Kachidoki Bridge: seeing beauty through long exposures

Sumida River light trails
Yakatabune light trails on the Sumida River near Kachidoki Bridge.

Kachidoki Bridge on the Sumida River is amazing. It is also the last or one of the last drawbridges in Tokyo. There is so much history to it.  But I love photographing it when it lights up at night. Long exposures make it so beautiful!

There is much to photograph there. But I need to get reacquainted with it. When I last photographed there, it was pre-pandemic.  At that time, many yakatabune made their way up and down the river. They seem to be fewer in number now. The next time I go, I’ll keep this in mind and stay longer to get more of them.

Why photograph Kachidoki Bridge?

  • The bridge is beautiful when it lights up at night
  • Yakatabune (dinner boats) are great for light trails
  • It’s possible to capture Tokyo Tower in the background.

Notes on camera positions

They are numbered 1, 2, and 3 on the map.

  1. This position is on a bank close to the bridge.  You can get the Yakatabune as they pass under the bridge
  2. From this spot, you can see Tokyo Tower in the background.
  3. This looks down the river, so you can capture the long light trails of the Yakatabune.
Kachidoki bridge on Sumida River and Tokyo Tower
Kaichidoki Bridge with Tokyo Tower in the background.

Did I use multiple images for these photos?

Yes, two of these images were made from as many as seven photos.

Notes on processing:

I made basic edits in Lightroom, then used Photoshop to stack the photos into one.  After that, I transferred it back to make more minor changes.

Where is Kachidoki Bridge?

It is on the Sumida River, near Hama Rikyu Garden.  

 

The address for map applications is: Tsukiji 6 Chome, Chuo City, Tokyo (this will put you next to the bridge, not on it)

 

Click here to see it on Google Maps.

The nearest subway stations are:  

  • Kachidoki – Oedo Line
  • Tsukiji – Hibiya Line
  • Tsukikishijo – Oedo Line
  • Tsukishima – Oedo and Yurakucho Lines

Notes on lenses

I used the Fujifilm 10-24 mm and the Fujifilm 16-55 mm. They performed well.  But, when photographing Tokyo Tower behind Kachidoki Bridge, I was wishing I had taken my 55-200 mm too!

Area notes

  • For some of these photos, if you decide to shoot there, you’ll be shooting next to or over the Sumida River.  Don’t drop anything unless you want to go for a swim!
  • There is a fenced area on the west bank.  I’m unsure when it’ll be gone.  Currently, it’s difficult to place a camera near the bridge.
  • The bridge is no longer a drawbridge. Its spans haven’t been raised since the 1970s.
Kachidoki bridge Sumida River light trails

Wrapping up

I need to go to Kachidoki Bridge again. Next time, I want to get my camera closer to the bridge instead of the construction pushing it away. There is another reason.

Composite photos would look stunning. What I’d like to do is arrive around sunset to get properly exposed photos of the surrounding buildings.  Then a short time later, take long exposures of the yakatabune. Hopefully, there will be more of the boats too! That is my plan for a future article.

For more bridge articles, look at:

External articles about Kachidoki Bridge Long Exposure photography

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