But the intrepid hack could never have guessed just how close to the action he was going to get.
This incredible sequence of pictures, taken by a nearby building's CCTV camera, shows Toya's unbelievable escape after he suddenly found himself at the mercy of the raging waters.
Toya, a reporter with the Iwate Tokai newspaper, was shooting photos at the mouth of the Owatari River when, without warning, the Tsunami struck washing away everything in its path.
At first Toya desperately tried to cling to a telephone box but when that was swept away too he found himself completely at the mercy of the elements.
As he was carried helplessly along he narrowly escaped being crushed between cars as they surged past on either side.
Amazingly, despite being up to his neck in the raging torrent of water, the dedicated professional can be seen with his camera raised to his eye, continuing to take pictures.
Incredibly he survived with only a few minor cuts and bruises after being swept away for about 30 meters before managing to find a patch of dry ground.
Unfortunately it is believed his photographic efforts were in vain and the camera was too badly damaged by the water.
The earthquake and tsunami have left 13,456 people dead and another 14,851 missing. More than 150,000 have been made homeless.
|I survived: Lucky reporter Toya Chiba, returns to the scene of his amazing escape|