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Haneda Airport plane spotting at Kyowa Bridge

The Showajima Industrial Site was my latest place for plane spotting.  Haneda Airport is less than two kilometers away.  In prime time many jetliners fly past.  I had good weather for my visit.  It was an excellent afternoon for aircraft photography. 

ANA Airbus A321neo JA139A

Well, I need to say you won’t be shooting from within the industrial site but near it.  The exact spot is on Kyowa Bridge.  From there, you’ll be able to photograph airliners as they approach runway 16R.  On a Sunday afternoon, I started taking photos from about 4:30 pm and finished around 6:30.  

Japan Airlines Airbus A350-900 JA10XJ landing gear down

Why is Kyowa Bridge good for plane watching?

  • At the bridge, the planes will fly almost directly at you.  So you can get good frontal shots.  
  • You’ll also be able to photograph from the side as they fly past.  
  • As they pass, you’ll get more shots of the aircraft’s rear as they get closer to the runway.  Unfortunately, a building stops you from getting touchdown photos.  
  • You can, of course, walk over the bridge.    That’s great because if you move, you will get different angles on the planes.
  • The planes pass very close to the bridge.  I exaggerate when I say this, but they are so near you can almost touch them.
  • While on the bridge, look behind you.  If the weather is fine, you’ll see Mount Fuji.
ANA Boeing 777-300 JA784A landing gear down

What lenses are best for plane spotting here?

  1. You can get great photos with all sorts of lenses here. I used my Fujifilm 100-400 mm and was very happy.  
  2. As aircraft pass you very close, even short lenses are very effective.  I took quite a few at 100 mm, and they filled the frame.  It was also possible to zoom in and get details as they flew by.
Japan Airlines Boeing 767 landing gear down

Where is Kyowa Bridge?

It is near Showajima Station, on the Tokyo Monorail.  To the bridge, it’ll be about a 10-minute walk through the industrial area.  Here is a map:


Plane shooting information

(Much of this information comes from Spotterguide.net)

  • The planes land on runway 16R
  • Spotterguide.net states that summer is the best time to shoot here.  I agree with this as the sun will be behind you and will illuminate the aircraft.  By looking at Google SunCalc, winter seems suitable as well.
  • The guide says you can shoot there from 3 pm to 7 pm.  It also mentioned that the morning from 6 am to 11 am is good too.  From my first experience, this seems correct.  But if you go early, you might be photographing into the sun.
Japan Airlines Boeing 737-800

Problems with Kyowa Bridge

  1. There are no convenience stores in the area.  But you will find vending machines on the street.  If you want food, buy it before you get on the monorail.
  2. The path on the bridge is pretty narrow, and it is sloped.  Be careful of bicycles that whizz past you.
  3. There is no cover near Kyowa Bridge, so don’t forget an umbrella in case of rain.  And don’t forget to keep hydrated in summer.  On my first time, I left with a slight heatstroke.
ANA Airbus A321 JA112A

Wrapping up

I used to think Jonanjima Seaside Park was pretty good, even though getting to it was hard.  But Kyowa Bridge is my new favorite place for plane spotting.  Access is easy, and you will be so close to the planes.  It’s an easy place to get good photos.  And on a fine day, the sun will light them perfectly for you.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787 JA868J underside landing gear down

Have you had experience with this bridge near the Showajima Industrial Estate?  If you have, let us know what you think.  It would be great to hear other aeroplane spotters’ experiences.

Sky Airlines Boeing 737-800 JA737Y

For other plane spotting articles, look at:

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