hills has something for everyone from everywhere. Yet all of the areas seamlessly meld...

Tokyo hotels, hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo Accommodation

Minoru Mori had a vision of building a city within the city of Tokyo, and after seventeen years with the help of some four hundred of Tokyo’s individual landowners, his vision was realized in 2003. Roppongi Hills is an eleven-hectare vertical city, and its centerpiece, the fifty-four story Mori Tower, can be seen from all over Tokyo.

Divided into eight distinctly themed areas, Roppongi Hills has something for everyone from everywhere. Yet all of the areas seamlessly meld together, providing a wide variety of experiences in a somewhat restricted space.

The Mori Tower houses the Tokyo offices of many international conglomerates, and the ultra-exclusive Roppongi Hills Club. Its 52nd floor observation area has seating areas, and its Mori Art Museum has nine galleries spreading over two floors.

The Roppongi Hills Mori Garden, with its seventeenth-century design, including a path circling a river-fed pond, is the perfect escape for those seeking quiet space in the heart of the Tokyo megalopolis. The atrium of the TV Asahi Studio is open to the public, and has a small café looking out onto the Mori Garden.

Roppongi Hills’ West Walk, Hill Side, and MetroHat/Hollwood Plaza are what draw shoppers from around the globe. The West Walk, in the four-story Mori Tower Galleria, is the location of such upscale establishments as Anne Fontaine, Byblos, and Mandarina Duck. The West Walk features Japanese restaurants, and Hill Side, international ones.

The boutique-lined Hill Side faces the Mori Garden and is where shops like Michael Negrin and Anna Sui will be found. And the MetroHat/Hollywood Plaza, as its name suggests, has stores to appeal to the younger trendier shopper.

Finally, with its Keyakizaka Doori, Roppongi Hills has an answer to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, and its Virgin Cinema complex boasts the largest screen in Japan. For an extra charge, Premiere Screen reclining seats with tables on which to place popcorn, candy, and soda are available.

Just a three minute walk from Rappongi Hills, the reasonably-priced, clean and friendly B Rappongi Hotel is very popular among both business travelers and tourists.

 

The Cherry Blossom Festival

Although no one can predict exactly when, every spring thousands of Tokyo inhabitants will flock to their public parks to enjoy “hanami”, the viewing of the cherry blossoms. The most popular of the city’s Cherry Blossom Festivals is at Ueno Park.

The Park’s main street is lined with over eight hundred cherry trees, the glowing blossoms of which are illuminated each evening by the light of fifteen hundred lanterns. Several hundred thousand daily visitors enjoy the blooms...

Tokyo hotels, hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo Accommodation

Although no one can predict exactly when, every spring thousands of Tokyo inhabitants will flock to their public parks to enjoy “hanami”, the viewing of the cherry blossoms. The most popular of the city’s Cherry Blossom Festivals is at Ueno Park.

The Park’s main street is lined with over eight hundred cherry trees, the glowing blossoms of which are illuminated each evening by the light of fifteen hundred lanterns. Several hundred thousand daily visitors enjoy the blooms, which lend an aura of the palest pink to the park’s many other attractions.

History of the Cherry Blossom Festival

The Cherry Blossom Festival has its roots in the ninth century, when Japanese nobility had the first formal flower viewing at the Shinsen-en garden in Kyoto. Today Cherry Blossom Festivals unfold in stages as warm weather begins to spread over Japan from south to north and from the lowlands to the mountains. The Japanese listen intently to the reports from the Meteorological Agency as the cherry blossoms begin opening in Okinawa each January. When the blooming season arrives in Tokyo, usually in late March or early April, it is a signal for two weeks of celebration.

Families, friends, and even groups of workers in every part of Tokyo will head for the blossom-shrouded public spaces, spread out their picnic blankets, and enjoy the return of spring beneath the gently falling blossoms, which symbolize for them the fleetingness of life. By day’s end there is no way to tell where one group ends and another begins, and the sense of community is special indeed.

For those who would prefer to enjoy the ephemeral beauty of the blossoms in more contemplative surroundings, the Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival, only six miles to the west of Tokyo Station, offers an evening stroll beneath the lantern-lit trees at the river’s edge.

Where to Stay during a Visit to the Cherry Blossom Festival

Located in Tokyo’s central Taitoku district, the four-star Hotel Sunroute Asakusa Tokyo is a modern facility within two kilometres of Ueno Park.

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