Small Worlds Tokyo, Koto City, Odaiba

Small Worlds is a theme park dedicated to miniatures. It opened in spring 2020, just as Japan shut its borders due to the pandemic, so few tourists have had a chance to visit up to now. It’s located in a nondescript building, 5 minutes on foot from Ariake Tennis-no-mori station on the Yurikamome monorail, so it can be combined with other attractions in Odaiba; since it’s completely inside, it’s perfect for a rainy day in Tokyo.

Model train running through the Global Village area

Model map of Small Worlds, to the left of the elevator

I love models and miniatures, and despite the high entrance price (2700 yen), I’ve been there twice, once in December 2022 and again in March 2023, and highly enjoyed both visits. There is so much detail to spot and observe, that one can easily spend two hours there, even though all the displays are just on one floor. Make sure to press the various buttons and then try and see which miniatures suddenly spring into action.

Alpine landscape with a (moving) ropeway and a ski slope

Mediterrean sea fort

The theme park is divided into 6 areas. The most interesting one is the “Global Village area” featuring towns built in various architectural styles, with model trains running through most of the exhibit. I’d recommending seeing it early in the visit: go left when getting off the escalator on the 3rd floor. It’s just past the “Space Center area”, the 2nd most interesting area: there are several rocket blastoffs throughout the day so make sure to check the schedule.

A fictional city modeled on real-life Hong-Kong

The Sailor Moon city at night

Following the route, the next area is the “Sailor Moon Area”, recreating the Tokyo neighbourhood where the characters of the Sailor Moon animation live. Make sure to hang around for the night performance of Debussy’s ” Clair de Lune” (see videos). The 3rd most interesting area is up next: the “Kansai International Airport Area”. It seems to take up a lot of unnecessary space but the sight of the planes taking off and landing is worth it.

Kansai international airport at dawn

The airport at night

Down a tunnel leading away from the airport is the “Evangelion Cage area”, the least interesting area, where one can see the 3 EVAs from the animation. Hardcore fans of the show might enjoy it but I found it less impressive than the rockets and planes in the other areas. The Small Worlds theme park has several corporate partners which is why there are so many JAL planes at the airport; and also why there are so many hotdog vending cars (another partner is a sausage factory).

At night, Tokyo-III re-emerges from the underground

Various rockets are on display

Further on, one arrives at the “Evangelion Tokyo III area”, a reproduction of the city inhabited by the characters of the animation. The highlight is the city that disappears underground and then re-emerges every day. A key feature of the entire park is that day and night alternate, so one gets to see each display in the daytime and lit up at night; it’s worthwhile circling around twice to get both views of each area.

A seasonal display only for the Christmas season

The dazzling “White Art” restaurant on the 2nd floor

After the Evangelion area, it’s possible to loop back to the previous exhibits by going through the workshop area. Both my visits were on weekdays so no workshop activities were being held but there were still many interesting things to see; I could also observe the artists at work. Before leaving, it’s worthwhile checking out the dazzling restaurant on the 2nd floor with its impressive Small Worlds ad playing on loop on a big screen.

See a video of Small Worlds (part I)

See a video of Small Worlds (part I)

See a slideshow of some close-up pictures of Small Worlds

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