Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which spans the Akashi Strait between Kobe and Awaji island, is the world’s longest suspension bridge. It is dynamic and beautiful, fascinating even when you look at it. Do you know that you can go to the top of the main pillar? A fantastic view will be visible from the top of the 300-meter tall pillar. Are you okay with heights? If so, be sure to go to the top! You only have a chance until November. I will introduce the “Akashi Kaikyo Bridge tour Bridge World” organized by JB Honshi Kosoku.
What kind of a bridge is Akashi Kaikyo?
When you walk a few minutes from JR Maiko station to the sea, you will reach a pleasant park open to the sea breeze. Local people often have picnics there during weekends, as the park is ideal for refreshment. Let’s first walk around while watching Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge was opened in 1998 and is registered in the Guiness Book of World Records as the longest suspension bridge in the world with its 3911 meters. 16 years after registering this record it has not been surpassed.
The Great Hanshin Earthquake which occurred during the construction had its epicenter exactly under the bridge, but did not damage it. The only consequence was that the base shifted and made the bridge longer with 1 meter. The country’s best engineers took part in the construction, therefore we can say it is a bridge to be proud of on a worldwide level. “Bridge World” is a tour which will lead you to the top of the front pillar you see on the photo above. Let’s experience conquering this majestic construction!
Thrilling and exciting tower climbing tour
So, let’s go to the top! First you need to hear the guidance from a bridge engineer. Sign the pledge, put on the helmet and follow the tour leader to the hallway where visitors do not usually enter.
The hallway is 50 meters above sea and you can see the water perfectly from the lattice floor! People scared of heights will need time to adjust before walking. After you walk about 1 kilometer inside this thrilling almost mid-air hallway, you will reach the main pillar’s elevator.
You can join this tour 4 days per week between April and November. Be sure to book in advance as it gets full quickly during weekends. Online booking is better. There are several conditions for participation, like you have to be at least a junior high-school student, and you should not have claustrophobia or fear of heights. Check the link in the memo below. The tour costs 3000 JPY per person and it is well worth the price.
Panorama view from 300 meters above the sea!
The elevator will take you to the top of the tower in 2 minutes. Here you can see Kobe’s panorama! A view only available to birds and participants in this tour. It is the next tallest construction after Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower and Abeno Harukas. But unlike those, you can’t climb here anytime, so it is a rare valuable experience!
Be careful not to drop your smartphone, digital camera, glasses or lens caps while you’re taking photos. You’ll be advised to tie a strap around your things. Dropping anything will not result in just being told off…
The best place for those who love bridges and heights
The observation at the top is not big at all, as you can see on the photo. This is because it wasn’t made for tourists, but for construction workers. There is a limit to the number of people who can enter. You can spend there some valuable time hearing the story of the guide and taking pictures. The tour guides have participated in the construction of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, so they cherish it like their own child and will tell you a lot of stories from its history. When you hear about all the troubles that people back then had to construct the bridge, you will find it even more majestic.
Awaji side’s view! In good weather you can see Kansai Airport and Shodoshima
Here is Awaji’s side. In good weather days you can see Shodoshima island to the right and Kansai Airport to the left. The distance to the next pillar is 1991 meters. The wires used are special and do not become rusty. During inspection workers even walk over them… Respect!
At the end of the tour you will receive a certificate for completion and a photo. The entire tour takes about 2 hours and a half. True to its name, “Bridge World” tour will indeed let you enjoy the depths of the bridge.
This tour lets you explore Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and appreciate the beauty of nature, man-made construction and Japan’s technology which you cannot experience by just crossing it. The participation fee includes admission also to the nearby Bridge Exhibition Center and Maiko Marine Promenade, so you can fully enjoy one day with dining and shopping. Maybe by the end of that day you will have become a passionate fan of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge!
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