Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
At a length of almost 2.5 miles (4 kilometers), Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge. Spanning across the Akashi Kaikyo (Akashi Strait), which connects mainland Kobe to Awaji Island, the bridge has a beautiful setting and dramatic length, making it a striking landmark. In addition to admiring the scenery, visit the attractions around the famous bridge, where you’ll learn more about its history and development.
Construction of the bridge began in 1988 and took 10 years to complete. Designed to withstand Japan’s frequent tsunamis, earthquakes and typhoons, the bridge was built with more than 50 million cubic feet (1.4 million cubic meters) of concrete. The Great Hanshin Earthquake took place in 1995 when the bridge was half built, presenting a testament to its strength and durability. Marvel that the bridge still stands after the earthquake caused major damage throughout Kobe.
Explore the Bridge Exhibition Center at the bottom of the bridge on the Kobe side. This informative center provides an overview of the planning and technology behind the bridge, along with exhibitions devoted to other prominent suspension bridges around the world. Most exhibits have short English descriptions; the more detailed explanations are available only in Japanese.
Walk along the Maiko Marine Promenade, a stretch of observatory hallways underneath the bridge, 164 feet (50 meters) above the water. Access by an elevator on the Kobe side of the bridge and enjoy remarkable views of the water through the floor of the promenade, partially covered by glass.
Sign up for the popular “Bridge World” guided tour, which takes visitors to the top of one of the bridge’s 984-foot (300-meter) towers. The tour is offered in Japanese with an English audio guide available.
Visit the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge at night, when it is beautifully illuminated with red, green and blue lights, creating rainbow reflections on the water below. Both the Bridge Exhibition Center and the Maiko Marine Promenade have admission fees. Visit the bridge at any time of year. The special guided tours are available from April to November.