Who would have thought there was a haikyo (廃虚, ruins) right in my neighbourhood? Located among the sea of tower mansions and sparkling new development sits Harumi Bridge, a rusted old relic of bygone days.
But it seems Harumi Bridge may not be a haikyo for long. Tokyo’s port authority has already started to transform it into a scenic pedestrian walkway. Renovation work commenced on the bridge in February 2021 to add anti-earthquake reinforcements, with the entire makeover to be completed by fiscal 2025. So if you want to glimpse it in its original glory, do so before its too late.
Brief history of Harumi Bridge
Completed in November 1957, Harumi Bridge once served as a dedicated freight train line for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s port authority. It was built to cross the Harumi canal as a branch of the Fukugawa line, which connected the current Etchujima cargo station and Toyosu coal wharf.
Just a decade later, however, demand for logistic services combining marine and freight transportation began to decline sharply with the growing ubiquity of motor vehicles.
In 1989, Harumi Bridge was put out of service with the discontinuation of the Harumi line. While most of sites where the line used to sit have been redeveloped, Harumi Bridge is one of the rare sections that remain fully intact.
And so for the past 30+ years, it has quietly watched over the development of the waterfront Harumi district, unbeknownst the average Tokyoite.
Harumi Bridge today
The old, rusted railway bridge squats next to a newer vehicle and pedestrian bridge also known as Harumi Bridge. Its brownness definitely stands out among the shiny new skyscrapers and blueness of the canal waters.
Renovation work is ongoing, so the bridge is currently accompanied by an assortment of cranes, barges and other construction equipment. At times, you can also see people working on the bridge.
Given that the bridge is right smack in the middle of modern development in Tokyo’s bay area, and surrounded by people, it doesn’t have any sort of creepy vibes. It is also extremely easy to access. Harumi Bridge is a haikyo in the sense that it had fallen into disuse and was left abandoned for decades.
But perhaps because of its prime location, unlike many other haikyo it will soon be given new life.
Getting to Harumi Bridge
Harumi Bridge is a 10-minute walk from Tsukishima Station on the Toei Oedo and Tokyo Metro Yurakucho lines. Take Exit 1. It can also be reached from the other side from Toyosu Station in around the same time.
Check out the archives for more articles about haikyo sites around Tokyo.