Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge

Today I explored grounds in Tokyo that didn't exist a century ago. I walked through Wakasu, Shin-kiba and Yumenoshima, which are among the several small islands around the Tokyo Bay area that were formed by land reclamation in recent history.

My day started at the Gate Bridge, which was newly opened to traffic in February this year. The bridge is part of the Tokyo Port Seaside Road that connects Wakasu to Jonanjima, allowing traffic the option of bypassing central Tokyo to get between its east and south. The bridge is also nicknamed "Dinosaur Bridge", because it pretty much resembles two T-Rexes facing each other.

There was a healthy crowd here today. I saw many excited faces, which reflected my feelings about crossing the Gate Bridge for the first time.

Many people fishing at the jetty below the bridge
Happy visitors
A motorcyclist smiles as I walk by
Planes fly by every five minutes, making their way to the nearby Haneda Airport
View of the Skytree from the bridge
View of Tokyo Tower from the bridge
More happy visitors
The Gate Bridge viewed from Wakasu

Only the Wakasu end of the bridge is open to pedestrians, so after crossing it, I returned to where I had started and walked towards Wakasu Park. This is where people enjoy camping. I read a sign saying that you could camp here for a maximum of three nights in a row for three hundred yen per day, so for tourists on a tight budget, here's an option.

There was a jovial atmosphere: the laughter of the people having a good time, the cyclists along the cycling tracks, the smell of burning charcoal from the barbecue pits, and a soccer ball that rolled to my feet.

Windmill and soccer ball
Directors' meeting
Camping site
Makes me hungry
Playground and open space

Upon further exploration, I found out that the west of Wakasu is mainly industrial and has many lumber yards, just like Shin-kiba, which lies just north of the canal separating the two pieces of land. The area's geographical location - being close to central Tokyo and situated along the sea - makes it suitable as a lumber distribution center.

Shin-kiba literally means "new place to store wood", a fitting name for where Tokyo's main lumber yards are concentrated. The original "place to store wood", Kiba, is these days shielded from the sea with the emergence of reclaimed land, and thus no longer functions as a lumber yard.

Lumber yard at Shin-kiba
Salinity of the seawater prevents insects from latching onto the wood
Wood-related establishments in the area such as this paper trading company
Cute tree symbol

I walked around Shin-kiba and saw many other interesting things. One that caught my eye was the number of trucks that parked by the roads, bearing number plates from locations all over Japan, even as far as Kyushu. They were probably waiting for their batch of wood to be loaded onto their trucks, before heading home. The trucks all had drawn curtains hiding the front seats: I'd imagine behind those curtains were drivers taking naps after long journeys.

Besides wood-related industries, there were several recycling and concrete factories as well.

Trucks from all over Japan
Bottle recycling factory
Concrete factory and trucks
Typical driver resting position

As I walked on towards Yumenoshima, I passed by this club which, judging by the number of people queuing at its doors, should have had a very successful event:

Studio Coast

When I first heard of Yumenoshima, images of paradise appeared in my head as the name means "Dream Island". Then I gained knowledge that it was a waste landfill in the past, only converted into an island in the 1960s. And so you could probably understand why it felt like shattered dreams when I first heard it being associated with garbage. But no, these days Yumenoshima is closer to being a paradise than a dump: here there are parks, sport facilities and waterfront promenades.

Energy generated from incineration plants at the island are used to supply heat to the green house of the Yumenoshima Tropical Plant Garden during colder months. The garden features a large greenhouse showcasing various tropical plants.

I also visited the exhibition house of the Daigo Fukuryu-maru, a wooden fishing boat which was damaged by a hydrogen bomb test which took place on the Bikini Atoll in 1954. The exhibition house is dedicated to informing the public of the dangers of atomic hydrogen bombs, with the hope that no such tests would ever be carried out again.

Yumenoshima Tropical Plant Garden
This plant is called Lobster Claw
Star fruit tree
Octopus trees
Daigo Fukuryu-maru
Daigo Fukuryu-maru

After an enjoyable day's walk, I finished at the Yumenoshima Marina, where there were many yachts parked. People come here to take their yacht steering lessons and examinations. Just when a famished stomach growled to remind that it was time for late lunch, a waterfront restaurant appeared right before my eyes; it was time to let my stomach do the walking.

Yumenoshima Marina
Lunchtime

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs