Odaiba Lantern Festival

Today was Marine Day in Japan. One of the more recently-established national holidays, it was established to give thanks to the ocean’s bounty and to consider the importance of the ocean to Japan.

One of the celebrations is the Lantern Festival – Umi no Hi – on Odaiba Island. We walked across the rainbow bridge — about 2.5 km — from our apartment on Shibaura Island.

Rainbow Bridge

On a hot summer day, the walk across the bridge is a pleasant one. The walkway is relatively shaded, and there is a nice breeze. There are some observation areas that allow some scenic views of Tokyo Bay and the surrounding area.

Odaiba is an interesting place. There are some battery islands that were built in the late 1800s as Japan was preparing a defense against Commodore Perry’s “black ships.” One of the battery islands is accessible by a land bridge, and makes a pleasant place to walk.


On Marine Day, thousands of lanterns are arranged on the Odaiba beach, then lit to make geometric shapes as the twilight fades to darkness. Of course, there are many street vendors that sell nikuyaki, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, grilled oysters, beer and other delectables.


Rainbow bridge is open until 20:30, so it’s easy to walk back from the festival. Or, for those who want to stay longer and enjoy the festivities, trains are available from the Tokyo Teleport Station (a subway that goes under the bay), and Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station (a train that crosses the Rainbow Bridge). Tonight, we opted for the walk back across the bridge. It was a warm summer night, and the view was outstanding.


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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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