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Get Around Tokyo Odaiba For Free with Tokyo Bay Shuttle!

Get Around Tokyo Odaiba For Free with Tokyo Bay Shuttle!

Date published: 13 February 2020
Last updated: 29 December 2020

Odaiba, located in the Rinkai Fukutoshin area on Tokyo's east side, is a famous town with plenty of leisure facilities and sightseeing spots that has been gaining rapid fame among foreign visitors in recent years.

Did you know that there's a bus service that brings passengers to places of interest scattered all around Odaiba free of charge? Tokyo Bay Shuttle is the name you need to remember when making transportation plans for Odaiba, and we're going to tell you why!

Table of Contents
  1. What Is the Tokyo Bay Shuttle?
  2. Stations, route durations, and peak periods
  3. 1. National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)
  4. 2. Fuji Television Wangan Studio
  5. 3. VenusFort (Palette Town)
  6. 4. Tokyo Teleport Station
  7. 5. DiverCity Tokyo Plaza
  8. 6. Hilton Tokyo Odaiba
  9. 7. Aqua City Odaiba
  10. 8. DECKS Tokyo Beach
  11. 9. Fuji Television
  12. 10. Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba
  13. 11. Aomi Rinkai Parking Lot
  14. Tokyo Bay Shuttle: Fully equipped to welcome foreign visitors

What Is the Tokyo Bay Shuttle?

This is a shuttle bus service operated by Hinomaru Jidousya Kougyo Co. Ltd. that connects to major sightseeing spots in Odaiba.

One of the objectives of Odaiba's redevelopment during the late-1990s was to reduce the traffic volume of personal vehicles in commercialized territories, and this bus service was launched in the year 2000 to that end.

It played a major part as a pioneer in driving Odaiba's Park & Ride initiative, which is now the transportation standard for the area.

Also, through close collaboration with Odaiba's local businesses and shopping malls in Palette Town, such as VenusFort and Aqua City Odaiba, the bus is free to ride for everyone. In exchange, these partners broadcast sightseeing advertisements on the two monitors in the bus or install floor guides and other useful information about their businesses in the section located just behind the driver's seat that's designed for guidebooks and such. This has a good effect on developing and promoting synergy between local businesses.

The bus interior itself is built similarly to municipal buses. Besides the foldable ramps that make the vehicle wheelchair-accessible, seats are located virtually in the same positions as regular buses as well.

The main differences would be the section for guidebooks found at the front of the bus and a wider space for wheelchairs and baby strollers. It's clear from these little details that the operator takes into consideration the ease and comfort of passengers from all walks of life.

Stations, route durations, and peak periods

The Tokyo Bay Shuttle will stop at a total of 11 stations, starting from the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) and going all the way to Aomi Rinkai Parking Lot. This route is about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) long. The bus then turns around and goes back to Miraikan, taking about 40 minutes to complete one circuit.

Every day, between 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., one bus departs from the starting point every 20 minutes or so. The bus is in operation every day, no matter the season, and even on major holidays during the end or start of the year. During summertime (between July to August), the bus often sees more than double its usual passenger traffic.

Let's hop on the bus now to visit individual bus stops and the places of interest located near them!

1. National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)

1. National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan)

Miraikan is a museum where you can personally experience what the latest science and technology has to offer. There are no other sightseeing spots around this stop. Opposite the Miraikan are official buildings like the Tokyo International Exchange Center and Tokyo Wangan Police Station.

2. Fuji Television Wangan Studio

As the name suggests, this place houses a studio where Fuji Television produces its programs. Nearby, you'll also find the educational Tokyo Customs Information Facility and Japan Coast Guard Marine Information Museum. If you're using the Bay Shuttle to go to Tokyo Odaiba Ōedo Onsen Monogatari, a hot spring facility, this is the nearest bus stop, although you'll still have to walk for a bit after getting off.

  • Fuji Television Wangan Studio
    • Address 2 Chome-3-23 Aomi, Koto City, Tokyo 135-0064

3. VenusFort (Palette Town)

3. VenusFort (Palette Town)

Stop here if your destination is Palette Town, an exciting area where you can find popular attractions like VenusFort, teamLab Borderless, and Mega Web. Because the station is also located near Aomi Station on the Yurikamome, stop here if you're planning to use the Yurikamome to head towards Ariake or Toyosu.

4. Tokyo Teleport Station

picture cells / Shutterstock.com
picture cells / Shutterstock.com

This bus stop is located in front of Tokyo Teleport Station, a terminal station on the Rinkai Line. Besides passengers on the Rinkai Line, you can also board shuttle buses going to popular destinations like Haneda Airport and Tokyo Disneyland Resort at the terminal here, making it a sort of an interchange between the various transportation modes available.

Right beside the station is the Odaiba Sky Tourist Information Center. It provides useful services such as currency exchange and gives out comprehensive information about sightseeing spots in multiple languages.

  • Tokyo Teleport Station
    • Address 1-2 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo-to

5. DiverCity Tokyo Plaza

The bus next stops at DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, a building built around the concept of theatrical city space. The place is chock-full of shopping and leisure facilities, such as the Round 1 Stadium entertainment center and a life-size statue of Unicorn Gundam, a battle robot featured in the popular Japanese animation series, Gundam.

6. Hilton Tokyo Odaiba

6. Hilton Tokyo Odaiba

This bus stop is located right in front of the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba hotel. Head towards the beach after getting off the bus to see a replica of the world-famous Statue of Liberty! When nighttime falls, the Rainbow Bridge behind is illuminated against the backdrop of the bustling city, transforming the area into an excellent place for some breathtaking night views.

7. Aqua City Odaiba

jointstar / Shutterstock.com
jointstar / Shutterstock.com

Aqua City Odaiba is a large-scale shopping complex with shops, restaurants, cinema halls, and other entertainment facilities. One of the more interesting places to visit here is the ramen park called Tokyo Ramen Kokugikan Mai.

It's very popular among international visitors as well! Each ramen shop here offers an ever-changing rotation of seasonal specials, so there's always a tasty surprise waiting for visitors every time they return.

8. DECKS Tokyo Beach

8. DECKS Tokyo Beach

DECKS is a great place for the entire family. It houses family-friendly entertainment centers such as Tokyo Joypolis, Madame Tussauds Tokyo, Legoland Discovery Center Tokyo, and many more. The building is one of the best places to admire Tokyo Bay from, and the illuminations at night work well with the scenery to create beautiful night views that all can enjoy.

9. Fuji Television

Tanasut Chindasuthi / Shutterstock.com
Tanasut Chindasuthi / Shutterstock.com

Fuji Television's headquarters is one of Odaiba's most iconic buildings. This famous structure was designed and constructed by Japanese architectural giant Kenzō Tange. The ball-shaped structure in the middle is an observation room called Hachitama which is open to the public for a fee. There are plenty of things to see and do here! Besides being able to browse through shops that sell exclusive items and TV program-related merchandise, there's also a gallery area that will be of interest to visitors wanting to learn more about the place.

10. Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba

10. Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba

After Fuji Television, the bus will carry on to its next stop, Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba Hotel. Right in front of the hotel is Shiokaze Park, a perfect spot for enjoying the beautiful waterfront scenery surrounded by pleasant nature (the place is currently undergoing maintenance in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, so usage is restricted). Shiokaze Park will be used as a venue for beach volleyball competitions during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

11. Aomi Rinkai Parking Lot

The final stop on the Tokyo Bay Shuttle bus route is Aomi Rinkai Parking Lot, which will also be used as a sporting venue during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics (Aomi Urban Sports Park), specifically for events like 3x3 basketball and sport climbing. Right next to the parking lot is the educational Museum of Maritime Science. The Tokyo International Cruise Terminal here will be opened in July 2020.

  • Aomi Rinji Parking Lot
    • Address 1-2-11, Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo-to

Tokyo Bay Shuttle: Fully equipped to welcome foreign visitors

What sort of services does the Tokyo Bay Shuttle bus provide for international tourists, in view of the exponential growth in foreign visitors in recent years? We asked Mr. Hirai from the business division of Hinomaru Jidousya Kougyo Co. Ltd. for his opinion and here's what we found out.

Apparently, the majority of Bay Shuttle passengers are actually foreign tourists! In order to make the ride more comfortable for them, the company has installed a guidebook space behind the driver's seat and filled the space up with English-labeled route maps. A larger version of this route map is also put up inside the bus itself for easy reference. Such details may seem minor, but they add to the comfort and accessibility of the bus service, especially for foreign visitors who do not speak or read Japanese.

These route maps also come with a QR code that brings you to a page where you can download the Bay Shuttle app. This app comes with Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese language support. The app has a complete list of all bus stops along with bus timing schedules and information about major places of interest located near individual stops.

Also, users of the app can get real-time updates about bus operations and traffic conditions. We certainly highly recommend installing the app for the sheer convenience it provides!

Near the bus door, useful signs about bus stops that are not currently in operation are also indicated in English, Korean, and Chinese, a testament to the company's dedication to providing a seamless experience to passengers from all countries.

Tokyo Bay Shuttle achieved an accumulated ridership of over 10 million in the year 2017. Unlike trains and monorails, passengers can admire the scenery outside the window while sitting in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus.

The best part of it all is that the shuttle bus is free of charge, allowing you to hop on and off as many times as you like without needing to worry about spare change or going out of budget. In fact, according to Mr. Hirai, this is one of the most appealing parts of the service!

This writer sat on the bus for the entire route just to give it a go, and can vouch for the excellent positions of the bus stops relative to where the major places of interest in Odaiba are. Tokyo Bay Shuttle is an invaluable resource for tourists looking for a reliable mode of transportation around Odaiba.

The view of the waterfront scenery at night from the bus window is quite a sight to behold as well. Passengers without a particular destination in mind can also choose to simply sit on the bus throughout the route to enjoy the scenery as well, for a different but equally pleasant kind of sightseeing experience!

Written by Mae Kakizaki. English translation by Huimin Pan.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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