7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo!

7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo!

Tokyo’s 798 metres long Rainbow Bridge was completed in 1993 and spans northern Tokyo Bay between the Shibaura Pier area and the man-made island of Odaiba. But as an icon of modern Tokyo, it is much more than a convenient way to cross from A to B, offering sight-seers, day trippers, photographers and intrepid travellers some of the most stunning scenic views of Tokyo, a truly exciting walk high above the bay, and access to many enjoyable attractions.



 

7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo!

 

1. Getting There

Assuming you aren’t going by car, the best way to reach Rainbow Bridge is on the Yurikamome* from Shimbashi station to Shibaura-Futo, or Odaiba Kaihin-koen stations (depending on which end of the bridge you want to start from. Most people probably cross from the Shibaura side and walk over to Odaiba, but crossing from the other end after a day in Odaiba might suit others.

*Yurikamome is a completely computer controlled train offering a spectacular view of the bay as you cross the bridge on its elevated track. It is easily the most inspiring way to reach Odaiba.

 

2. The Long Walk

It just takes a few minutes to walk from Shibaura-Futo station to the bridge, where you will find a reception area and lifts to either of two walkways: north side and south side. It takes around half an hour to walk the distance of the bridge at a steady pace. The walkways are open from 09:00 to 21:00 in summer, 10:00 to 18:00 in winter, but closed every 3rd Monday of the month.

 

3. The Views

Rainbow Bridge has a number of observation platforms with great views, and because of the curve to the bridge, your perspective on the sights changes as you proceed. But the best North side views include Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower, the port, and the amazing Tokyo skyline. The south side has views of the curious spiral road of Shibaura, the Odaiba waterfront, and Mt Fuji in the distance (although I’m told that there are building constructions obscuring line of sight to Mt Fuji from some positions now).

 

4. Hang On To Your Hat!

The first thing you’ll notice when you reach the walkways is how windy it can be up there, so hang on to your belongings. Your stroll across Rainbow Bridge will be baking hot in the summer, and freezing cold in winter, so be prepared for that and, as much of the walkways are closely adjacent to road traffic, an anti-pollution mask is highly recommended.

 

5. Photography

Despite the necessary barriers, there are slots at the observation platforms where you can poke your camera lens through. I don’t recommend a tripod as they’re difficult to use close to a fence and, when it’s windy, even the most formidable pod will shudder! Besides, there’s sufficient light to capture night scenery, especially with image stabilising lenses, at quite modest ISOs.

 

6. Odaiba

When you reach Odaiba, you’ll understand why it is one of the most popular spots in Tokyo for day trips. It has everything; lots of shops and restaurants, indoor and outdoor attractions, and wonderful views of the bay and Rainbow Bridge. It’s also one of the only places in the region with open access to a beach. Daiba park is a great place from which to photograph Rainbow Bridge at night when it’s lit up and, being at ground level, you’ll be more able to use that tripod!

 

7. Rainbow Bridge Lite!

If your main reason for being by the bay was to visit Odaiba, or you’re not up to walking the entire length of Rainbow Bridge, the Odaiba end of the bridge offers a less demanding experience. For one thing, the walkways slope gradually upwards from Odaiba for about 200m, below the traffic, so it’s less noisy and polluted. There’s also a place where you can cross over from one walkway to the other. Of course, this experience is less bracing, and offers less in the way of scenery than the full walk across, but it’s still impressive.

 

Conclusion

Probably most foreign visitors to Tokyo plan to take in the historic sites and temples, and the more high-profile modern landmarks like Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree. But the Rainbow Bridge walkways are, to my mind, a not to be missed treat… one of Tokyo’s secret little adventures that you should definitely try if you get the chance.

 

7 Recommended Ways to Enjoy Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo!

1. Getting There
2. The Long Walk
3. The Views
4. Hang On To Your Hat!
5. Photography
6. Odaiba
7. Rainbow Bridge Lite!