If you’re a newcomer to Tokyo and you’ve taken the bus from Narita Airport, it’s likely that one of your first impressions of Tokyo was the glittering view of skyscrapers glimpsed while crossing the iconic Rainbow Bridge. While the bridge carries plenty of road traffic and the Yurikamome Line (mentioned in our article on getting the best views of Tokyo), it’s also a pedestrian bridge with pathways (officially the ‘Rainbow Promenade’) on both the north and south sides of the bridge.
Crossing the bridge on foot takes about 25 minutes and is free. You can also take your bicycle over the bridge, but you have to walk it over—they’ll even give you a trolley to stop you from cheating! The only other restriction is pets, so leave Shiro at home.
To walk the bridge, you need to take an elevator up to the bridge span from the Shibaura side pier. The closest station is Shibaura-futō on the Yurikamome Line which connects with JR lines and the Tokyo Metro at Shinbashi Station.
On entering the visitor center, the first decision you have to make is whether to take the north or the south route – there are separate elevators for each. The north route will give you views of Tokyo Tower, the skyscrapers around Roppongi and Toranomon, the Shiodome area and Toyosu. The south route affords views of Odaiba including the adjacent islands as well as the Shinagawa area.
The views from both sides are impressive, so if you’re after some nice photos consider the lighting. Odaiba looks amazing at dusk, so you could take the south route just before sunset and then get those city lights from the north route on your return journey.
The bridge is an easy walk, but consider you’ll have cars and trucks rumbling past right next to the walkway, so if you’re sensitive to some exhaust fumes you might want to give the walk a miss.
Rainbow Bridge hours of operation
- Summer (April to October): 9am to 9pm
- Winter (November to March): 10am to 6pm
Note: When there are strong winds, the walkways may be closed. The walkways are also routinely closed on the third Monday of the month.