So the whole gang was together again for a visit to Odaiba. After breakfast, we caught the subway to Odaiba and made our way to the Diver City Mall.
We had actually seen Odaiba from the top of Tokyo Tower back during the sightseeing tour on the first day. Specifically, we could see Odaiba’s Statue of Liberty and Rainbow Bridge (a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge). Seeing them again up close was just as awe inspiring as seeing them from a distance. After soaking up the scenery for a bit, we headed to the top of the Diver City Mall which housed the Gundam Museum.
The museum is dedicated to Gundam Wing, a very long running anime series in Japan. I’m not overly familiar with the series, but it has the vein of humans piloting giant robots to fight off giant monsters. It was a very intriguing exhibit which showed the history of the series and had innumerable toys, clothing, and various other swag available for purchase.
After wandering through the museum, we headed outdoors to see the famed 60 foot Gundam statue. It was truly an awesome spectacle and the statue had a light show later at night that we would watch. From there we went back inside the mall and headed to the Tokyo Trick Art Museum.
This was one of my favorite events of the trip. This museum has all of its walls painted in such a way that it almost seems 3D and allows people to become part of the art for photos. We got pictures of myself showing my death defying martial arts skills as I balanced on the tip of a sword wielded by my ninja opponent, Mat suffocating under glass, and Dave holding open the jaws of a hungry beast to keep from being devoured.
When we had finished our tour of the museum, we got to split up and go off on our own for a while. Mat, Dave, and I searched out a place for lunch and ended up being persuaded to eat at a ramen joint when the owner promised us free rice. Now that I think about it, none of us got any rice.
From there we found a classic arcade in the mall and all of us enjoyed a little blast from our past. Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Kung Fu Master (known as Kansu Master in Japan) were just some of the games from yesteryear that we played. After funning ourselves out and a little more exploration, we met up with the group by the Rainbow Bridge to get ready for the second half of the day’s activities.
The group was given the choice of one of two activities: going to the SEGA Joypolis amusement park or going to Tokyo Oedo Onsen Monogotari, a Japanese hot springs. Now I love amusement parks, but I wanted to experience something indicative of the Japanese culture and had opted to go to the hot springs. Dave was the only other person who opted to go to the onsen. I suspect Mat would have preferred that activity, but he has a couple of tattoos and people with body art are not permitted in public hot springs.
So Dave and I were off to the onsen where we became part of the traditional Japanese culture. For starters, we had to take off our shoes before entering the hot springs. We were also required to wear a yukata, a Japanese robe, inside the onsen. The inside of the onsen was set up as a medieval Japanese village and market place. There were places to eat and games to play, but the hot springs is what it was all about. They were so peaceful and relaxing. After luxuriating in the hot water for a bit, I went and had a 40 minute massage and then went to the enjoy the outdoor hot spring. Dave and I both agreed the outdoor spring was the best as a light rain had started to fall and the combination of that plus the hot water really induced relaxation. I really wish we had a couple of more hours to spend there.
Before we knew it, our time was up and we headed back to Diver City and took in the spectacular Gundam Statue light show before heading for our hotel. My relaxing time at the onsen plus all of the running around we had been doing for the past week finally caught up with me on the subway as I dozed off on my seat. Yukie said I fit right in with the Japanese businessmen who often take catnaps on the train. Dave gently shook my shoulder to awaken me right before our stop and it was back to our room to unwind and sleep before our last day in Japan.