Japan is a country of bridges due to its mountainous terrain, numerous rivers and countless islands. Bridges are essential here and come in all shapes and sizes from traditional wooden bridges to modern masterpieces. Let’s take a look at some of Japan’s most famous bridges.
Seto Ohashi Bridge (Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture)
The Seto Ohashi Bridge is a super modern mega bridge that connects two of Japan’s main islands, Honshu and Shikoku. Completed in 1988, the 13.1 kilometre long bridge is the world’s longest combined rail and road bridge. It takes around 20 minutes to cross the bridge by car or train with the bridge offering spectacular views of the beautiful Seto Inland Sea between Okayama and Kagawa Prefectures.
Kintaikyo Bridge (Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
The Kintaikyo Bridge was first built in 1673 by the local feudal lord, Kikkawa Hiroyoshi to resist the constant floods of the area. The unique and unusual looking historical bridge consists of five wooden arches with stone piers that cross the Nishiki River. It is a famous tourist attraction, especially in cherry blossom season when you can enjoy views of the wooden bridge with the beautiful cherry blossoms.
Uji Bashi Bridge (Ise, Mie Prefecture)
The Uji Bashi Bridge is located on the approach to Naiku, the Inner Shrine at Ise Grand Shrine, Japan’s most sacred Shinto shrine. At 100 meters in length and 8 meters in width, it is one of the largest wooden bridges in Japan. This traditional Japanese style cypress bridge stretches across the Isuzu River. Like the shrine buildings at Ise Grand Shrine, it is rebuilt in Shinto tradition every 20 years using construction techniques that are one thousand years old. This process helps pass down traditional techniques and skills from one generation to the next.
Togetsukyo Bridge (Arashiyama, Kyoto)
The Togetsukyo Bridge is located in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto, a famous sightseeing spot known for its scenic beauty and historic temples. The bridge was first built in the 9th century during the Heian Period with the name “togetsukyo” meaning bridge to the moon. The 155 meter bridge crosses the Oi River with its artistic form beautifully complimenting the nature around it which changes from season to season.
Photo by Benjamin Claverie on Flickr
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture)
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge was completed in 1998 and connects the city of Kobe on the mainland of Honshu to Iwaya on Awaji Island. It is the 4th tallest bridge in the world and at almost 4 kilometres in length is the world’s longest suspension bridge. It spans the Akashi Strait (Akashi Kaikyo) a dangerous waterway that often experiences severe storms. There is a Bridge Exhibition Center at the foot of the Kobe side of the bridge that provides excellent information about the bridge as well as other suspension bridges around the world.
Nihon Bashi Bridge (Tokyo)
The Nihon Bashi Bridge in Tokyo is the starting point for Japan’s roads and is one of its most famous bridges. During the Edo period (1603-1868) the area was a center for trade and commerce. Today the area which built up around the bridge is the business district of Chuo, Tokyo. The first wooden bridge was completed here in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu (first Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate). The current bridge dates from 1911 and was constructed of stone on a steel frame. You can see a half sized replica of the original wooden bridge at the International Terminal of Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
Photo by on Wikipedia