To capture a panoramic view of Odaiba Bay, Rainbow Bridge, and Tokyo's skyline, shooting from a hight point is a must. The Fuji TV Building Observation Deck is the place to visit for this view. The second spot will take you up-close to Rainbow Bridge, shooting from one of those small islands in the bay!
Odaiba is a man-made island in Tokyo Bay connected by the Yurikamome Line, Rinkai Line, and by boat. You can even walk across Rainbow Bridge. In my opinion, the best way to get to Odaiba is by taking the Yurikamome Line from Shimbashi or Shiodome stations.
The Yurikamome Line is an automated, elevated train that crosses Rainbow Bridge offering stunning views along the way. The ride from Shimbashi Station to Daiba Station departs every 5 minutes, and only takes 19
minutes at a cost of 320 yen. Shiodome Station is convenient if you are coming from Shinjuku. Take Oedo Line from Shinjuku to Shiodome Station and transfer there.
Yurikamome Line in Google Maps
Fuji TV Building
After enjoying elevated views and crossing Rainbow Bridge, get off at Daiba Station (second stop after crossing the bridge). Look for the yellow sign and take the SOUTH EXIT for Fuji TV. From here it's just a three-minute walk.
Where To Enter Fuji TV
By now, the Fuji TV Building should be right in front you. To get to the ticket booth, you have a couple of options with escalators.
You can take either - they'll both lead you to the same place.
When you get to the top of the escalator, look for this ticket booth, buy your ticket and take the special elevator to the big sphere ("Hachitama" Spherical Observation Room).
Inside Hachitama Sphere
Inside the sphere, you can see fantastic views of Tokyo and even Mt. Fuji on clear days. It's a huge, open space with floor-to-ceiling windows. There is plenty of room to set up camera gear, and yes, tripods can be used here, so please take advantage of it! It's essential for capturing light trails on the bay (as in the photo below).
For this photo, I used my 24-120 mm lens set to 38 mm on
a full frame (Nikon D810) camera. For me, I found that using my wide angle 14-24 mm lens was just too wide, and I lost a lot of impact with shot.
For more light trail locations, check the following post
Because this photo was taken inside in an observation deck, there is no need for a big, heavy tripod. No wind or vibrations to worry about, so bring something small but stable enough to support your camera and lens.
Set up for Fuji TV photo was:
Best Shooting Conditions For Fuji TV
For this kind of shot, I think it's a bit of a waste to go on an overcast day. Clear conditions, or a few clouds, can really make the shot. Best time of the year is definitely winter, which means December to February. Also, sunset is early at this time of year (4:30 pm at the earliest). This is vital because the observation deck closes at 6 pm. Forget about night shots here in the summer.
I use Photoshop for post-processing and generally make a composite using various blending techniques. I like to choose perhaps four photos and take the best detail from each to create a final image.
Recently, I've been using my 120-400 mm lens to capture Rainbow Bridge with Tokyo's skyscrapers "compressed" behind it. There are so many good spots and angles to shoot from inside the observation deck.
At A Glance:
Location: Fuji TV, Odaiba
Station: Yurikamome Line: Shimbashi → Daiba (approx. 3 min. walk), Rinkai Line: Shin-Kiba → Tokyo Teleport (approx. 5 min. walk)
Ease of Access: Easy
Admission: Adults 550 yen, Elementary/middle school pupils 300 yen
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm everyday except Mondays (if Monday falls on a holiday, following Tuesday will be closed)
Views: Panoramic views of Odaiba, Tokyo Bay and Tokyo
Tip: Winter is best for night photos as the observation deck closes at 6 pm
Photographing Rainbow Bridge
In my opinion, Rainbow Bridge at night is one of the best views in Tokyo. It looks great anytime, but when the lights come on, with the buildings of Tokyo twinkling in the background, it's a scene you won't soon forget.
So, where is it and how do you get there?
To take this photo, you have to make your way to one of those small islands near the bridge. It's relatively easy to get to, but it does involve a little walking. Here are a few photos of what you can expect to see along the way.
The nearest station is Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station, the first stop after crossing Rainbow Bridge. Basically, get off and make your way to Odaiba Beach. There is a boardwalk you can follow towards the bridge. Follow the path until you eventually get to Daiba Park. It's about a 15-minute walk from the station.
It can be very windy at this point of the island, so I like to take my bigger, heavy tripod to help reduce the chance of vibration. Another thing I do is keep my tripod as low as possible, to further reduce vibrations caused by wind. Also, make sure to remove or wrap up your camera strap so it doesn't blow around, eliminating another possible vibration threat.
For this Rainbow Bridge photo, I used my 24-120 mm lens set to 50 mm.
Set up for for the above photo was:
Best Shooting Conditions For Fuji TV
From this location, any clear day is good, but I prefer Saturdays because Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge are often lit up in special colors.
Take a flashlight or have a flashlight app ready to use. After sunset, it gets dark pretty quickly and Daiba Park doesn't have any lighting. The path on the island is very uneven, so it can be easy to trip in the dark. Once you get back to the beach, there are lights.
At A Glance:
Location: Daiba Park, Odaiba
Station: Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station (Yurikamome Line) and a 15-minute walk
Ease of Access: Modorate, 15-minute walk, uneven terrain
Views: Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo
Tip: Bring a flashlight
Shooting from Fuji TV's sphere (Hatta Temple Observation Deck) is amazing because the view of Tokyo Bay and Tokyo skyline put the true size of the Tokyo metropolis into perspective. Night viewing is for winter months only, but it's an impressive view any time.
Rainbow bridge and Tokyo Tower
You can also capture two of Tokyo's iconic landmarks together from one location (Tokyo Tower is visible under Rainbow Bridge). If you are lucky enough to visit when Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower are lit up in special colors, you will walk away with a truly spectacular shot!
If you are interested in seeing other twilight and blue hour photos of Tokyo, please feel free to visit my Flickr feed.