Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with traveling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. She also loves to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.
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What kind of structures do you think of as symbolic landmarks of Japan? Your answer might be ancient temples and shrines in Kyoto, or maybe modern giant buildings in Tokyo. However, what many international tourists are not aware of is the beauty of the many bridges that are found across Japan.
Although they are typically smaller in size compared to other structures, they are carefully designed, have a long history, and provide an essential function that connects one location to another. Here you can discover the 10 coolest bridges in Japan!
1. Rainbow Bridge
Completed in 1993, Rainbow Bridge is a pedestrian suspension bridge that connects Tokyo with an artificial island known as Odaiba. This pedestrian suspension bridge stretches about 798 meters over Tokyo bay, and visitors can walk across the iconic landmark for free! From the bridge, you will be able to enjoy great views of the surrounding areas, including Tokyo Bay, Tokyo’s high-rise buildings, and even Mt. Fuji in the distance on a sunny day! It is beautifully lit up at night, making it a perfect spot for couples to spend a memorable time while enjoying the fascinating views.
Opening hours: 9am – 9pm (April – October) 10am – 6pm (November – March)
How to get there: 15-minute walk from Shibaura-futo Station
2. Kintai Bridge
Located in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi prefecture, Kintai Bridge is a wooden arch bridge that has been selected among the three greatest bridges in Japan. This beautiful bridge consists of five arches and spans over the peaceful Nishiki River with a total length of 193 meters. This historic bridge was built by Kikkawa Hiroyoshi, the 3rd feudal lord of Iwakuni clan, in 1673.
One of the distinctive features of the bridge is the fact that it was built without using even a single nail, making it a very unique wooden structure. Visiting the iconic bridge will allow you to enjoy seasonal beauties, including cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in summer, colorful autumn leaves in fall, and the snow-covered bridge in winter!
Opening hours: 8am – 5pm
How to get there: 20-minute bus ride from Iwakuni Station
3. Tsunoshima Bridge
Another picturesque bridge in Yamaguchi is Tsunoshima Bridge which is located off the northwest coast of Shimonoseki city. Opened in 2000, this iconic bridge connects the main island of Japan and Tsunoshima and is a length of 1790 meters.
Tsunoshima is a scenic island that is particularly famous for its lovely sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular getaway destination during the summer season. One of the best ways to enjoy the bridge is from Amagase Park, where you can park your car at a free parking lot and take memorable pictures of the entire bridge and the beautiful sea!
How to get there: 25 – 30 minute bus ride from JR Takibe station
4. Akashi Kaikyo
Widely known as one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is a symbolic landmark located in Hyogo prefecture. This 3,911-meter bridge conveniently connects Kobe city in Hyogo and Awajishima Island, which offers great transportation for both locals and visitors.
It is the perfect bridge to enjoy a refreshing drive on your way to Awajishima Island or spend a couple of hours enjoying the great waterfront views during your stay in Hyogo prefecture. If you want to experience what it is like to walk across the bridge, head to Maiko Marine Promenade, which is an observation facility on the bridge which is located about 47meters above the sea!
Opening hours: 9am – 6pm
How to get there: Walk from JR Maiko Station
5. Eshima Ohashi Bridge
What great bridges offer is not only stunning views but also thrilling experiences! Located in Matsue City, Shimane prefecture, Eshima Ohashi is widely recognized as one of Japan’s most terrifying bridges. This bridge spans approximately 1,7 kilometers over Nakaumi Lake between Matsue City in Shimane prefecture and Sakai-minato City in Tottori prefecture.
In recent years, this bridge is getting more attention as a popular tourist attraction with the unbelievable illusion it presents when seen from the Shimane side. You will be amazed by how steep it looks! It is actually not as steep as you imagine from the view, and you can reach the highest point (44.7 meters above the water) either by car or bike.
How to get there: About a 15-minute drive from Sakae-minato Station
6. Tatara Bridge
Shimanami Kaido is Japan’s most popular and scenic cycling trail, which encompasses beautiful islands and bridges in the Seto Inland Sea. Tatara Bridge is among the seven bridges in the Shimanami Kaido area, and it connects Ikuchi Island and Oomi Island with a total length of 1,480 meters. It was originally completed in 1999, and was officially the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge at the time of its construction.
You can enjoy traveling across the symbolic bridge by any type of vehicle, including bikes, motorcycles, and cars. Wide sidewalks are also available for pedestrians who want to enjoy walking over the bridge on foot while feeling the cool sea breeze!
How to get there: Start your memorable cycle adventure at Shimanami Kaido from JR Onomichi Station, Hiroshima prefecture.
7. Mishima Skywalk
Located in Mishima city, Shizuoka prefecture, Mishima Skywalk is an exciting tourist attraction that newly opened in 2015. This iconic bridge extends 400 meters over a scenic valley, making it Japan’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. As you walk over the bridge, you will be able to enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding areas, including beautiful mountains, Suruga Bay, and Mt. Fuji. Sky Garden is a lovely facility where you can enjoy admiring seasonal flowers and freshly made drinks or browsing memorable souvenirs at a gift shop. Forest Adventure Mishima is a perfect spot where you can let your kids freely play in nature.
Opening hours 9am – 5pm
1,100 yen (adult)
500 yen (junior high/ high school student)
200 yen (elementary school student)
How to get there: 25-minute bus ride from JR Mishima station
8. Kokonoe’s Yume Ootsuribashi
If you are planning a trip to Kyushu, particularly around Oita prefecture, Kokonoe’s Yume Ootsuribashi is something that should be added to your travel bucket list! This symbolic landmark was completed in 2006 and originally opened as Japan’s longest and highest pedestrian suspension bridge.
This bridge is 390 meters long, 1.5 meters wide, and stands 173 meters above the mountainous valley, which offers incredible views of autumn colors in fall. Walking across the bridge will make you feel as if you are walking in the sky!
Opening hours: 8:30am – 5pm
500 yen (adult)
200 yen (elementary school student)
Free admission for preschoolers
How to get there: Bus from Bungo-nakamura Station
9. Great Seto Bridge
Great Seto Bridge is one of Japan’s most famous and iconic bridges that connects Okayama prefecture on Japan’s main island and Kagawa prefecture on Shikoku island. The construction of the bridge started 1978, and it took almost 10 years until it was finally completed in 1988. Widely known as the world’s longest two-tiered bridge, this symbolic structure boasts a total length of over 13 kilometers.
Great Seto Bridge is technically not a single bridge since it is made up of 6 consecutive bridges connecting multiple islands in the Seto Inland Sea between Okayama and Kagawa. If you start your journey from Japan’s main island side, you can cross the bridge either by car or train, which leaves from major railway stations in Okayama prefecture. Seto Ohashi Memorial Park is a perfect spot to enjoy the stunning views of the gigantic bridge while spending a refreshing time in nature!
10. Kurima Bridge
Our final destination on this list is Kurima Bridge, which is located in Okinawa prefecture. Opened in 1995, this scenic bridge spans 1,690 meters over the beautiful water between Miyakojima Island and Kurima Island. It was the longest bridge in Okinawa at the time of its construction, and it still remains the second longest in Miyakojima after Irabu Ohashi Bridge.
What makes it different from other bridges in Japan is the stunning views of the incredibly beautiful ocean, peaceful islands with a temperate climate all year round, and the lovely secluded beaches that can be found only here. Enjoying a memorable drive across the symbolic bridge will be one of the highlights of your stay in Okinawa!
How to get there: 15-minute drive from Miyako Airport
Which bridge introduced above did you find most impressive? If you love Japanese architecture, visiting them all will be a great experience and one of the highlights of your trip to Japan. They offer spectacular views, an exciting walking experience in height, and even great access to off-the-beaten tracks you have never visited. Make sure to check in advance whether the bridge that you are planning to visit is for pedestrians, vehicles, or both of them. It is also important to follow traffic rules and be careful not to bother other visitors when you take pictures of the bridges. Learning basic knowledge about safe driving and cycling in Japan will also be a big help, so make sure to check out our blogs!
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