Sometimes we forget that Japan is a nation of islands. In Japan, they have taken bridge building to another level, connecting islands and this island nation by providing unmatched infrastructure. Many of Japan’s best-known bridges connect the island of Shikoku with the island of Honshu.
The Ohnaruto Bridge is part of the Kobe-Awaji-Naurto Expressway. Completed in 1985, it has a central span of 1,629 meters and connects the islands of Awaji and Shikoku. At one point, it was touted as the longest suspension bridge in the world, only to be replaced by the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge in 1997. The bridge passes over the Naruto Channel, known for its tidal eddies created by the tides from the Pacific Ocean into the inland sea.
The Seto-Ohashi Bridge is actually a series of bridges connecting Okayama and Kagawa Prefectures. With a length of just over 13.1 kilometers, it is the longest two-level bridge system in the world. On the upper deck, you will find two lanes each way for cars. The lower deck is for the Seto-Ohashi line with one railway in each direction. The bridge was designed to also accommodate one shinkansen (bullet train) line in each direction.
The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge claims to be the world’s longest suspension bridge with a core length of 1,991 meters. Completed in 1997, it connects Awaji Island with Kobe, thus completing the Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway. The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge is an architectural and engineering feat. With six highway lanes, it provides a much-needed connection between the islands.
Although bridges are found all over the world, you can surely see the strides Japan has made in connecting land and people.