Picturesque Japan: The Great Seto Bridge

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Breathtaking beauty at the world's longest two-tier bridge

With its lofty white steel towers and gentle curves spanning across five islands, the Great Seto Bridge combines Japan's natural seaside elegance and technological eminence. Stretching 13.1 kilometers across the Seto Inland Sea between Kojima in Okayama Prefecture and Sakaide in Kagawa Prefecture, this amazing architectural feat is the world's longest two-tier bridge. 

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The Shimotsui-Seto portion of the bridge


Completed in 1988 after 10 years of construction, what distinguishes this masterpiece from other bridges is its employment of three forms of structural technology–suspension, cable-stayed and truss bridge. Such variety is reflected in the bridge segments, to bearing three unique designs, making a full tour across this seaside landmark well worth your time.

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The Kita and Minami Bisan-Seto portions of the bridge


There's no better way to enjoy viewing this structural marvel and its surrounding scenery than by taking a trip across it. Delight in the fresh seaside breeze by taking a refreshing 20-min daytime drive across its span (tolls starting at 3,300 yen), or hop on the JR Seto-ohashi train line (510 yen) that runs on the lower level of the bridge–the only railway line connecting Honshu and Shikoku islands.

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For a view that doesn't require crossing the bridge, take a longer one-hour leisurely cruise along the pleasure boats departing from the Kojima Sightseeing Port. Or for an observation point from land, get your camera ready for some panoramic views at the Seto Ohashi Commemorative Park, which even has a Bridge Theater, taking you on a virtual flight over this bridge!

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Yet, whether by train, car, land or sea, be sure to stick around until sunset, as this bridge illuminates the darkening sky, paving a glowing path across the sea. For picturesque beauty featuring both natural and manmade wonders, the Great Seto Bridge is sure to take your breath away.

Next in this series: Picturesque Japan: Engetsu Island

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Access: From Tokyo, take Shinkansen to Okayama Station, change to the local JR Seto-ohashi Line to Kojima Station. To get to the bridge, take a Shimoden bus from Kojima Station headed for Sakaide Station, and get off at Seto-ohashi FW (Fishing Wharf).  To cross the bridge via train take the JR Seto-ohashi Line from Kojima headed for Takamatsu Station in Kagawa Prefecture.

Seto Ohashi Commemorative Park
Hours: 9am-5pm (Last entrance 4:30pm)
Entrance/Theater Fee: None
Address: 6-13 Bannosumidoricho, Sakaide, Kagawa
Access: From JR Sakaide Station, take the Sakaide-shiei Bus to the Seto Ohashi Commemorative Park.

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