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!
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.
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!
What can you photograph from Rainbow Bridge?
- City skyscrapers
- Ferries and other vessels
- Harumi Passenger Ship Terminal
- Odaiba beachfront
- City skyline
- Tokyo Skytree
- Tokyo Tower
- 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.
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.
How long does the walk across Rainbow Bridge take?
If you don’t stop for photographs, you should finish within thirty minutes.
The bridge is free, but taking the Yurikamome from Shinbashi to Shibaura-Futou is 250 yen.
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.
Other photo spots in the area
- Odaiba Seaside Park
- Tokyo Big Sight (conference and convention center)
- 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:
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.
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