Tokyo in Pics

Rainbow Bridge

If you are after some great photographs of the waterfront in Tokyo - then you need to take a walk across Rainbow Bridge.  It is a mecca for photographers and an easy but enjoyable walk too!

If you are into walking, Rainbow Bridge might be for you.  It's on Tokyo Bay and takes you from the Shibaura area (which is between Shinbashi and Shinagawa) over to Odaiba.  The walk is amazingly easy and take you less than an hour at a fairly leisurely pace, unless you stop to take photos and enjoy the view.   There is a north side and a south side to the bridge with the south being far more interesting due to the Tokyo city skyline.  The views are absolutely amazing and can't be beaten.  On a fine day, they just might take your breath away!  I don't know how many times I've walked over the bridge, but I still love it.  

Rainbow Bridge at night - taken from the Odaiba side

If you are coming from Nihonbashi, use the Yurikamome line and get off at Shibaura-futo and walk to the bridge, roughly a five minute walk.  At the bridge, you enter a reception-like area (drink machines and toilets) and take an elevator up to the lower deck (yes, there is an upper deck, but you can't access it). The bridge has two walkways, one on the north side and one on the south. The north side is probably more interesting for the city views it offers, as the south side has a walkway, but no observation decks - it is completely caged in.

On the Shibaura side of Rainbow Bridge with a pleasure craft passing under it

The north side of Rainbow Bridge has several excellent observation platforms from which to get some amazing pictures.  You can get pictures of Tokyo Skytree; Tokyo Tower; the Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal (with its pyramid roof); the old Kanebo building, Hama-Rikyu Gardens and of course the amazing Tokyo Skyline.  If your camera is capable of taking panoramas, then I think that on a fine day you'll get something very memorable.  It is also possible to get some pictures of large passenger ships passing under the bridge as they often moor at the Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal.

Tokyo Skytree is easily seen from Rainbow Bridge on a fine day

For those taking the south side, there is Odaiba with its iconic Fuji Television (which houses the Hachitama Observatory), the main port area of Tokyo and the islands.  It's not really appealing in my opinion.  The other thing which doesn't make the south side very attractive is that there are no observation decks, so until you are almost off the bridge, you'll shooting through the wire.

On the Odaiba side, near the ferry dock with Rainbow Bridge right ahead

The observation decks in the middle of the platform are fenced for obvious reasons, but it is possible in some find a space to wiggle your camera around between the wires to find a shot.  The lower end decks are more open and taking pictures from them is no problem, very unobstructed.  Just be careful though with those unfenced observation decks, because if you drop your cellphone or camera over the edge, you'll never see it again!

So if you have a spare hour or two, take a walk over Rainbow Bridge as it is a great place to get some photos and once you finish the walk you can relax and refresh yourself in Odaiba.  Odabia has a lot to offer - museums, sightseeing, shopping and eating.  There is so much over there with the Gundam robot and its cafe, the Maritime Museum, the Statue of Liberty and lots more.   But whatever you do in Odaiba, don't miss a walk along the beach because you can get some more great shots of Rainbow Bridge in its entirety, especially at sunset and at night.

One of Rainbow Bridge's observation decks

A walk over Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo is highly recommended.  You can see its Japanese homepage here.

How to get to Rainbow Bridge

I think the easiest way to get there is to take the Yamanote line to Shinbashi Station, then get the Yurikamome line to Shibaura-Futou. After that it is a short five minute walk to the bridge.

Here is a Google map to give you an idea:

Opening hours

Summer (April to October) from 9am to 9pm
Winter (November to March) from 10am to 6pm

The bridge is closed on the third Monday of every month.

Admission costs

The bridge itself it free, but the Yurikamome train from Shinbashi to Shibaura-futou costs 250 yen (and takes eight minutes).

Bicycles on Rainbow Bridge

You can take your bicycle over Rainbow Bridge, but you can`t ride it across, you have to walk it across.  When you arrive, you`ll see a reception office at either end of the bridge.  There, the staff will take your identification details as well as giving you a dolly-like contraption that you attach to the rear wheels of your bike.  Return it to office when you reach the other side.  Bicycle traffic is strictly one-way.  If you are going from Shibaura to Odaiba you be taking the south side.  From Odaiba to Shibaura you'll be taking the north side.

This is what you attach to the rear wheel of your bicycle when you take it across Rainbow Bridge

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