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Do As Tokyo Does Ukishima Factory Walk
(Entered May. 10, 2010)
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Surprisingly, the idea to go out and walk around Kawasaki's industrial section came from Kumi, not me, although I was quick to agree with her suggestion. 'Factory Tours' as they're called, are becoming more and more popular with the masses. There are now Hatobus (tour bus company) tours that take interested tourists around the area, as well as boat tours which nagivate the network of ocean-connected canals that surround the numerous factory islands.

ukishima factory walk

Kumi and I opted to do neither, and just headed out there ourselves to walk around. I'd recommend you do the same unless you don't mind spending thousands of yen or more for the privilege. It's unclear however if the Hatobus tours let you actually enter the factories to take photos. If they do, then those thousands of yen might be well spent...

ukishima factory walk

As it was, Kumi and I could only take photos from outside the gates, which usually didn't offer much of a view. We stepped a few meters past the gate of one place and were quickly told off by a security guard. At the second factory we asked for permission, and were told, much more kindly than the first time, that we'd have to arrange with the head office first if we wanted to enter. After that we didn't bother trying to get into any more places.

ukishima factory walk

The best time to go obviously is on a weekend, when the factories are still running (the area is fairly noisy), but the hordes of workers that accompany them are mostly absent. You should also aim to spend some time there at night as the factories take on an otherworldly look when the sun sets and the lights come on.

ukishima factory photo walk

Ukishima island (not sure if it's actually called that, but the area is called Ukishima-cho) is perhaps the largest of the man-made industrial islands in Tokyo bay. You can get there from Kawasaki station by taking bus #3, and getting off at the very last stop. Be prepared for the stench of unpleasant chemical smells to bombard you while there though, and be ready for long walks, the scale of these factories is sometimes beyond comprehension.


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