Odaiba is an artificially created island in Tokyo Bay. It’s an entertainment hub that is now easily accessible by crossing the beautiful Rainbow Bridge. But did you know that it was originally created for a completely different purpose? Learn more about the island’s history and its spectacular view spots that even most locals don’t know!
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* The information in this article is as of January 19. Please refer to the official homepage for the latest update.
Was Odaiba originally a defense facility?
When you take a closer look over Tokyo Bay from a higher position, for example from one of the bayside shopping malls in Odaiba or Rainbow Bridge’s promenade, you can see two square-shaped islands floating in the sea. These two islands are sea defense batteries called Shinagawa Odaiba, whose construction began in 1853.
During the ‘sakoku’ ー closed country ー policy of the Edo Shogunate, which lasted nearly 400 years, Japan engaged only in limited diplomacy and foreign trade. Therefore, it was a shock to the Shogunate when on June 3, 1853, the American Black Ships commanded by Matthew Perry arrived in Edo (the name of Tokyo at the time) and urged the Shogunate to open the country to the West. The Shogunate, feeling threatened by this act, decided to build batteries, called “daiba” for defense. The plan was to create 11 daiba, but since the Shogunate finally collapsed in 1868, only 5 of them were completed. Today, only Daiba No. 3 and Daiba No. 6 still remain in Tokyo Bay.
In 1928, Daiba No. 3 was reborn as a public park. Now, it’s just a short walk from the beach at Odaiba. From the nearest station, it’s about 12 minutes on foot.
When I visited the park, I walked from Odaiba Kaihin Koen Station on the Yurikamome Line. Close to the park entrance is also the entrance to the Rainbow Bridge promenade. Crossing Tokyo Bay by walking across Rainbow Bridge is great ー and free! It’s one of Tokyo’s highlights, so please try it! (Watch our video here)
Walking around Daiba Park, you get the chance to enjoy the spectacular view of Tokyo Bay seen from various angles. The existence of the park itself isn’t well known, so it is often vacant. It is a hidden gem perfect location for some relaxation.
Today, you can still see some remains of the historic site in the center of Daiba Park. This is where the defense facility was at that time.
The highlight of the historic site is the cannon remains.
How did you like our introduction to Daiba Park and its history? Daiba Park is a recommendation not only for history fans, but also for those who are looking for a less crowded spot where you can enjoy an impressive view, or anyone who just wants to escape the crowds of the city! Take a look at the beautiful sea, breathe in the sea breeze, take pictures and relax at the historic sites!
Daiba Park (Shinagawa No. 3 Daiba Remains)
1-10 Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/HT8qLsxJTu7b4LzD7
Access: Odaiba Kaihin Koen Station (Yurikamome), Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line), Rainbow Bridge Promenade Daiba Exit (on foot), Odaiba Kaihin Koen Eki-mae (bus), Daiba Eki-mae (bus)
* Due to preparatory work for the Olympic triathlon and marathon swimming competition venues, Daiba Park may not be open to the public from March 2021.