I woked up early in the morning and as an avid and slighty crazy bicycle rider I decided to go for a spin on my borrowed bike. I wish I had my Trek 29er around but unfortunately it was quite complicated to travel with and to store at my current apartment, so it was time to use her 12′ inches wheeled foldable Hummer.
I am based at Harajuku district so I decided to ride to the east to Odaiba, which its a large artificial Island in Tokyo Bay. It was originally built for military defensive purposes in the late 1850s but it massively developed and expanded on the late 20th century. First as a seaport district and since the end of the 80s as leisure and residential area.
The Odaiba island its connected to Shibaura Pier by the Rainbow Bridge. Its a 800 meter long suspension bridge for cars, trains and pedestrians. Its officially called Tokyo Wan Renraku-kyo (Tokyo Bay Connector Bridge)
The bridge has amazing views of Tokyo’s waterfront area. It has two walkways and its open to the public for free. However it’s not open 24 hours it has different timetables depending on the season and also wind conditions. The walkway distance between Shibaura and Odaiba by walk is 1.8 Km. and can be covered in 20-30 min.
The Rainbow bridge can also be crossed with a bicycle using the side walkways but its not possible to ride it. In order to cross the bridge its strictly mandatory to push your bike across. The whole walkaway its equipped with cameras and loudspeakers so do not even hesitate to ride your bike or you will be warned by the bridge guards.
Bicycles in Tokyo
Cycling in Tokyo its not a smoothest experience at all. You will either share the road with its crazy motorised traffic or the crowded sidewalks. It’s quite shocking the fact that in one of the most modern and advanced cities on earth there are almost no dedicated bike lanes. After living in Sweden and Barcelona and enjoying its incredibly advanced bicycle lanes infrastructure bike riding experience in Japan was a big turn down as compared to countries like Sweden its much more difficult and dangerous. I’ve also noticed lots of people use bikes so I believe the Japanese Authorities should immediately do something about it and start creating the necessary infrastructures for biking. In the end, who wants a city packed with contaminating cars creating shit loads of pollution? Well seems like the Japanese government do like such a thing, otherwise they would acted accordingly a long time ago investing on a proper bike riding infrastructure as many other cities in the world have done a long time ago.
Cycling to the rainbow bridge from Harajuku
After exiting Harajuku area I turned left on Gaiemmae Subway Station, cycle through the intense traffic on Aoyama Dori Avenue and then turned right on an even more busy avenue called Gaien Higashi Dori which becames Tokyo Tower Street after crossing Sakurada Dori. Turn right towards South after Tokyo tower, bordering south west of Shiba Park and then continue towards the south leaving Aiiku Hospital on my left hand side. Crossed 2 more bridges over the water channels and I arrived at the Shibaura’s entrance point of the Rainbow bridge.
Once here before entering the building that takes you to the walkaway, one of the bridge operators clamped my bike’s rear wheel with a sort of wheeled wood device and told me in Japanglish not to ride but to push the bike across the bridge.
After entering the access building I just followed the arrows on the floor, took an elevator and I was on the bridge’s walkaway.
When walking you’re warned before entering that turning back or ride the bike it’s forbidden, however you can stop at the pillars viewing points to enjoy the view of Tokyo’s waterfront and Daiba area.
On the Shibaura – Daiba walkway if you look right you will have a beautiful scenery view of Shinagawa area. If you look to the right you will see two small island called Dai-San Daiba (第三台場) or “Cannon Battery” and the Dai-Roku Daiba (第六台場) or “Cannon Battery No. 6. They are part of a series of six islands fortresses constructed in 1853 by Egawa Hidetatsu for the Tokugawa Shogunate to protect Edo from an attack coming from the sea. The No. 3 was refurbished and turned into a public park known as the Metropolitan Daiba Park.
After crossing the bridge another operator will help you to remove the wheeled wood clamp from the bike and you will be at Odaiba Island.
On the bridge exit you will see the Daiba park on the right hand side and following the road taking the first diversion to the right you will see the Odaiba Seaside Park which helds the Odaiba Statue of Liberty, a downsized version of the original one.
Close to the Statue of liberty you can find many other attractions in Odaiba such as:
- Fuji TV building
- Diver City
- Palette Town
- Odaiba Aquarium
- Gundam Cafe and Statue
To get back to Shibaura (Tokyo city center) you will just need to enter the bridge on the Daiba entrance and follow the same bike clamping procedure. On the way back to Shibaura you will get again great views, in this case of Koto and Minato waterfront.
Crossing the rainbow bridge either walking or by pushing your bike its a wonderful experience that wont dissapoint you and I strongly recommend to do either by bike or walking if you have the chance to visit Tokyo.
Points of interest and route
Rainbow bridge http://4sq.com/5ojxJ0