Do you really know about Tokyo Gate Bridge?

My partner who is usually seated on the front passenger seat of my car was aware that a new bridge was being constructed over Tokyo Bay about five years ago, while I was concentrating on driving on Rainbow Bridge. But we couldn’t even imagine where it was as Rainbow bridge was already at the very edge of Tokyo. I remember so clearly that I was full of doubt in my mind, “Why on earth are they building another bridge?? Who will use it?? What for???”

Rainbow Bridge is a bridge constructed over Tokyo Bay in 1993 between Shibaura Pier and the O-Daiba waterfront.

Rainbow Bridge at night photo by Luke Ma (CC BY 2.0)


"Tokyo odaiba" by Cors -  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tokyo_odaiba.jpg#mediaviewer/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:Tokyo_odaiba.jpg
“Tokyo odaiba” by Cors – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -


It is very convenient when we go to the west side of Tokyo from the east by car since it enables us to avoid the traffic jam in the central Tokyo.



However, if many people consider it convenient, a traffic jam arises as a result of sheer volume of traffic. In fact, it sometimes takes nearly one hour to cross the whole bridge. The traffic jam is terrible in the early morning and in the evening. It is terrible also on weekends.

So, I can understand the necessity of an alternative route. But I was not so happy thinking about a bloated budget used for Tokyo….



Last night, when we were near Tokyo Disneyland, I mean in Chiba, an idea popped up in our mind.

Why don’t we go and look for the new bridge? We didn’t know when the construction was completed but recently we saw a beautiful bridge illuminated in white from Rainbow Bridge.


Photo by Zengame (CC BY 2.0)
Photo by Zengame (CC BY 2.0)


The problem was that my car and the navigation system was older than the new bridge and I’m not so punctilious to update it. Anyway, we looked up the map and estimated the place. We went to Kiba area where there are many warehouses near the bay. Our guess was right and we found the way which leads to the new bridge and we also found that its name was Tokyo Gate Bridge.


Photo by TAKA@P.P.R.S
Photo by TAKA@P.P.R.S (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Here are the very beautiful photos of Tokyo Gate Bridge that I found on flickr.com. I’m so sure that you like them and they are inviting!


Photo by Daisuke tashiro (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo by Daisuke tashiro (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo by Kumawo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Photo by Kumawo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Photo by Donky_Tramp (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Photo by Donky_Tramp (CC BY-NC 2.0)



You may have noticed that Tokyo Gate Bridge is constructed over the ocean connected to an undersea tunnel like Aqua Line. We didn’t know but the construction was started in 2002 and completed in 2011. The opening was in February 2012 with a delay of six months. This new bridge, twice as long as Rainbow Bridge and Bay Bridge of Yokohama, was built in 10 years. I don’t know if ten years are long or short but the fact is that I was a dope not to have realized it, or I was too busy with my own business… What a shame!

It was designed to be high enough to allow large ships to pass underneath, and low enough not to interfere with air traffic to the nearby Haneda Airport. It is a double cantilever bridge and the truss sections from either side were completed in balance, and then joined by addition of the relatively short central span…

Here are some very interesting photos of the bridge under construction;


Photo taken in 2009 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Photo taken in 2009 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Photo taken in March 2009 by
Photo taken in March 2009 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Photo taken in March 2009 by
Photo taken in March 2009 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Photo taken in January 2010 by
Photo taken in January 2010 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Photo taken in October 2010 by
Photo taken in October 2010 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Photo taken in January 2011 by
Photo taken in January 2011 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Photo taken in January 2011 by
Photo taken in January 2011 by ykanazawa1999 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Photo taken in February 2011 by
Photo taken in February 2011 by Hideya HAMANO (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Besides the technology of construction, I was very amazed by the beauty of the illumination designed by Ms Motoko Ishii, one of the Japan’s leading lightening designers, who worked also for Tokyo Tower.

I love the beauty of the nature. But, at the same time, I love the beauty of the artificial creation. Even though Japan has been facing harsh natural environments, the construction has never been stopped. It could be a challenge to fight against difficulties to prove that we have courageous enough. In fact, this bridge was survived the big earthquake on March 11, 2011. It was constructed to be durable for 100 years with a proper earthquake resistant structure. Unfortunately, I will not be able to see how it will be. Please leave a comment on how it is if my blog still exists in 2112.



にほんブログ村 歴史ブログ 日本の伝統・文化へ
にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 英語の日記(和英併記)へ

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  1. Hilary より:

    This is really interesting! I enjoyed the pics you found and the structure of the bridge is beautiful and functional. I had no idea this bridge existed. We’ll have to try and find it the next time we’re in Japan!

    • rei_saionji より:

      Oh, you didn’t know the existence of this magnificent bridge either?? I guess many people still don’t know about it… As the opening was in 2011 when we didn’t want to know about any new construction, I think not so many people talked about it even on TV…. On your next journey to Tokyo, I strongly advise you to have a splendid night drive to this bridge!

  2. Hilary より:

    Ahhh… yes, 2011. That makes sense that it wouldn’t have had much coverage. But yes! I’d love to see it. I think it would make a great place for some cool photography!


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