The Amakusa Five Bridges Kyushu Japan are a must-see!

Matsushima Bridge

One of the major attractions that make this place a must-visit is the Amakusa Five Bridges. Spanning across the inlets between Shimabara Bay and Yatsushiro Sea, these bridges not only serve as crucial transport links between the Amakusa islands and the mainland of Kyushu but also as a testament to the architectural mastery of Japan.

Location of the Five Bridges of Amakusa

The Amakusa Five Bridges, Kyushu, Japan, connect the mainland of Kyushu (Uto Peninsula in Kumamoto) to the Amakusa Islands, linking the islands of Ōyano-jima, Nagaura-jima, Ike-jima, and Maeshima.

History of the Amakusa Five Bridges

The Amakusa Islands have long been ideal for fishing, mining, and farming, but their progress was slowed by the inadequate transportation network. In 1936, Mori, a member of the prefectural assembly, suggested building bridges to link the Amakusa Islands.

However, at that time, Japanese technology was not advanced enough, so the idea remained unrealized for many years. It wasn’t until 1961 that the construction was approved to begin.

From 1962 to 1966, five bridges were completed, known as the Amakusa Five Bridges. This led to a surge in tourism and enabled the transportation of various industries between Kumamoto City and the islands, boosting economic activity.

Characteristics of the Five Bridges of Amakusa

Each of the Amakusa Five Bridges has unique characteristics, so it’s recommended to take a leisurely walk and see them all. Now, let’s explore the features of each bridge.

Bridge 1: Tenmon Bridge

The Tenmon Bridge connects Uki City in Kumamoto Prefecture and Kami-Amakusa City. It serves as a route for ships entering and leaving Mikado Port and Yatsushiro Port, and it is designed to allow passage for large vessels. At the time of its construction, the bridge was the longest in the world at 502 meters.

Bridge 2: Ōyano Bridge

This bridge connects Ōyano-jima and Nagaura-jima in Kami-Amakusa City. It is constructed in a cantilever truss form and spans over 150 meters, making it the first of its kind in Japan.

Bridge 3: Nakano Bridge

Nakano Bridge connects Nagaura-jima and Ōike-jima in Kami-Amakusa City. It is a PC cable-stayed bridge with a concrete span of 160 meters, ranking among the top in the world for its design.

Bridge 4: Maejima Bridge

Maejima Bridge connects Ōike-jima and Maeshima in Kami-Amakusa City and boasts the longest span among the five bridges. It is designed with a low sea level to allow for a scenic view.

Bridge 5: Matsushima Bridge

This bridge is the first full-scale red pipe arch bridge in Japan, connecting Maeshima and Amakusa Kamishima in Kami-Amakusa City. It adds to the scenic beauty of the Amakusa Matsushima, which is counted as one of Japan’s three most scenic Matsushima.

Other Amakusa bridges

Ushibuka Haiya bridge

As Amakusa is an area consisting of over one hundred islands, there are many unique bridges apart from the Amakusa Five Bridges. Among them, we will pick out and introduce some must-see bridges.

Ushibuka Haiya Ōhashi Bridge

Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, this 883-meter-long bridge passes over the Ushibuka Fishing Port and leads to the Atohama New Fishing Port. It is characterized by windbreak panels that evoke the silvery scales of fish, and its nighttime illumination is particularly popular as a tourist attraction.

Ushibuka, a traditional Kyushu port town of Rich History in Japan

Amakusa Mirai Ohashi Bridge

The Amakusa Seto Ohashi was the sole bridge connecting Kamishima and Shimoshima, and it suffered from chronic traffic congestion. To address this issue, the Amakusa Mirai Ohashi was built and opened in February 2023. As a result, travelers now have the option to use the Amakusa Seto Ohashi to the north or the Amakusa Mirai Ohashi to the south, depending on their destination.

Amakusa Seto Ohashi Bridge

From 1974 until February 2023, the Amakusa Seto Ohashi Bridge was the only bridge linking Kamishima and Shimoshima in Amakusa. The bridge spans were designed to accommodate the height of ships, and both ends of the bridge are looped to ensure clearance from the sea surface.This 700-meter-long bridge has loops at both ends. 

Hondo Seto Pedestrian Bridge

Located on the south side of the Honmudose Ohashi Bridge, which links Kamishima and Shimoshima, this pedestrian-only bridge is known as the “Red Bridge” by locals.It is one of only two movable pedestrian bridges in Kyushu, opening and closing each time a ship passes through, operated by a supervisor.

The steep slope of the Amakusa Seto Ohashi Bridge made it difficult to cross with bicycles or old-fashioned carts, which led to the construction of a pedestrian-only bridge.

If you’re traveling to Japan and visiting Amakusa Islands, passing through these Amakusa Five bridges is a recommended route. INAKAdventure can provide a tailored trip to meet your needs with the support of local guides. Let’s make the Amakusa Islands tour, a highlight of the Kyushu trip, a reality! 

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