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Do As Tokyo Does Ginza to Odaiba, Bridge Photowalk
(Entered Sep. 14, 2009)
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Realizing how much I enjoyed my first photowalk from Harajuku to Tokyo, I once again had a look at Google Maps to find a location for my next one. The only theme I wanted to keep constant, besides the obvious of getting some interesting photos, was to go somewhere with either no, or few, people around. You're now thinking 'Ginza and Odaiba? No people? Huh?'
Yes I know, the streets of Ginza on a weekend make a parade look deserted, but Odaiba is a different story. You probably know Odaiba as the areas around AquaCity, Decks, VenusFort, etc, in other words, the huge shopping centers. However that's only a tiny area of Odaiba. 90% of it is a mix of empty space, parks, and urban, industrial and commerical areas that are almost devoid of people on the weekend, in short the perfect place for me. Starting from Ginza is totally optional of course. I did it just because it was a conveneint stop on the train for me, and also because I wanted to see how long it took, as I despise paying the exorbitant fares on the Yurikamome monorail from Shinbashi.

ginza odaiba photowalk marion building

Nothing difficult so far, just keep walking straight down Harumi dori (street). The crowds will finally start to thin out after you pass Tsukiji (the morning fish market) and you'll be able to take a break from people dodging and walking with your elbows out. Keep on going until you get to Kachidoki station and the large Triton Towers complex, then keep going even more.

ginza odaiba photowalk triton towers

You've arrived at a massive bridge. On the right side of the road you'll see a convenient store, (Sunkus I think) and you'll probably want to stop there and stock up as it'll be the last one you see for a while. It took me about 40 minutes to get to here if you include a bit of dawdling around taking random photos.
Shade also runs out at this point, so take out your hat that you were smart enough to bring, and tell the sunscreen you've already put on to get ready. The day I went it was hot and sunny, perfect for getting burnt to a crisp.
Ready? Cross the bridge.

ginza odaiba photowalk odaiba in the distance

The massive swathes of emptiness in Odaiba have to be seen to believed. If you didn't know better you'd think you were looking at the place where Tokyo stops, and the prairies begin. I suppose that one day it'll be covered in skyscrapers and what have you, but I hope not for a long time. Oh yeah, the area you're walking on now is all reclaimed land. There's even one island made completely out of compressed garbage. Good times.

ginza odaiba photowalk wide open

Though it's difficult to see in the picture below, almost all these rocks are numbered. Graffiti or some huge puzzle?

ginza odaiba photowalk numbered rocks

You're still going straight by the way. In fact just keep going until you get to the very end of the road, and come up to a massive parking lot. Turn right and continue on for about 10 minutes and you'll get to Tokyo Big Sight, an international exhibition center and one of the more bizarre looking buildings in Tokyo. Congrats, you're in Odaiba proper now.
I wandered around inside for a while enjoying some shade and air conditioning. It probably took more than an hour to get here from Ginza, not exactly a great alternative to the Yurikamome line, but interesting nonetheless.

ginza odaiba photowalk big sight

No more straight lines now. Odaiba is big, and even with a full day I couldn't get to, or see all of it. Just wander and zigzag around as you like, or follow the path I took on the map at the bottom of this post. There are street maps scattered around if you're the kind of person who sucks at staying oriented.
Odaiba is full of interesting architectural creations.

ginza odaiba photowalk N building

It's hard to completely avoid civilization, and I inadvertently found myself walking through VenusFort (a major shopping mall) in order to get somewhere else. There was an outdoor concert with a bunch of gorgeous girls singing really bad music, which pretty much sums up the whole Japanese music industry in my opinion. I can't remember what the group's name was, but I don't think they were famous.

ginza odaiba photowalk hot girl singers

Running between VenusFort and AquaCity is Promenade Park, which I walked down and then back again for another hour or so. I found this giant needle sticking up in the air, surrounded by construction. Not sure what it's supposed to mean. Is it art?

ginza odaiba photowalk needle

Later on I found this mound of something I dubbed super wheat. There were a bunch of people milling around, including a few other guys with dSLR cameras. Kumi told me later that the name of the plant in Japanese is 'suzuki' which translates to Japanese pampas grass. I've never heard of it either. It was huge though. You may not be able to tell from the photo, but each stalk is about 3-4 meters tall.

ginza odaiba photowalk super wheat

You can't walk 5 minutes in Tokyo without stumbling on construction of one sort or another. I was back near VenusFort again, going the other direction now. There were some big, ugly construction walls cordoning off a huge area, blocking access to the 'Great Dream Bridge' which I wanted to check out.
I found a small access point to it though, almost invisible really, and consequently had the whole thing practically to myself. Nice.

ginza odaiba photowalk great dream bridge

The Fuji Television building has been photographed to death, and isn't really interesting anymore, but I took a shot of it anyway.

ginza odaiba photowalk fuji building

It was early evening by now (I'd begun at noon) and I took a break on the beach in front of the super crowded Decks/AquaCity area. I sat and admired the view of the Rainbow Bridge in the distance, and suddenly decided that I was going to finish things up by walking across it, something I'd never done before but always wanted to do.

ginza odaiba photowalk beach

My feet were killing me by this time, but as I rose higher and higher and the sun started to set, I got my second wind.

ginza odaiba photowalk rainbow bridge view

The Rainbow bridge is massive and takes about 30-40 minutes to walk over depending on your speed. The bridge itself is an impressive feat of engineering, looking more like a giant machine than a simple bridge, being made up of seemingly millons of small wheels, gears, levers, and other parts with unknown functions.
Aside from a small section near my starting point in Odaiba, you're basically walking right beside traffic, so noise levels are almost intolerably high while air quality is low. Even with a great view, it doesn't take long before you start wishing you could get to the other side already.
Here's the path I took in detail.

ginza odaiba photowalk map

Finally making it across the bridge, I walked for another 30 minutes or so and found my way to Tamachi station. Exhausted, I headed home, took a shower and ordered a pizza. All in all, a very good day!



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