I’ve been waiting for someone to develop the transporter beam from Star Trek for decades now. Before you scoff, think about cell phones, especially the older flip phones, and how much they look like Star Trek communicators, and there are now thermometers that can take your temperature without touching you, just like a tricorder could.
But I digress. Sadly, the Tokyo Teleport Station is far more mundane. It is a just a station on the Rinkai subway line, on the island of Odaiba.
Odaiba is a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, which was made from six smaller man-made islands. The original six islands were built in 1853 to protect Tokyo – then called Edo – from an attack by sea, which primarily meant keeping Commodore Mathew Perry and his “black ships” at bay. It didn’t work; a trade treaty was signed between the two countries in 1853.
Odaiba languished in obscurity until the 1990s, when the then governor of Tokyo got the bright idea to make Odaiba into a futuristic residential and commercial community. His timing was bad, though. Japan was heading into recession, nobody wanted to make the trek all the way out there,
and the next governor cancelled the project.
But then Fuji TV moved out there, and Suntory, the maker of Jim Beam and other alcoholic beverages, moved there, and a convention center opened. All that was followed by the inevitable malls – there are four – and some restaurants and a 24 hour video gaming, karaoke, and bowling center.
But I came here for the Ferris wheel, the Daikanransha. It was the world’s tallest when it opened in 1990. Today it is no longer even in the top fifteen tallest wheels, but it’s still pretty big and pretty cool.
I was first in line when it opened; make that the only one in line when it opened. You buy your ticket from a vending machine that takes cash and credit cards, and you are directed up to the loading platform. There are two types of cars on this wheel; one that is clear on the top half, and the other that is completely clear – even the floor. Being the cheapskate that I am, I bought a ticket for the half clear car, but maybe because it was a slow morning, I was put in
a clear car.
And the trip was ….fine. I’m probably a little jaded. I’ve ridden the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer, the second and fifth tallest Ferris wheels currently. Both of them are located close to the center of the city and command spectacular views. The Daikanransha, on the other hand gives you a good view of the containership docks. In fairness, the Fuji TV building and the Telecom Center are very cool buildings in their own right, and the Ferris wheel lets you get a good look at them from a height.
I went to the Venus Fort, which is a mall with a pretty ceiling, and walked through DiverCity, which is a mall with a robotic customer service rep. (The AI service rep was not very helpful, though she was nicely dressed.) I then took a brief look at the Toyota City Showcase. Toyota has a big presence here, showing off past and future vehicles. There is even a test track where you can pick a car from their line up and do a couple of laps.
But no transporter beam (sigh.) Possibly Useful Information:
a train on the JR line from Shinjuku Station that connects with the Rinkai line that will take you to Tokyo Teleport Station without having t change trains. Pay attention, though. Not all JR trains from Shinjuku have the direct connection. If, however, you get on the wrong train, you can just change to the Rinkai line at Osaki station. The fare each way is JPY 500, as of this writing.
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