A day spent more on shopping than sightseeing16 May, 2013 by Grace
Having set aside more time for rest this day, we headed off to Odaiba in the late morning feeling energised and refreshed. It was also yet another cold windy day, but at least the weather was really good and skies were clear.
It was the second time I visited Odaiba, but the previous time was four years ago, travelling with a tour group. Hence, there were still many things to look forward to, such as the DiverCity shopping mall which didn’t exist then, and taking the special Yurikamome train into the island. The Yurikamome works like the Japanese version of Singapore’s LRT system – driverless and short distances between stations. However, it has more cabins and a decent amount of seats unlike LRT trains.
Getting off at Daiba station, our first stop would be AquaCity shopping mall, which I had visited before. I’m not sure if I remembered wrongly but the mall’s interior seems to have changed quite a bit since.
It was already 11.30am when we reached the place so we needed to find lunch. Upon reaching the mall’s entrance, we were handed a flyer advertising a buffet for an unbelievably affordable price. Etine got pretty excited and wanted to try, but seeing the price gave me doubts about the food quality so I brought this up, and we agreed to look for something else. I was feeling like having sashimi, but Etine really wanted to eat omurice, so we made an agreement that she’d choose what to have for lunch and I’d choose dinner.
We settled upon this omurice restaurant called Pomme no Ki, which turned out to be a pretty good choice. The omurice here was absolutely delectable! I regretted not choosing a bigger portion because it was so tasty I wanted more. You could pay 210 yen extra for a medium size (the regular size is called “small”), and 420 yen extra for the biggest size.
We still had room after gobbling down the rice, so we ordered the dessert we had been eyeing earlier. The ice cream parfaits didn’t disappoint, and it was very filling. Honestly, I don’t know where you could get such quality desserts in Singapore.
Stuffed with lunch, we were ready to start shopping. We spent quite a lot of time trying and buying clothes. In particular, I aimed for those Japanese brands I knew and you couldn’t find in Singapore. Bought quite few pieces of clothing in the end. I wanted to move on to DECKS, the shopping mall beside AquaCity, to check out Joypolis, the indoor amusement park, but in the end we took it out of the itinerary in order to accommodate more time for shopping.
After finally moving out of AquaCity, we crossed the road to the Fuji TV building. It was apparent that the building was a place that most tourists would just take photos of the exterior or at most probably only step in to look around, since the open-to-public areas here only sell merchandise of shows shown in Japan.
Being a pretty avid Japanese drama watcher, I roughly had in mind which dramas’ merchandise to look out for in F-Island, the name of the Fuji TV goods shop. F-Island is located on the 7th floor of the building, and there’s a long escalator on the exterior of the building that takes you directly outside the shop.
When at the open area outside the shop, I immediately looked for one of the J-drama posters I knew was up here, and it happened to be on the pillar closest to the shop. I got pretty excited and hung around taking a few photos even though the strong winds were killing all of us.
I was not alone in my excitement, since there were two women who spotted the poster and one of them squealed, telling the other she was very happy to see it. She then proceeded to snap a photo with her cellphone. Why the excitement for this particular late night drama? Because a Johnny’s Entertainment idol is starring in it, that’s why. It really was less about the drama and more about seeing this giant poster with him on it.
After enough photos, we went into the shop. This whole Fuji TV stop was mostly for me since Etine and her mum don’t really watch J-drama. After getting a few items off the shelves, we left the place as it was approaching evening light. Etine and I wanted to take photos of the giant Gundam outside DiverCity in daylight.
Needless to say, it was getting colder and breezier by the hour, so we walked pretty fast. Call me an inexperienced traveller, but I didn’t even know it could be this cold in spring. Of course we checked weather forecasts daily but knowing the temperature and actually feeling it is different. At some point I started trying to walk backwards instead, against the direction of the wind, so it would stop freezing up my face.
Upon reaching DiverCity, Etine’s mom looked around shops while Etine and I bypassed most of the shops. Our priority was making our way to the outside area, where we found the giant Gundam model and the Gundam Cafe.
We decided to go into the cafe first, where Etine happily bought a Haro Latte. I initially wanted to grab one as well but the price made me baulk. I’m not that big of a Gundam fan that it would justify me paying 380 yen for hot latte (but you know, 800 yen for a maid cafe latte is totally reasonable!).
After which, we went to take photos of the Gundam model in evening light. While waiting for it to become night, we went back into the mall to grab some Gindaco takoyaki (once again). When we were done we went back outside to take photos and it was just nice. The Gundam model looks a lot more imposing at night than in the day thanks to the lighting at the eyes and feet.
Finally, we went back inside DiverCity to do shopping. However, the mall surprisingly had nothing much for us – the brands available were more upscale than the ones in AquaCity. We didn’t really find anything here to buy, so we were quickly done with the place. We decided to go towards Odaiba Kaihin Koen (Seaside Park).
We didn’t actually go down to the beach since it was already dark, and we admired the view from the open area outside AquaCity. There were some tourists around here taking photos too.
We were actually all kind of disappointed the famous Rainbow Bridge didn’t seem to be doing its rainbow light-ups often seen in postcards. Perhaps it was too early? It was dark, but only around 6pm when we were there looking out.
Since this was our last planned stop in Odaiba, we were about to go, when I spotted the Toys”R”Us sign outside AquaCity and remembered I wanted to visit it but had forgotten to earlier. It was for a lame reason that I wanted to check it out but anyway, I asked if we could make a quick stop at the mall. Etine and her mum were okay with it, so we went back in.
They continued to look at shops again, while I went to Toys”R”Us. When I was done and went back to find them, they were engrossed in trying and buying clothes again. We ended up spending another hour here before making our journey back.
Reaching back at Shin-Okubo where our hotel was located, we went around the streets to find dinner. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of Korean food so there wasn’t really anything good there. Another unexciting end of day, but still Odaiba was pretty satisfying. In retrospect I wish we actually hadn’t set aside more time for sleeping and allocated more time for shopping, because we missed out Joypolis.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.