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Honshu to Shikoku, the big bridges.


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Shikoku, the smallest of the Japanese main islands doesn't seem to have featured much in this forum, but from a railway point of view, it is worth a visit.

Of particular interest is the series of bridges of various types, called the Seto Ohashi, 'Seto', being the Inland Sea, the stretch of water between Honshu and Shikoku, and 'Ohashi'  being 'Big or Great Bridge'.

This series of combined rail and road bridges covers a distance of 8.1 miles (13.1 km) and was opened for traffic in 1988.

Previously, communication between the two islands was by ship, the main route was the JNR Uno Nav. Route with train ferries .

Limited Expresses and ordinary trains run across these bridges, between Okayama and Takamatsu.

Also, the Takamatsu portion of the 'Sunrise Express' goes across the Inland Sea on these structures.

I've travelled over these bridges, an interesting run, but one does not get any real impression of the size of these structures whilst going over them.

It would be much better to view them from sea level, I'm sure that there would be sightseeing boats to do this from both the Honshu and Shikoku shores.

Googly Earth gives good views of these very impressive bridges.




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Those are cool.  Would like to go see those.  I think I've actually been over them? when we took the Nanpū to Kochi about 3 or 4 years ago.  But I think I was tried and sleeping or something



I've been on one of the other roads to Shikoku -- from Kobe over Awaji-jima to Naruto.  Way back when my son was a toddler (he is now 16) we went and saw the whirlpools.  The bridges on both ends of Awaji-jima are also really big and interesting, and the one by Naruto has a walkway underneath that you can go about 1000m out of the water to look at the whirlpools.


This trip, this summer, we are going to Awaji-jima for a short overnight visit but not all the way to Shikoku.

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Thanks for the post Bill, I got to thinking about these bridges and refered to good old Wikipedia, learning some new stuff.

  • Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway - 3 suspension bridges.  I never crossed this one and usually think of just the northern span, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, as I could see it from the Sanyo Main Line.  I remember riding west-bound 223 series special rapid services, and after it got through the central, most dense part of Kobe, one of the bridge's pylons would come into view.  Maybe this was around Suma.

  • Seto-Chūō Expressway - six bridges and five viaducts, says Wikipedia.  Crossed many times, always by rail.  The first to be completed, in 1988.  It surprises me that all road and rail traffic had to use ferries until 1988.

  • Nishiseto Expressway - 55(!) bridges.  Never crossed this one either.  In this case, I only ever saw the southern-most portion, the Kurushima-Kaikyō Bridge, from an observation spot in Imabari.



tangentially related: google maps shows ferry routes in the Seto Inland Sea.  https://www.google.com/maps/@34.6001088,135.0185697,13.71z

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Sadly those old test videos of testing the bridge with locos you found are no longer live, they were great!


edit: new versions found!





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I just visited Takamatsu a couple weeks ago (my wife is from there), we always take the Marine Liner over the Seto Ohashi bridge and love the views.


During our trip we did an overnight trip to Shodo Shima by ferry from Takamatsu.  Its only a one hour ferry ride but I highly recommend it, the views from the ferry of the sea and islands are fantastic (you can see the Seto Ohashi bridge in the distance from that ferry but not get a very good look at it, but the rest of the scenery is impressive). 

Seto ferry 2.jpg

Seto Ferry 3.jpg

Seto Ferry.jpg

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