At almost four kilometers in length, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is the world's longest suspension bridge. The bridge links the city of Kobe with Awaji Island and, as part of the Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway, provides onward links to the island of Shikoku. It is in attraction in itself with lookouts at the top of its 300-meter tall towers.
Spans the width of the dramatic Akashi Strait
The bridge was opened in 1998
Illuminated by over 1,800 lights
You can climb to the top of the towers
The bridge is a publically accessible highway and a vital part of the Kobe-Awaji-Naruto Expressway. The Bridge Exhbition Center and Maiko Marine Promenade are located a short walk from Maiko Station on the JR Sanyo Line.
Beneath the bridge from the Kobe side, you can access the Maiko Marine Promenade, which affords views of the interior of the colossal bridge, as well as the Akashi Strait and Osaka Bay.
For a more exclusive all-access pass to the bridge, consider one of the guided tours by a company called Bridge World. These tours enable you to climb to the top of the bridge's 300-meter tall towers and give access to areas of the bridge usually restricted to the public.
The bridge has around 1,800 lights that are used for illumination for national holidays and other events, creating a spectacular light show that can be seen from across the bay.
The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge replaced a ferry service that used to connect the city of Kobe and the island of Awaji across the Akashi Strait. The ferry service was vulnerable to the frequent storms that plague the strait and as a result construction on the bridge began in the late 1980s.
A detailed history of the construction and planning of the bridge can be found in the Bridge Exhibiton Center at the base of the Kobe side of the bridge. However, these explanations are only in Japanese.