Straight out of the opening scene of “Blade Runner,” the Keihin Industrial area is a seemingly never-ending maze of factories belching out fire and smoke.
The petroleum refineries, and chemical plants operate 24/7 here, and the best time to visit is at night. The experience is eerie: There are constant sounds, smells and lights as you move past each factory. The only visitors are the occasional “factory otaku” who dress up in cosplay to photograph in front of the factories. Or fishermen, casting a line at midnight into the murky black waters, chatting and smoking.
Each factory has thousands of pipes, intertwined in a mess that sometimes overgrow their bounds and cross over the road to the next factory. And in winter steam vents out of the roads and pipes, giving a murky haze to the area. Across the water are more factories and boats, reflecting their lights off the black water.
Know Before You Go
The "Keihin Industrial Ward" proper is a vast area that contains most of Kawasaki, Yokohama, the Tokyo Metropolis, and some of Saitama. To see the place in this article, head for the Chidori Canal in Kawasaki; hiring a car is about the only way to get there, unless you live nearby and cycle (or get off at Kojimashinden Station and walk south for about 20 minutes).