It is Golden Week in Japan and I have 8 glorious days off. I have just spent the last 3 days doing some serious pavement pounding and Tokyo exploring with 6 intrepid Canadian travelers who are over for a Japan visit and came to stay with me for a bit. They are the best kind of travelers, willing to give anything a go, open to to new food, interested in the culture, history and people of the country they are in. I first met S and D in Costa Rica in 2011, we caught up again for a quick drink in Ireland in 2013 and now here they are in my neck of the woods with their adult children and children’s partners! We have done so much in 3 days, that I am going to break it down into mini photo essays like the creepy dolls in Akihabara and the Pachiko, yep that was with the Canadians!
The Rainbow Bridge
One of my favourite walks is from The Shibaura side of Tamachi station across the Rainbow bridge to Odaiba, a modern area of reclaimed land with interesting architecture, big shopping complexes if that is your thing, nice outdoor areas, a man made beach and great views.
Facts and figures and supposition on my part.
Construction of this beautiful suspension bridge began in 1987, the first year I lived in Japan coincidentally, and was finished in 1993. The bridge length is 798 metres and height is 127 metres. The bridge is officially called the Tokyo Bay Connector Bridge but is commonly known as the Rainbow Bridge. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation website “The Rainbow Bridge features a stretched and beautiful shape like a rainbow over Tokyo Bay as its name suggests.” Personally I find this a bit of a stretch but it is a beautiful piece of structural engineering. I actually thought the name came from the fact that the bridge is illuminated in different colours every night from sunset until midnight. The illumination is solar powered.
The bridge has two separate walkways on the north and south sides of the lower deck. The north side offers views of the inner Tokyo harbour, the Tokyo skyline with notable structures like the Sky tree in Asakusa, the Tokyo Tower and the Sumida river while the south side offers views of Tokyo Bay, Odaiba, the big loop for traffic and the monorail as they mount the bridge and occasionally if one is very very lucky Mt Fuji. The walkways may be used from 9 am to 9 pm in the summer and 10 am to 6 pm in the winter. Access to the walkways closes 30 minutes before closing time. Bicycles are permitted but must be pushed. They make you strap a funny little wooden skate board like thing to your back wheel to stop you from being tempted to ride across once past the security men. You should note that the promenade is closed on every third Monday of the month. If that Monday is a national holiday, the walkway will open and will close the next next week day instead. I have been caught out by this before.
We had a great day weather wise to do this walk. We choose to walk the City and inner harbour north side and the views and action on the water was pleasing for everyone. We saw the Tokyo Fire Department’s fire boats doing training drills and were lucky to see their hoses in action. This was very exciting for our group as one of party is the Fire Department Chief in his town. The bridge itself is beautiful and the construction engineer among us was in bridge heaven. We arrived in Odaiba and had a nice stroll around the waterfront to the Tokyo Water Bus Ticket office. After a cheap and cheerful lunch in the food court we took a water bus across to Hama Rikyuu Garden which was the old private hunting ground of a shogun but that’s another post. The boat was great as it gave us yet another perspective of the massive bridge from water level.
Please enjoy the photos of our bridge crossing and boat trip.
Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu