The remobilization of iron, manganese, cobalt, cadmium, copper and zinc in the pore water of estuarine sediment cores at Yingkou was assessed using diffusive equilibrium in thin films and diffusive gradients in thin films techniques. A relatively anoxic system (+33.7 to −224.1 mV) in the sediment cores might cause the reductive release of iron, manganese and cobalt into pore water from the estuarine sediment. High-average concentrations of iron (47.85 μg ml−1) and manganese (3.81 μg ml−1) were observed using diffusive equilibrium in thin films on the sediment core, but the concentration of cobalt (18.02 ng ml−1) was relatively low. A strong correlation between iron and cobalt was observed based on the vertical profiles of the metals. Manganese and iron were more readily released from the solid phase to the solution. The peak cobalt, copper and zinc concentrations were observed in the upper layer (2–4 cm) measured using diffusive gradients in thin films. However, the peak iron, manganese and cobalt concentrations were located in the deeper layer (≥7 cm). In addition, the concentration profiles measured using diffusive gradients in thin films of cobalt, copper and zinc were independent of the iron, manganese and cobalt distribution with respect to depth.