Sunday, December 01, 2013

Daikanransha - Giant Sky Wheel - Odaiba - Japan 11/2013

This is Daikanransha, at one time the tallest ferris wheel in the world. It's still pretty goddang tall, but since 2000 a bunch of other bigger wheels have been built, and it's now in lowly 12th place.

But like SkyTree, it's a landmark that you can see from practically all over Tokyo (which means the reverse is also true), especially at night when it's lit up like a Christmas tree. I've always wanted to ride it. I've got pics and video of it going back to the early 00's, but somehow just never made it there before now.

Daikanransha's in Odaiba, which I've actually been to several times before - but mostly to go to Sega Joypolis and Yo! Tekoya. Odaiba is a really strange area - home to some wild architecture, headquarters to media like Fuji TV, and otherwise mostly populated by things to amuse yourself with. It's like a giant arcade with office buildings.

Here's Zepp Tokyo, a major nightclub/live house venue that a bunch of my favorite Japanese bands have played at. I never even realized it was here - it is literally right next to Daikanransha.

Because of what there is in Odaiba, and also what there isn't much of (housing), the island is always dead if you go on a weekday. There are people there, but they're mostly in the office buildings working. The malls, parks and amusement areas are always completely deserted. (It is probably very different on nights and weekends.)

I've always kind of wanted to stay in Odaiba for all those reasons - there's a ton of fun stuff to do, and it's just wide open most of the time - no crowds, no waiting. There are a few hotels, but you do have to deal with the fact that it's kind of a trek to get to the main part of the city. It's like staying in Staten Island if you go to New York (if Staten Island had a lot more going on).

There are two options - you can ride the standard color gondola or the "all clear" version that lets you see through the floor and ceiling. In keeping with our policy of always taking the special option, we rode the clear gondola.

Here's our clear gondola on the way... you've gotta be ready to run on as soon as they call you.

Here's the ground from the bottom and floor of our gondola. I was a little freaked out through a lot of the ride, although my wife was fine. None of the clear gondola looks structural; it all looks like it's going to fall apart. The plexiglass was very thin, and the frame seriously just looked decorative. As we went up, it really did feel like just being out in the open air.

Part of the view on the way up. If you look close, you can see Tokyo Tower on the left and SkyTree on the right. (SkyTree is a lot further away, which is why they look the same height.) This is looking towards "downtown" Tokyo, if there is such a thing. On the opposite side is mostly water.

There was some sort of drifting thing going on in the distance. Sorry about the music - the only natural sound during this video was my wife talking. (This music makes me laugh anyway.)

Going up over the top! It actually was really windy that day and we were bobbing around all over the place. I could also feel the whole wheel swaying, which was a little disconcerting. I kept telling myself this thing hasn't blown over in 14 years, it's probably not going to happen now.

I snapped a few good shots of the wheel on the way out.

Couldn't help but stop at this arcade on the way out! This place was massive and nearly completely empty. We played some mini-bowling, and of course I had to sit down for some Wangan Midnight 4, one of my favorite racing game series ever.

Oh, and of course... !

We made the trek over to Yo! Tekoya again - it's a crime to go to Odaiba and miss it.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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