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  • Writer's pictureRuss Tierney

Japan - Day 12 - Diver City with a giant Gundam rotbot on Odaiba island

We visit the giant Gundam rotbot on an artificial island in Tokyo, on a rainy day in Japan.


Gundam robot outside Diver City mall, Odaiba island, Tokyo.
Gundam robot outside Diver City mall, Tokyo.

As mentioned in the previous blog, we'd originally planned Fuji Q highland theme park today, but as you can see from the pictures, the forecast was pretty bad, so we decided yesterday to just play Tokyo by ear as we weren't moving base for the rest of the holiday. It was probably the worst weather we had on the trip, and even with some heavy down pours in Koyasan, this had to be the most miserable day in terms of rain despite the fact it was still pretty warm. We didn't spend 14 hours on a plane to stay in our tiny hotel room however, and having the Unicorn Gundam as a must-see on the itinerary, for me at least, it made sense to head to the shopping mall it was outside on a day we could spend a large part of, shopping inside.

Diver City is located on a man-made island called (in?) Odaiba, in Koto City in Tokyo bay... and I've still not worked out how you can have cities inside of cities, but that's a thing over here. As a Westerner, I found it pretty confusing given that Tokyo is the capital city, but inside it, you have Koto City, and to add insult to injury, the mall we're going to is called Diver City.. and don't get me started on prefectures.. are they like our counties? It's not like these islands are specifically called cities, because Shinjuku is a massive part of Tokyo, and it's classed as a city too, along with many other 'wards'... so then, what the fucks a ward!? I have a feeling I've covered the confusion here already, and I'm still non the wiser. I did ask the Japanese girls I did a shoot with (still to come), and they started explaining it and then gave up themselves. Anyways, according to Google, Odaiba is accessed by the "futuristic Yurikamome train" - it doesn't look futuristic, but I believe it's referred to as such because it's driverless yet isn't classed as a monorail. Now that may be the case, but I genuinely can't remember, and I didn't notice as I was just trying to take in the scenes under the grey skies while we were on the move, and as mentioned, at fist glance it's looks like any other train, so I didn't consider looking for a driver.


There's a whole bunch of stuff that you can do in Koto City that we didn't explore much of, but alongside the Fuji TV building and the Gundam, the most famous thing in Koto City is probably Teamlabs as it seems to be the thing people always bring up on tourist Facebook groups. I'll leave you to Google that one, but if you're coming to Japan, it's probably already on your radar for those reasons. If you think because it's all man-made that you can easily walk between these locations, well, you can't. Between the Unicorn Gundam and Team labs, it is a good hour walk, or about 25 mins via a train (and walking), so with the miserable weather, we just had a chill day without putting in too much effort to stray from around the Odaiba (I think) part of Koto. If you take anything away from this, it's research and make an effort because you could easily think that the Gundam is the shining star here and that there's not much else about, especially on a grey day, but being a bay location, I imagine it's amazing in good weather. It was pretty quiet when we were there, probably due to the weather, but there are views of Tokyo and the rainbow bridge from over the water via the Fuji TV observation deck or just the bay itself. The Rainbow bridge is called as such because of how it's lit, so I imagine on a clear sunset evening, the views are spectacular too, and apparently you can even glimpse Mount Fuji, but for us, it looked more like this, but from ground level:


Tokyo and the rainbow bridge on a grey day from Odaiba
The rainbow bridge on a grey day from Odaiba

I think we started out at the Statue of Liberty (yes, they also have a Statue of Liberty) and ended up going soon after to Aqua City.. not another ward, but a shopping mall around the corner from Diver City. They still have the joys of Toy's R Us on the high street here, or at least in shopping malls. It may have been here that my nephew bought himself a Nintendo Switch, or maybe that was yesterday, either way, he certainly got some games here. We did do four way Mario Kart in the hotel room.. and what's with this assisted driving these days? Back in my day, you drove the kart and fell off rainbow road, but on the switch, these kids leave on assisted driving so you can't fly off the track.. what's that all about? Anyways, it works out a lot cheaper to buy a switch in Japan than back home. I can't say I remember too much from Aqua City other than being assaulted by about 30 Pikachu, but I don't doubt that there were plenty of visuals I captured on my phone instead.


I'm thinking that after I've finished these blogs, I'll do a mass phone dump rather than loads of little uploads... but here, have this one as it's apt:



We didn't go up the Fuji TV observation deck as there wasn't really any point, and I'm not sure the others even knew it existed, so other than the crazy architecture, there's not much else to see there. They have pop up shops on the ground floor, and I say pop up because I read online there was a One Piece specific shop which held a massive interest to my nephews, but when we went it had been replaced by a different franchise that I imagine is on the Fuji network too, so instead we head to Diver. Aptly, given the Unicorn bot outside, Diver has the Gundam Base Tokyo store which has some pretty incredible models on display (again, I took photos and videos on my phone that I'll stick up at some point in a later blog), but outside of the epic visuals, I don't really have an interest in it, so it went over my head. They're awesome to look at though, but along with the building kits being next to finished kits, and of course in Japanese packaging, plus the really detailed pieces not being cheap, I couldn't find one to confidently pull the trigger on despite the fact that I'd have loved one just for the memory. There are plenty of places to come across Gundam in Japan, there's just none quite with the range that is here, so I imagine it's on most fans lists. While we were there, we could have visited the moving life-size Gundam at the Gundam factory in Yokohama, but I believe that is a temporary installation and is due to be removed after having its time extended.


Meal at Diver City, Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan
Meal at Diver City, Tokyo, Japan

I seem to remember Diver City being better that Aqua, or maybe I just imagined that because they have the Gundam and a huge food court, so we ate here too. It's just outside the food court that you can find the Giant Unicorn Gundam, it's just a shame it was a miserable day, which also probably reflected patience as a result, hence not really getting stuck in to Koto. I did love my meal though, and Marc got the same thinking it was a curry, but he hated his to the point of not finishing it when he could have got a curry from a place about 50 feet away instead. They also did those crazy massive rainbow candyfloss (cotton candy for you Americans) that you see people post on YouTube, but again, with the weather, it didn't feel like an exciting time to running around with sugar that melts in water, even if it's kinda Instagrammable. What we could have done however, and we did look around the shop, is go to the Unko museum there. The Japanese love the poo emoji, and the is a museum dedicated to various forms of cute poos.. but yeah, i'll let you Google that one too. What was around the corner and not an hour walk away was Tokyo Joypolis, which I think is a glorified arcade with rides that sides more towards the immersive and physical.. aka you get involved and do stuff with tech providing the experience. We didn't bother with that either. Maybe it was shut, I can't remember, but as mentioned above, you really need to research and make the most of your Japan trip because you could spend a year here and still not see everything, and easily miss something around the corner. I quite fancied the Small Worlds miniature museum, but that was an island over, and I don't think the others would have been quite as in to it as me, and I didn't fancy navigating back alone.



Once back in Aki, we used the rest of the day to do our final clothes wash (and probably shop and play Mario Kart) of the holiday after we found a coin operated place. I then went out to find some puddles to splash in with my camera, but I never did get THE puddle shot I wanted. I don't think Akihabara is probably the best place for neon shots, but as we were staying there, it was obviously the most convenient.

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