Rebuilding has not, however, always gone quite to plan. Odaiba, across the Rainbow Bridge from the Conrad Tokyo, is—like much of Tokyo Bay’s real estate—built on reclaimed land. The man-made island was originally constructed as a series of six defensive forts before gradually being decommissioned and opened up to the public from the 1850s.
A major transformation of the island was ordered in the 1990s to create a futuristic vision of urban living called ‘Tokyo Teleport Town.’ But works were halted in 1995, just a year before scheduled completion and after ¥1tr was spent on the project, as Japan was throttled by recession. Odaiba became a ghost town until the end of the decade, when the (briefly) world’s tallest ferris wheel—Daikanrasha—opened and corporate giants including Fuji TV moved in to invigorate the area once again.
The island’s future was secured in 2002 when it was properly linked in to Tokyo’s rail network. The area has, since then, become one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations with playful architecture complementing technocentric attractions as well as being home to some of the world’s biggest businesses.
A neon-blanketed ferris wheel with extraordinary views over Tokyo.
One of only two places in Tokyo with direct access to a beach (no swimming).
A ‘lifesize’ statue of the popular Manga cartoon creation; there’s also a statue of the Statue of Liberty.