About Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Japan’s Steepest Bridge

Eshima Ohashi Bridge

The 2020 Summer Olympics, also known as Tokyo 2020, is set to take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021. Unfortunately, tourists (as of this writing) are unable to enter the country due to the ongoing pandemic.

Although you can’t visit Japan at this time, you can at least make travel plans once the country does open to foreign travelers. If you’ve visited Disneyland, Japanese shrines and other well-known tourist attractions in Tokyo, you’ll want to venture away outside the capital and look for other destinations within the country.

If you’re looking for a tourist attraction that will surely blow your mind, be sure to head to western Japan and check out the famous Eshima Ohashi Bridge, a steep bridge in Japan.

Where is the Eshima Ohashi Bridge?

Source: Pinterest

Japan’s Eshima Ohashi Bridge is a huge rigid-frame bridge linking Sakaiminato in the Tottori Prefecture and Shimane prefecture over Lake Nakaumi. At first glance, this incredibly steep Japanese bridge appears to look like an amusement park ride instead of a way to commute across the river.

The location of Eshima Ohashi Bridge is accessible to both locals and foreign travelers. You can take a bike, walk or take a train to Eshima Ohashi. The bridge is half an hour’s walk from the Sakaiminato station.

Why is the Eshima Ohashi Bridge So Steep?

Architects responsible for the construction of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge made sure that this structure allowed the passage of ships. This explains why the bridge is so tall. The Eshima Ohashi Bridge is 44 meters tall and approximately a mile long.

The Eshima Ohashi Bridge is a two-lane concrete road. This structure rises so sharply that it intimidates onlookers and even the bravest motorists.

The concrete road seemingly sends drivers straight to heaven, and then suddenly drops off from view. The reason for this is how architects built the bridge. The bridge has a gradient of 6.1 percent on the Shimane Prefecture side and 5.1 percent on the Tottori Prefecture side. This gives the Eshima Ohashi Bridge the optical illusion, as well as the nickname “roller coaster bridge.”

What is the Secret to the Eshima Ohashi Bridge?

A side view of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge.It doesn’t look terrifying when you look at the bridge from this angle. Source: Pinterest

Don’t be fooled by the images you see on the web regarding the Eshima Ohashi Bridge. This structure, in reality, doesn’t have a crazy steep incline.

The notoriety of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge comes from photos posted on social media websites that garnered a huge amount of attention. What happened was that the photographer captured some shots from a particular, strategic location. The photographer angled the shot to make the bridge look like it’s shooting right up into the clouds.

The reality is that this is mostly just trick photography. If you take a picture of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge from more of a side angle, you’ll find and realize that the slope of the bridge appears to be fairly normal. Yes, the bridge is steep, but it’s definitely not like everyone’s first impression.

Getting to the Top of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge

You can get to the top of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge in three ways: on a car, using a bike and on foot.

If you’re going to ride a bike to reach the top, make sure that you are physically prepared to climb the bridge. It’s steep and not for newbies. Also, the cars, buses and trucks whizzing by can get scary. Getting to the top, though, takes about five minutes, so long as your body can keep up with the steep slope.

The same goes if you’re going to reach the summit of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge by foot. If you’re looking to stay in shape while you travel abroad, you could sprint to the top of the bridge. This structure presents a challenge even for hardcore runners.

Once you get to the top, though, you’ll enjoy great views of Mount Daisen, a big, volcanic mountain situated in the western Tottori prefecture. There’s also an observation point that will give you a picturesque view of Lake Nakaumi.

How to Get the Best Snapshot of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge

When taking a snapshot, you’ll want to avoid capturing any part of the side view of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge. This will ruin the optical illusion and make the shot look like a typical bridge.

If you want to get the coveted picture to impress your friends (and maybe even get them to travel to Japan to see this amazing structure), you’ll need to take a photo of the Eshima Ohashi Bridge close to the convenience store at the intersection on the Shimane side.

Where to Go Next

You won’t take more than an hour to see the incredible Eshima Ohashi Bridge. Once you finish crossing and taking a picture of this incredible structure, consider checking out the other areas of western Japan. You could, for instance, check out the sand dunes of Tottori. If you love anime, go check out Conan Town located in Hokuei, Tottori Prefecture.

There’s no telling when Japan will open to tourists. What you can do for now, though, is to save money for your next trip, add Japan to your travel bucket list and check out the Eshima Ohashi Bridge in person.

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