© Grigoris A. Miliaresis

In our days, if you put the word “bridge” next to the word “Tokyo” the listener will immediately think of the “Rainbow Bridge” (or “Rehnboo Briji” in Japanese), a suspended and imaginatively illuminated technological miracle that crosses the Tokyo Bay at its northern part, joining Minato municipality’s Shibaura area with the artificial island Odaiba, once a fortress for Edo and today one of the most popular tourist attractions. But in a city filled with rivers of various lengths and sizes it is unavoidable to have countless more bridges; sometimes big enough to accommodate three car lanes and a railway track and sometimes small enough to miss unless you get right to their entrance.

Starting with Nihon-bashi, the eternal point zero for all distance measurements in Japan and old time center of Edo which for the last fifty years has been shadowed by an elevated expressway, dozens of bridges connect the two banks of the rivers Sumida, Kanda, Arakawa, Tama, Edo and Shakuji; the cruises in the Sumida River pass under 12 of them, starting from the crimson red Azuma-bashi in Asakusa and ending at the Tsukiji fish-market and the grey Kachidoki-bashi once a bascule bridge that opened so the boats  passing under it could exit the bay and enter the Pacific. And these are only a few of the almost 500 bridges that existed up until the early 20th century, when the Meiji emperor’s fast track to modernity closed many of the channels they bridged so streets where the new four-wheel vehicles coming from the East (that is, from the West) and the future could run.

The course of the emperor who, like a bridge himself joined the 19th to the 20th century and the kimono with the crinolines is continuing until today; and this course passes over Tokyo’s bridges. Their wooden beams have been replaced with steel ones and the open-air bazaars at their banks have been replaced with concrete lanes which at night frequently play host to clochards, couples or groups of friends who eat, drink, smoke and talk but the bridges themselves still remain radiating an air of romanticism and old times, especially when the sky is cloudy. The bridges of Tokyo connect more than the banks of the city’s watery arteries: they bridge the ages that have passed over it.

Grigoris A. Miliaresis is a journalist and translator. He has worked for many newspapers, magazines and publishing houses and specializes in the Internet, the martial arts and Japan where he has been living for the last few years. 


Γρηγόρης Μηλιαρέσης
Γρηγόρης Μηλιαρέσης
Δημοσιογράφος και μεταφραστής. Έχει συνεργαστεί με πλειάδα εφημερίδων, περιοδικών (τόσο του γενικού όσο και του ειδικού τύπου) και εκδοτικών οίκων και με ειδίκευση στο Ίντερνετ, τις πολεμικές τέχνες και την Ιαπωνία όπου και ζει τα τελευταία χρόνια. Από το 2012 μέχρι το 2016 έγραφε την εβδομαδιαία στήλη στο "Γράμματα από έναν αιωρούμενο κόσμο" και το 2020 κυκλοφόρησε το ομότιτλο βιβλίο του. Περισσότερα στη συνέντευξη που είχε δώσει στο

Η αναδημοσίευση περιεχομένου του (φωτογραφιών, κειμένου, γραφικών) δεν επιτρέπεται χωρίς την εκ των προτέρων έγγραφη άδεια του


Spring dolls

At the top are the Emperor and the Empress. On the next lower tier, there are three ladies-in-waiting holding utensils for the serving of...

Summer nights

Although, at least according to some sources, they are related the casual (and the not so casual) observer will have a hard time finding...

Pedestrian gifts

Every year, in the beginning of June and November and with the almost military precision characterizing repeating occurrences in Japan, appear in big department...


I fell in love with the Japanese folk festivals/fairs (matsuri) as soon as I saw my first one. First of all it’s the colors...

In a nutshell: hell

The first time I came to Japan, I made one of the mistakes that are typical for people who travel without considering themselves “tourists”:...

Voices from another time

They are usually found parked in front of Shinjuku station’s western exit, across the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kasumigaseki or around the Yasukuni...


Like the manga about which I wrote a while back sake –as is its international name since the word used in Japan is “nihonshu”/日本酒...

A rendezvous of the stars

We know them as Vega and Altair, two of the brightest stars in our skies but the Japanese call them Orihime (織姫, “weaver princess”)...