Japan: Akashi Kaikyo, a Bridge Between Islands, a Link Between Ages
Updated: Oct 27
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is more than just a means to cross a strait; it is a symbol of human ingenuity and perseverance. As the longest suspension bridge in the world, you will find it incredibly inspiring. It offers an endless range of opportunities to capture the grandeur of human engineering within the natural landscape of the Seto Inland Sea.
© O. Robert
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, also known as the "Pearl Bridge," is an engineering marvel located in Kobe, Japan. It holds the record for the longest suspension bridge in the world and represents a masterpiece of design and functionality.
Akashi Kaikyo transcends the simple notion of an engineering structure to elevate the bridge to the status of a symbol. In overcoming the challenges of nature, including tumultuous sea currents and seismic threats, it also reflects, in my opinion, our perpetual quest to overcome obstacles, whether they are concrete or abstract.
This bridge is not just a technical feat; it is a manifestation of human will, a reminder that our ability to unite separate worlds is as timeless as the ocean it crosses.
© O. Robert
Design and Architecture
The bridge was designed by Satoshi Kashima, an engineer at the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority, and the architectural design is the work of the Tadao Kamei company. The construction process began in 1988 and was completed in 1995. The bridge was built to solve the transportation issue between the islands of Honshu and Shikoku, replacing ferries that were often disrupted by difficult weather conditions.
Total Length: 3,911 meters
Main Span: 1,991 meters
Height of Towers: 298.3 meters
Cost: Approximately 5 billion dollars
Capacity: 6 lanes of traffic
The bridge holds the world record for the longest central span and is designed to withstand violent winds and earthquakes.
My gear for long exposures: GITZO Mountaineer S3. The ultra-stable and lightweight carbon tripod.
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is a crucial transportation route that allows the movement of people and goods between the islands of Honshu and Shikoku. It has greatly improved the efficiency of inter-island transportation and has stimulated the economic development of the region.
Visit and Observation
The bridge can be visited and photographed from several viewpoints. One of the best places to observe it is the Maiko Marine Promenade, which offers a panoramic view. You can also climb to the top of the towers through guided tours, providing a unique opportunity to capture breathtaking images.
As a photographer, I find this achievement fascinating, not only for its architecture but also for how it blends into the surrounding landscape, a perfect example of the coexistence of nature and technology.
I never tire of returning to observe it every time I pass through the Kobe area. Not only is the Seto Inland Sea exceptional in itself, but this architectural work adds an obvious note of modernity and elegance to a landscape composed of hundreds of islands.
In my bookcase: Michael Kenna - Beyond Architecture | Carlo Scarpa - Architecture and Design
If you liked this post, feel free to leave a comment below and share it on social media. This helps me continue my work. Thank you in advance for your support.