Months ago now I ventured out on a slow work day to meet fellow haikyoist and photographer Adrian Tan. He had the low-down on a haikyo in central Tokyo, something fairly unusual to stumble across, and rarely worth going to once you do- as city center ruins are all very much alike, and very much alarmed and guarded. Standouts like the New Sky Biru (also a tip-off from Adrian!) are the exception rather than the rule. But when he suggested going to shoot a haikyo bridge, my curiosity was definitely piqued.
Haikyo bridge, Toyosu. Not HDR.
The thing I learned about a haikyo bridge, especially when there’s a newer modern bridge running right alongside it, is that there’s very little to explore. You can already see everything. but that’s not to say the trip was a waste, not at all. Just because there’s nothing to explore doesn’t mean there’s nothing to experience. I had never before walked over a rail-road bridge, every break in the thick old wooden spars a view down to the lapping harbor waters 50 feet below. I’m not someone usually worried by heights, but around the middle of the bridge, striding along each step from spar to spar, I began to worry about falling.
My leg would slip. My whole body would lurch, my thigh crash against the spar I’d aimed at, my camera tumble from my hand, and if I was particularly unlucky, my other leg would snag against nothing and I’d get sucked down the gap, batted against the rusted under-bridge structures, and dumped unconscious into the bay.
Probably I’d yelp something like- “Aarrghllg!” on the way down.
Adrian would see me, finish taking his three-bracket RAW HDR, then run over to stand over the gap and watch me sink.
“Um..” he’d say, looking to either side, not sure what to do. He might stand there for a while, but I doubt he’d want to dive in and get his camera wet. Probably he’d steal a look to either side, make sure he wasn’t seen, then sort of just sneak away.
That’s the kind of risk you run when you go haikyoing on bridges. It’s like the CIA. “Don’t expect us to even acknowledge you ever were an agent, if you’re caught behind enemy lines. Don’t expect us to save you.”
Happily though I didn’t fall, and neither did Adrian. Some people eyed us funnily from the legitimate bridge running alongside us, but happily no officials of police. It was a great shooting session. and produced some awesome contrast shots of old bridge cut across new city.
Sweep across the bay.
From the second bridge.
Toyosu is a brand-new kind of area in Tokyo Bay, all man-made land-fill land coated with big expensive high-rise apartments, shopping malls, cinemas, and other up flashy new developments. This bridge is a hang-over from the days this part of the Bay was more of a working industrial harbor, trains laden down with cement and coal rattling back and forth at all hours. There are still some factories, as you can see in the pictures, but they’re banished to the off-islands, canals away from the prime real estate.
Stairs to a small observation platform, rusted away.
Stand on this? Not me.
I love the buildings sprouting at the end. Not HDR either.
And here, a tree!
Here you can see the new bridge. Doesn’t have one eighth of the character of this bridge.
Seamy wood and rusted rails.
Just a quick disclaimer- didn’t mean to malign Adrian’s character or anything of the sort, by suggesting he wouldn’t rescue me if I fell and would just standing around toeing the ground, maybe checking the settings on his camera every now and then. I’m sure he would rescue me. I was just having fun writing the story.
You can see all my haikyo explorations in the Ruins/Haikyo Gallery.