Akashi Kaikyo Ōhashi Suspension Bridge – 明石海峡大橋
Which nation hosts the longest suspension bridge in the world*?
The answer is: Japan!
In this article we introduce the Akashi Strait Bridge, which connects the island of Honshū to Awaji Island and so to Shikoku Region.
*as of 2016, when this article was first published
What is special about the Akashi Strait Bridge?
The Akashi Bridge’s total length reaches 3991 meters, making this it famous for being the longest suspension bridge in the world.
This bridge is not only very long, his greatness is also something that impress our eyes.
The main pillar is about 298 meters high, while the road surface is 47 meters above the sea level.
His nickname “Pearl Bridge” comes from the color white, which covers the entire structure.
There was no bridge between Honshū and Shikoku in the past. People had to use boats to cross the strait.
An accident causing the sinking of a ferry was the impetus for starting the project which led to the bridge’s fulfillment from 1986 to 1998.
In the beginning, a railroad was also included in the project but, due to the costs of such extension, this idea was left over.
There is still room on the bridge for a railroad, so maybe someday the Shikoku Shinkansen will be launched (but this is unlikely, due to the continue population decreasing in Shikoku island).
On the Honshū side of the bridge we find the promenade on the sea (panoramic walk). This is probably the most interesting point of the whole construction.
From here you can access with an elevator to a floor right beneath the road surface.
Besides restaurants and shops, you can find a path where you can stroll up to the center of the bridge and visit the Bridge Science Hall.
Inside, you can learn about the time when the bridge was built and get know about its details.
If you want to enjoy Akashi Bridge at its fullest you can take part at the Taiken (experience)-Tour up to the main pillar’s top, at a height of almost 300 meters!
This tour is available every day twice and reservation is required.
The entry fee includes the Promenade on the sea and the entry to the Bridge Science Hall.
At the beginning of the tour a general introduction about the bridge is displayed. Then a guide leads you to the top of the main pillar: from here you can enjoy a spectacular view!
Anyway, being a sort of extreme experience, we do not suggest it to people who suffer from claustrophobia or acrophobia.
How to reach it
To learn how to reach the Akashi Strait Bridge, click here!
We had been interested in the Akashi Bridge from long time before actually visiting it, since it is the longest suspension bridge in the world.
Traveling by train from Kōbe we could behold its shape from the window pan (you should sit on the left).
Once out of Maiko Station, we got immediately stunned by the view of its figure.
First, we visited the Promenade on the sea, where we got to know much about the history of the construction.
Since it is a small museum, in just a few time we could learn about the time when the bridge was built thanks to some images on a television.
We can say we were actually being studying!
Then, we took the elevator to the underlying floor.
Here there are restaurants and souvenir shops. Sometimes events are also held.
The air outside got cold. Due to the height on the sea level the wind was blowing very strongly.
The most exciting thing was the transparent floor: the sea was right beneath out feet!
When we visited the Akashi Bridge I didn’t know about the Taiken-Tour to visit the main pillar, but next time we would like to join.
Close to the bridge there’s also a beach, which becomes popular especially in the summer, with people taking baths and gathering around barbeques.
If you’re visiting around, what about coming over?