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The Rainbow Bridge ultimate photo guide

Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo is the place for lovers of walking and photography! It joins Shibaura to Odaiba over the bay. Crossing by foot doesn’t take long, but that depends. It depends on how many times you stop to take pictures of the magnificent city skyline!

Rainbow Bridge at sunset

You can walk the pathways on either side of the bridge, but the north is by far the best. It has the most to offer. You can use its observation platforms to get your pictures. From start to end, it is fantastic. I love it.

Tokyo Tower seen from Rainbow Bridge

Sorry to say the south side is very bland. Yes, you can see Odaiba. It has the beachfront and the iconic Fuji Television television building. There is also Tokyo’s main port area and some islands near the bridge, but it’s not overly appealing. Nothing stands out. I rarely walk it.

Back to the north! If you like panoramas, you’ll get something very memorable on a fine day. You might even get a picture of a huge passenger ship passing underneath. They moor at the nearby Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal. Other craft you’ll see on the water are jet skis, ferries, hydrofoils, and workboats.

Make use of its observation decks. There are quite a few at both ends of the bridge. Some have high fences but with gaps in the wire for picture taking. Others are open, so taking photographs is no problem. Be careful with the unfenced ones, because if your cell phone or camera goes over the side, you’ll never see it again!

Rainbow Bridge from east side at sunset

What can you photograph from Rainbow Bridge?

Photography tips

  • Tripods are not allowed, but monopods are.
  • I’d suggest taking both a wide-angle and a long lens. Both will be useful.
  • It isn’t easy to photograph from the middle of the bridge. The walkways are fenced and covered in mesh for apparent reasons. You could try wiggling your camera through gaps, but that might be an exercise in patience.
hydrofoil passing under Rainbow Bridge

Where is Rainbow Bridge Tokyo?

  • The easiest way to get there is to take the Yamanote line to Shinbashi Station. Then, take the Yurikamome to Shibaura-Futou. After that, it is a short five-minute walk.
  • At the bridge, enter the reception area (complete with drink machines and toilets). On the right side is an elevator. Take it up to the lower deck (yes, there is an upper deck, but inaccessible).

Here is a Google Map:

When does it light up?

The lights come on at sundown and go off at midnight.

Sometimes there are special events such as this one.

When is the best time to walk the bridge?

I’d recommend later in the day. When the sun starts to go down, the light will be softer, which is the best time.

Rainbow Bridge main span

How long does the walk across Rainbow Bridge take?

If you don’t stop for photographs, you should finish within thirty minutes.

Admission costs

The bridge is free, but taking the Yurikamome from Shinbashi to Shibaura-Futou is 250 yen.

Public Restrooms

Available, but not on the bridge. They are at either end before you enter the main decks.

Rainbow Bridge opening hours

  • Summer (April to October) from 9 am to 9 pm
  • Winter (November to March) from 10 am to 6 pm
  • The bridge is closed on the third Monday of every month.
Tokyo Skytree seen from Rainbow Bridge

Other photo spots in the area

  • Odaiba Seaside Park

  • Toyosu Gururi Park

Bicycles on Rainbow Bridge

  • Bicycles are allowed on the bridge, but you can’t ride them. You will need to push them. When you arrive at Rainbow Bridge, you`ll see a reception office. There, the staff will take your identification and give you a dolly-like contraption. Attach it to the rear wheel of your bike. After that, simply push it across.
  • When you reach the other side, return the dolly to the office. Bicycle traffic is strictly one-way. If you are going from Shibaura to Odaiba, take the south side. From Odaiba to Shibaura, take the north side.

For more bridge articles, look at:

Wrapping up

So, if you have a spare hour or two, this is an excellent place for a walk. And it is a fantastic place for photographs. And if you have the chance to walk along the Odaiba beach, do it! That will give you another opportunity to get some shots of the bridge in its entirety. I’d suggest doing that at either sunset or night.

The bridge is one of my favorite places for a walk in the city. Hopefully, it will be one of yours too! And who knows, maybe one day, we’ll see you at Rainbow Bridge. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Ferry approaching Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge FAQ

  • Official name: Shuto Expressway No. 11 Daiba Route – Port of Tokyo Connector Bridge
  • When was it built? Construction started in 1987 and finished in 1993
  • Opening date: August 26, 1993
  • Total length: 798 meters
  • Number of spans: 3
  • Tower heights (from sea level): 126 meters
  • Who constructed it? Kawasaki Heavy Industries
  • Are camera tripods allowed on the bridge? No
  • Pedestrian walkways: On both sides of the bridge
  • Does the bridge light up? Yes, it does. Read this webpage for more information.
  • How many lights are on Rainbow Bridge? 520

22 thoughts on “The Rainbow Bridge ultimate photo guide”

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  17. Hi Rohan! Beautiful pictures. I walked over the bridge yesterday and tried getting some night shots. As you wrote there are some good spots to take photos but the bridge ofetn shook as traffic passed which makes long exposures tricky. I recommend taking a towel or something to rest the camera on. I used on old eye pillow. I don’t know much about night photography so probably my exposure times were too short but the night view across the bay is amazing.

    1. Hey Matt, thanks for dropping by and the kind comment 🙂 Yes, that view from the bridge is amazing and I wish I could go there more often. I need to update the article actually, especially in regards to long exposures. Some experimentation is needed I think. Like you said a towel or something can help, but the swaying is a major problem. Were you trying for light trails? Or just for a reasonable exposure?

      1. I was trying for reasonable exposure but tbh was probably too short. The settings that I used were ss 1.0/f 6.3/iso 250 but in hindsight I should have used a slower ss and lower iso. My lens is a kit lens, so not that great. I’ve done some research but I’m still not sure what I’m doing and just try different things until I get a decent result, lol. I was just wondering what settings you use for night shots because your shots always look so good. Cheers.

        1. You shoot a Nikon Z5 with the kit lens, is that right? If your subject is the skyline, you don’t need to worry about DoF, so I’d change the aperture to f4. That’ll get a little more light onto the sensor.

          If you are shooting with the lens at 24mm, then my S/S would be around 1/30 sec. For 50 mm, use 1/50. That should prevent handheld blur, the bridge might sway in any case and ruin everything.

          Put your ISO at the lowest level and then check each pic as you take them. If it looks too dark, raise the ISO. Then repeat as needed. I’m guessing you’ll end up with it at 1000 or 1600 if the sky is fairly dark.

          Another idea would be to shoot in the 30 minutes after sunset, the sky should be relatively bright and hopefully, the city lights should be starting to come on.

          Hopefully, this helps. Good luck with your next shoot there!

  18. Yes, Z5 with a 24-200 lens. Not the best but handy. I can get down to f4 if zoom out but I might need to invest in a faster lens. Thanks very much for the advice, Rohan. Much appreciated!

    1. I thought the Z5 kit lens was 24-50. 24-200 is huge! Sometimes I wish I had a Nikon or Canon (only sometimes though). Your choice of lenses is great. By the way, do you use Lightroom or any apps for processing your pics? That could help out somewhat with the exposure.

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