Translated by Jay Issei Karslake
Oita's Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge: The Highest In Japan
Written by Keisuke Yamada
Are you a thrill-seeker who also loves gorgeous scenery? Then head to Oita's Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge, the tallest pedestrian suspension bridge in Japan.
Do you know where the tallest suspension bridge in Japan is located? It's found in Kokonoe, in Oita prefecture. Called the Kokonoe 'Yume' Otsurihashi, or Kokonoe 'Dream' Suspension Bridge, this architectural feat is the highest pedestrian-only suspension bridge in Japan, standing 173 meters tall from the surface of the water, and spanning 390 meters. Until the Mishima Otsurihashi was opened on December 14th 2015, the Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge was not only the tallest but also the longest suspension bridge in Japan too.
Today let's take a walk along this bridge and see more of its charms.
Let's Buy a Ticket
First, stop at the entrance and purchase an entrance ticket; it costs 500 yen for adults and 200 yen for elementary school students. These tickets come in 4 different patterns featuring spring, summer, fall and winter photos of the area and make a great souvenir. Some people also like to visit all year round so that they can collect each type of ticket. Entrance is free until July 31st, so let's take advantage of this opportunity to visit.
After buying the ticket, but before getting to the suspension bridge you will see Kokonoe town's mascot, Miya-chan. Miya-chan is based on a pretty pink flower called a Kyushu azalea, or miyamakirishima in Japanese, that grows wildly in the Kujū mountains from the end of May through mid-June. Miya-chan is popular in Kokonoe as the fairy of the Miyamakirishima flower.
Crossing the Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge
After passing through the entrance, the Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge will be right before your eyes. For those who are scared of heights, now might be a good time to turn back. On the other hand, I saw people who enjoy high places having a lot of fun crossing the bridge.
When you get closer it begins to feels like a picture. The bridge is supported by thick iron wire, but it shakes when strong winds blow... For those that are afraid of heights, just hold onto the railings and try your best.
When you reach the middle of the bridge you will find a large sign pointing out different landmarks with this small orange sign that says "Thrill Spot" underneath it. Following the arrow downwards, you'll find yourself looking at your feet...
And you will realize that you are standing on metal grating, and can feel cold winds blowing up at you from below. I was already terrified at this point, but I tried to take a closer look. I leaned in...
The scenery right below the bridge can be easily seen beyond the iron grating. Equal parts terrifying and awe-inspiring, the scenery visible from the Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge is something you just need to experience to believe.
It's also possible to see waterfalls flowing near the suspension bridge.
A drone took these images of the scenery around Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge. Isn't it shocking to see just how high and long the suspension bridge is?
After Crossing the Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge
There is a shop waiting for you after you cross the bridge where you can take a seat, enjoy a meal and relax.
If you would like to keep walking further, you might want to visit Shiratori Shrine, a 5 minute walk from this side of the bridge.
Souvenirs from Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge
And once you've made the trip back to the start of the bridge, there are other shops selling exclusive goods only available here. The above photo features a special souvenir cake.
This is a cheese stick cake.
There are also many different varieties of mochi (soft rice cakes) sold here as well.
How was it? The Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge prides itself on being Japan's highest bridge. Popular with locals and tourists alike, on June 5th, 2015 it broke the 9,000,000 visitor mark. How about taking in some pure countryside air as you experience the thrill of walking across this amazing suspension bridge?
Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge
Address: Oita, Kusu-gun, Kokonoemachi Oaza Tano 1208
Hours: Jan-June/Nov-Dec 8:30-17:00, July-Oct 8:30-18:00
Closed: None (the number of visitors may be limited during bad weather)
Credit cards: -
Other Languages: Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English
Information in Other Languages: Available
Nearest Station: Driving or the bus is the easiest way to access
Access: 25 minutes by car from the Kokonoe Interchange; take the regular sightseeing bus from either the Beppu or Yufuin Station city bus center (別府駅 or 湯布院駅)
Price Range: Adults 500 yen, Elementary school students 200 yen, Kindergarten and under are free
Phone number: +81-3-0973-73-3800
Website: Kokonoe 'Yume' Suspension Bridge