Yokkaichi Nighttime Factory Views: the Glittery Gorgeous Side of Heavy Industry

Yokkaichi Nighttime Factory Views: the Glittery Gorgeous Side of Heavy Industry

The phenomenon of factories gaining popularity as nighttime sightseeing spots has brought tourists and photographers to many industrial areas in Japan. And it’s agreed that Yokkaichi City’s views are top tier. Walking through the area makes you feel like you’re in a stage of a video game. Finding such beauty in a heavily industrialized landscape of mysterious pipes, tanks and machines is a unique experience that can really change your perspective on what a beautiful view is.

Written by Chad Martin
-Author's Introduction
My otaku side brought me to Nagoya, Japan in 2012, but I stayed for the food, countryside towns, and gorgeous mountain scenery. I was born and raised on the east coast of the US, but I dare say I never grew up. I never shut up about Japan.

Caption: Many people in the area are employed as chemical engineers. My guess is that these are all those factory workers heading home, and what looks like factory trucks heading to who-knows-where. Everyone is leaving the island and nobody’s going in.

My plan for the evening was to walk from Tomidahama Station to JR Yokkaichi Station along the canal that separates the mainland from Kasumi, the island covered with factories, and get some views of the factory lights reflecting in the water along the way. There are a couple of parks and sports fields that run for most of that length. Google Maps estimated that I could make it in a little over an hour, if I didn’t stop to take in the sights, which I absolutely intended to do. 

A popular spot to get good views of the factories is the Yokkaichi Port Building. Built in 1999, it stands a hundred meters tall. From the observation deck, you can get views of the factories from 90 meters up. While it’s only closed on Wednesdays, the weekday hours are only until 5pm. It’s only open at night on Saturdays and Sundays, and even then, it’s only open until 9pm. But when I was there, I thought it was a lovely evening for a walk and I figured I’d get the same pictures from the observation deck that everyone else gets, you know?

Caption: As you can see, some parts of the park weren’t lit up very well. That’s definitely a good thing for photographers, but maybe you should bring a flashlight when you visit.

Getting good shots of the factories was a pretty tough challenge. I did see a few other folks in the park that night that seemed like they really knew what they were doing, with tripods and long exposure shots set up. The unique scenery here really has become a phenomenon. 

Caption: My attempts at this sort of night photography were amateur at best. You may need some special gear to get the best shots.

Caption: The Yokkaichi Port Building is on the left, towering over the industrial complex.

Caption: A few privately-owned boats were moored alongside the waterfront.

Caption: Taisho Bridge! ...it’s not really famous or anything, but it is a helpful landmark along the way. It’s important to take lots of pictures of whatever makes you excited on your journey.

It was a pretty long and tiring walk, but there were many different views along the way that really made the most of the lights reflecting in the water. Personally, I liked being up close to the factories. It really gave off a sort of steampunk vibe. They are busy places, with so many processes and complicated things happening, but with very few people around. It’d be tempting to sneak in and have a look around if it didn’t happen to be very illegal and dangerous. 

Caption: These labyrinths are the perfect setting for a shoot out in an action movie, or maybe a Call of Duty map! Ladders, scaffolding, mysterious containers of potentially volatile chemicals. The imagination runs wild. 

Be sure to wear some comfortable walking shoes when you visit. It was quite a trek! If you can’t go by car, and don’t want to walk the whole way, you can always rent a bicycle. There are some places around Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station that offer bicycle rentals for only a few hundred yen. You can even go on a night cruise! Be sure to make a reservation in advance: http://ykyc.jp/cruise

Another thing you should try while you’re in the area is Yokkaichi tonteki. Tonteki is a juicy pork loin cooked with a garlicky soy sauce. It’s quite famous in the area, and it was even featured in an episode of a cooking show on Netflix! Decide for yourself if you think it’s better than Nagoya’s miso katsu port cutlet. Take a stand and argue with the locals about it! There are a lot of fun restaurants, bars and izakayas near Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station. You’ll definitely be able to find a nice place there where you can get your fill. 

The Yokkaichi Port Building is closest to Tomidahama Station. It takes about 40 minutes to get there from Nagoya Station on the JR Kansai Line. Alternatively, you could just take the Kintetsu Line from Nagoya to Kintetsu Yokkaichi Station if you want to rent a bike there for your journey. And if you’re driving, you can get to Yokkaichi from Nagoya in a little over an hour.

Yokkaichi Port Building

2 Chome-1-1 Kasumi, Yokkaichi, Mie



Yokkaichi City guide in English

Tourist attractions covered by this article