The Eshima Ohashi Bridge is the largest rigid frame bridge in Japan and the third largest in the world. It connects the Shimane and Tottori Prefectures over the Nakaumi Lake linking the cities of Matsue and Sakaiminato.
The structure 1.7 km long and 11.4 meters wide. It has become an internet attraction and has been widely referred to as the “rollercoaster bridge” due to its unique design which allows large ships to pass underneath it without traffic having to be stopped.
There is nothing unsafe about the visually terrifying piece of engineering. This is proven by its track record of zero accidents since its opening in 2004, after a seven-year build. Long may it continue. Once a vehicle starts climbing or descending its arches, the experience is not dissimilar to driving up and down a mountain slope. However, it is the imposing nature of its design that might frighten the unsuspecting driver upon their approach.
Eshima Ohashi has a slope of 6.1% on the Shimane side and a gradient of 5.1% on the Tottori side. This means that for every 100 feet of horizontal distance the bridge extends, it rises 6.1 and 5.1 feet respectively. Which makes it extremely steep.
The bridge is ranked as one of the 24 top tourist attractions in Sakaiminato and it is not uncommon for thrill seekers to rent a car just to drive up and down the Eshima Ohashi Bridge.
See the bridge in action in the video below and get a sense of the fear and fun factor that it invokes.