Kyowa Bridge is great for Haneda plane spotting

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.

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 at about 4:30 pm and finished around 6:30.

Why is Kyowa Bridge good for plane-watching?

  • At the bridge, the planes fly almost directly at you. 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.

What lenses are best for plane spotting here?

  • You can get great photos with all sorts of lenses here. I used my Fujifilm 100-400 mm and was very happy.  
  • 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.

Where is Kyowa Bridge?

It is near Tokyo Monorail’s Showajima Station. To the bridge, it’s about a 10-minute walk through an industrial area. See it here on Google Maps.

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.

Problems with this area

  • 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. The path on the bridge is pretty narrow, and it is sloped. Be careful of bicycles that whizz past you.
  • There is no cover near Kyowa Bridge, so don’t forget an umbrella in case of rain. And keep hydrated in summer. On my first time, I left with slight heatstroke.

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.

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

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