Walking the Rainbow Bridge

January 8, 2007 · Print This Article

Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan — Today was the last day of my 11-day vacation, and when I woke up I had no specific plans in particular, just some very tentative ones. So as usual by noontime I found myself with no plans, but a strong desire not to waste my final day of vacation and to get outside. I initially thought I’d go somewhere I’ve already been, maybe Hibiya Park, but I happened on to the fact that one can walk across the Rainbow Bridge and instantly knew that’s what I wanted to do, as it is one of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks and I’ve only ever seen it from a distance. It’s also in Odaiba, another famous area I’ve never been too, so I was pretty stoked.

After a Yamanote line journey, I took the Yurikamome line for the first time, a small train, only about 4 cars that weaves freely through a myriad of skyscrapers and office buildings, a most scenic journey. Getting off at the foot of the north side of the Rainbow Bridge, I easily found an access point. … This place seemed hardly open, devoid of people save for one mean leaning over himself on a bench. … I don’t know why, but it felt like I was sneaking onto the bridge, like I wasn’t supposed to. I always expect to have to get permission from someone or at least past some ticket window or gate, but here it was an empty building full of stuff I could have easily liberated. I took an elevator 7 floors up to the protected walkway that runs parallel to both the street for cars and in the center of both streets the tracks for the Yurikamome train that I had just hopped off of.

…The walkway for people was quite nice, although most of the time cars fly at you head-on, on your left if you take the south-side walkway as I did. However, there were a couple of points protected from the street that arch out and are relatively peaceful. I lingered at one taking photos and thinking to myself, “it’s a damn fine winter day.”

…I spent a good 45 minutes walking the length of the bridge including pauses to take in the great views in the northwest and southwest directions. … From this high point I scouted the path I wanted to take once back on the ground, which would lead me along a “beach” waterfront area ending at a deserted expanse of park and very wide sidewalk.

I realized that even after more than 3.5 years living in Tokyo, there are still plenty of great places I’ve yet to visit. I spent the whole afternoon in silence taking in views both high and low purposefully walking to where I felt offered the most solace on my last day of winter vacation, a day well spent.

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