Bridges in Japan – 10 Most Famous

Japan is an island country, meaning an intricate network of bridges to guarantee a connection between the populated islands.

The network of bridges in Japan includes some of the world’s most fantastic bridge designs by well-recognized architects.

Despite Tokyo being the most extensive metropolitan globally, not all famous bridges are concentrated in the region.

The famous bridges in Japan are fairly distributed across the country and guarantee safety, traffic-less commuting, and breathtaking sights.

Here is a list of outstanding bridge designs you should consider visiting on your trip to Japan, including historic bridges.

Famous Bridges in Japan

1. Kintai Bridge

 Kintai Bridge

You can find the Kintai Bridge in the city of Iwakuni, and it serves to help commuters cross over the Nishiki river. Its structure includes a wooden arc bridge that is part of the Yamaguchi prefecture.

Since the bridge’s construction in the late 17th century, the Kintai Bridge has been part of Japan’s historic bridges and ends at the foot of Yokohama Hill, where you will find Iwakuni Castle.

Japan benefits significantly by having the bridge and castle combination as a popular tourist attraction. Tourist activity is rampant during the Cherry blossom festival, where the country expects thousands of foreign visitors to the site.

It would help to note that the bridge is not original as it had to be rebuilt several times because of typhoon-related destruction. In 1992, the 5-span bridge was declared a national treasure of Japan.

2. Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge

Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge

The first structure of our popular bridges in Japan starts with the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. The design resembles a colossal suspension connecting Kobe and Osaka.

These two cities are part of a heavily populated metropolitan area known as the Island of Honshu. The bridge also connects a small town called Iwaya on the Awaji Islands and spans the busy Akashi Strait.

One element of the astonishing bridge is its length. It has the longest central span bridge, featuring 1991 meters in length, having held this record since 1998.

Also Read: Buildings in Japan

The Golden Gate Bridge follows closely as its main span measures 1,280 meters, shorter than the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.

The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge is a vital link in the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge project, creating three routes across the inland sea. It has four substructures, denoted as 1A, 2P,3P, and 4A. The towers stabilizing the bridge are located in areas of strong tidal currents below 7 knots and are strong enough to support it entirely.

3. Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge

Another unique structure to observe in Japan is the Rainbow Bridge. This suspension bridge spans the south of the city’s historical heart in Tokyo Bay and connects Minato City to Odaiba. Minato City is an artificial island included in Tokyo’s many special wards.

Its name was derived from its lighting features that provide extraordinary illumination at night. If you are looking for a fascinating landmark to help improve your experience in Japan, you should consider taking an evening trip to the Rainbow Bridge.

The bridge was completed between 1987 and 1993, and it is one of the busiest bridges since its central location is Japan’s capital.

4. Megane Bridge

Meganebashi Bridge

Also known as Meganabashi, the Megane Bridge is also popularly nicknamed the Spectacles Bridge. In the bridge structure, two arches in the stone arch bridge look like a pair of spectacles, hence the name Spectacles Bridge. It spans the Nakashima River and is located in Nagasaki City on the Island of Kyushi.

Megane Bridge is not as massive as the previous bridges discussed, but its historical value to Japan makes it feature on our list. The bridge’s construction dates back to 1634, making it one of the oldest stone bridges in the region.

In Japan, a devastating storm washed away all the stone bridges. However, all the stones used in building the bridge were recovered, and the structure was rebuilt.

5. Kazura bridge at the Iya Valley

Vine Bridge in the Iya Valley

There is no bridge in Japan with as rich a history as the Kazura Bridge in the Iya Valley. There were dozens of Kazubarashi bridges used by people to cross rivers in the Iya Valley.

The history and origin of these bridges are unclear, but rumors have it that the founder of Japanese Buddhism, Kobo Daishi, played a crucial role in building them.

Only three of the 13 bridges made from mountain wine exist to date. The Kazura Bridge is the most extensive and popular, spreading across the valley’s center, measuring 45 meters. Tourists find the site breathtaking courtesy of the water view 14 meters below the bridge’s open slats.

The bridge is rebuilt every three years, anchored to tall cedar trees, and features steel cables within the vines for additional safety. You can only cross the Kazurabashi bridge in one direction, illuminated for clear visibility between 19.00 and 21.30.

6. Ikitsuki Bridge

Ikitsuki Bridge

The Ikitsuki and Tokyo bridges share a typical infrastructure design; the only difference is its continuous truss. The continuous truss design means the bridge does not extend through its joints or hinges, increasing its stability and durability.

Also Read: Famous Truss Bridges

The Ikitsuki Bridge connects the Hirado Islands with the city of Ikitsuki in Japan’s Southwestern part.

Did you know that the Ikitsuki Bridge is the longest continuous truss bridge globally, with its main span being 400 meters long?

The previous record holder was the Astoria-Megler Bridge in Oregon, with a length of 376 meters. To improve your traveling experience in Japan, consider setting your eyes on this enormous structure.

7. Mishima Skywalk

Mishima Skywalk

If you are an adventurer, you have probably heard about the Mishima Skywalk. The pedestrian bridge’s official name is “Hakone Seiroku Mishima Suspension Bridge.”

It covers a valley near Mount Hakone’s rim, a large volcano in Tokyo’s southeast. The good thing about the Mishima Skywalk is that it is safe for pets. There are strollers to rent for your pet since they cannot walk across the suspension bridge.

You can find the bridge in a city not too far to the southeast of the Tokyo metropolitan area, just northeast of Mishima. It is the most extensive pedestrian bridge in Japan, covering 400 meters.

The popularity of Mishima Skywalk as a tourist attraction can be derived from the amazing views of Mount Fuji and Surima Bay guaranteed since 2015.

8. Eshima Ohashi Bridge

Eshima Ohashi Bridge

The Eshima Ohashi is also a popular bridge in Japan that spans Nakaumi Lake, the southwestern part of Honshu. Unlike other bridges on the Island, it is a rigid-frame bridge where its substructure and superstructure are connected rigidly.

Measuring a total length of 1.7km, the Eshima Ohashi is one of the largest rigid-frame bridges in Japan.

Its design and safety features also contribute significantly to the bridge being on our list. When photographed at specific angles, the Eshima Ohashi Bridge looks exceptionally steep.

However, the bridge’s maximum gradient is around 6.1% and only 44.7 meters. Many find the infrastructure a remarkable optical illusion thanks to these design features.

9. Tokyo Gate Bridge

Tokyo Gate Bridge

Japan has few truss cantilever bridges, making the Tokyo Gate Bridge a unique structure.

The bridge spans Tokyo Bay in Koto City and has a total length and maximum height of 2,618 meters and 87.8 meters, respectively. Considering its structure, it being 288 feet high, it creates quite an astonishing bridge design.

The Tokyo Gate Bridge was completed and opened for traffic around 2012 and is a critical section in one of the many newly developed ring ways around Tokyo. The cost of building this humongous bridge totaled approximately ¥113,000,000,000, equal to $1 billion today.

10. Tatara Bridge

Tatara Bridge

Another famous and outstanding bridge in Japan is the Tatara Bridge. This infrastructure connects the Honshu and Shikoku Islands as it spans the Seto Inland Sea.

It features a spectacular cable-stayed design, making the 1480 meters long bridge a sight to behold since it was opened for traffic in 1999.

The two massive towers connected to the cables are among the prominent features of the Tatara Bridge. The towers stand 220 meters high and can be seen from long distances, making them fascinating landmarks in Japan. It took $600 million and six years to start and finish this architectural marvel.

The Tatara Bridge carries two traffic lanes in each direction and features extra lanes for motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Originally, the bridge was planned as a suspension bridge, but in 1989 the plans switched to a cable-stayed bridge. The main reason for the plan change was to lessen the environmental impact of construction by avoiding extensive excavations.

What is the Tallest Japan Bridge?

The tallest bridge in Japan has to be the Eshima Ohashi Bridge. The bridge’s construction took eight years, from 1997 to 2004.

In addition to being the tallest bridge in Japan, it is also the largest rigid-frame in Japan and the third largest globally. It measures;

  • Width- 11.3m
  • Height- 44.7m
  • Longest span- 250m

Conclusion

There are dozens of breathtaking bridge designs you should aim to catch a glimpse of in Japan. Our list only focuses on a few options you can use as a guide to planning your trip to Japan. There is a possibility to find other astonishing bridges in the region if you conduct your research accordingly.