Odaiba Maritime Museum

Hello everyone and welcome back to Tiro Finale with a slight departure from our regularly scheduled anime-based content. Today, we will be taking a look at the Odaiba Maritime Museum which, next to the Gundam statue, used to be one of the bigger attractions of Odaiba. I say used to because, as of writing, the museum is still currently closed for renewal works. So with this unmistakably large vessel-shaped building being temporarily out of commission, is it still worth a visit? Let us find out. 

While the main building itself may be closed for renovation works, the outdoor exhibits are still free to view. Besides that, there is also a small exhibition area adjacent to the main building which houses a few items from the prior main building. That being said, the museum is currently in a sorry state of disrepair and has clearly seen better days. 

With no clear end date for construction or reopening, the progress on the Maritime Museum has been slow and that could largely reflect the dwindling interest by the public. Despite all of that, visitors should not be quick to dismiss the museum as just a short walk away lies another attraction that is holding up the fort, or in this case, the coast.

The neighboring pier is actually home to an actual ship this time, the Soya, an Antarctic exhibition ship which has since been put out of commission. After decades of service and exploration, the worn out ship is now permanently docked in the piers of Odaiba and located right next to the Maritime Museum.

Unlike the Maritime Museum though, the Soya has been recently refurbished and is in a very good condition. Not only that, the entrance fee to visit this ship is absolutely free. Visitors are allowed to donate a sum towards the preservation of the vessel but, every square feet that is available to visitors is otherwise free. On top of that, visitors are even provided a brochure with information about the Soya. 

Just like the Hakkoda-maru we visited in Aomori, the Soya in Odaiba has been restored to pristine condition with little signs of wear and tear except for the obvious signs of aging in the materials itself. 

Other similarities with the Hakkoda-maru include the areas open to visitors. These included parts of the decks, a large portion of the ships interior, bridge and engine room. Photography is also permitted and for many visitors, this is one of the few opportunities to explore the inner working of a vessel especially one which has seen such extensive service over the years.

On a nice sunny spring day, the decks of the Soya is quite a place to be with the decks spick and span and the skies clear and blue. It really gives the impression of sailing out in the open sea.

All of this is juxtaposed by the various high-rise building in the background with the Fuji TV headquarters on the left and the Mirai-kan Museum on the right. 

On the surface, it may not seem like the Soya and Odaiba Maritime Museum have much to offer especially for those with much of an interest in maritime science and seafaring. That is until you take a moment to realize that this place is unlike any other thing you can expect to find in Tokyo. With the lack of space and real estate being a constant issue in Tokyo for both residents and visitors, the last thing you would actually expect is a large ship to explore. 

As it stands, the Odaiba Maritime Museum is significantly hampered with the exception of the Soya which is the only reason to pay the locale a visit. Nevertheless, the potential is there to be a popular family-friendly attraction. In the meantime, the museum is best relegated as a side attraction rather a must-see attraction of Odaiba. But, I remain hopeful and am keen to see how things will be once the main museum building is reopened and running once more.

With that, we come to the end of our look at ships and buildings shaped like them. Rest assured, we will be returning to our regularly schedule anime-content soon. Until the next time, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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