How To Walk Across The Rainbow Bridge!

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This has to be the most gorgeous walk in Tokyo. If you start at twilight, you can see the entire Tokyo waterfront slowly light up like the best holiday light show ever!

Here’s how I do it: I get off the train at Tamachi station and go out the main exit. There’s about a five minute walk, across two canals, until the big support at the Tokyo end of the bridge comes into view. Around to the left of the pylon building is the entry to a sort of lobby, and there’s a choice of elevators that go up to the south side of the bridge or the north side. (You have to choose before you start, because there’s no place to cross over to the other side until you’re nearly all the way across.)

The north side has a view of the Tokyo skyline and Tokyo Tower. The south side looks out over the lights of Odaiba.

On the left, the view from the south side. On the right, the view from the north.

On the left, the view from the south side. On the right, the view from the north.

Then I go up one of the elevators and start walking! I like the south side, but my friend who blogs as Tokyobling (and takes more beautiful pictures than me) likes the other side. Take a look at both, and decide which you prefer!

Starting about fifteen minutes before sunset, here’s what you’ll see:

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I like walking on the south side, because I’m a sucker for the colored lights of Odaiba and the ferris wheel and all. But first, looking back toward Tamachi, I like to check out all the shipping docks.

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They’re actually kind of beautiful, as the sun sets.

But now, if we turn the other way, we start to see the lights of Odaiba!

But now, if I turn the other way, I can start to see the lights of Odaiba!

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Once I’m over the bridge, I can’t resist taking the stairs that go down and cross underneath, to the north side. This view is pretty amazing too, looking back toward Tokyo. The orange thing is my favorite landmark, Tokyo Tower.

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Back on the Odaiba side, the dinner boats are gathering for their 7:00 p.m. cruises. The ferris wheel begins to pulse with color, and at 6:00. the Fuji TV building bursts into a continuous animated light show that changes with the seasons.

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It’s dark now, and the boats are beginning to bring their dinner guests on board and head back out toward the Sumida River, to cruise all the way up to Asakusa and back.

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But I like being up here, looking out over it all!

Once across in Odaiba, sometimes I stroll along the waterfront to the Decks and Aqua City complexes to shop or eat dinner. And sometimes I just get on the monorail at Odaiba Kaihin-Koen station and return to Shinagawa. The walk across the bridge from Tamachi station only takes about 30 minutes (it’s about 1.7 kilometers), but it’s well worth it, don’t you think?

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Walking across the bridge is free. It’s open to pedestrians and bikes from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from April to October, and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for the rest of the year. It’s closed on the third Monday of every month, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. heh. Hope you like this walk as much as I do!

Um, one small caveat: if you’re hoping this might be an awesome romantic stroll, it sort of isn’t. The walkway is right next to a lane of traffic, with all the loudness and exhaust that go with it. Visually, the walk is really amazing, but sound- and smell-wise, er, not so much. (><)

Jonelle Patrick writes mysteries set in Tokyo. Her fourth book – Painted Doll – is just out in paperback 

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