Remembering this wonderful bridge in Kobe

Published August 27, 2021, 5:51 PM

by R-Wayne F. Lipardo

Over the next few years, our country will have new bridges, namely the Cebu-Cordova Bridge, Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, and the proposed Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge. These bridges will become part of our nation’s identity and tourism asset, and they are led by the iconic San Juanico Bridge, which connects the provinces of Samar and Leyte.

I have seen and crossed various bridges here in our country and abroad. But one of the most memorable for me is a bridge located in Japan, specifically in the city of Kobe.

This was in 2019 before the pandemic. I visited Japan together with friends for the second time and we decided to include Kobe as part of our itinerary.

In 1995, Kobe was in the news because it was struck by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake. It devastated the city’s infrastructure and resulted in more than 5,000 casualties. I was curious to know how this seventh largest city in Japan rebuilt its environment and how its people moved on from that unfortunate event.

Train to Kobe

On our last day in Osaka, we rode a train for an hour heading to Kobe. The view from our train was a visual delight as we saw the harmonious mix of modern and traditional Japanese houses as well as these orderly arranged farmlands.

Train station to Kobe.

Upon our arrival at Kobe’s Maiko train station, I was surprised to see this magnificent gigantic bridge – the Akashi Kaikyo suspension bridge.

Postcard view comes to life

When I saw the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, it felt like I was looking at a postcard that came to life. For me, it looked like the Asian version of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

The tourist in me couldn’t help but take pictures of every angle because I know it may take years before I could see this bridge up close (this turned out to be true as we are still in a pandemic).

An engineering marvel

We walked toward the bridge and visited a museum nearby where I learned more about the structure. The bridge was opened in 1998 and is considered one the longest and tallest suspension bridges in the world. It connects the city of Kobe to the island of Honshu and Awaji.

The author poses beside the bridge.

Final moments in Kobe

The bridge was partially destroyed during the 1995 earthquake despite the fact that it was designed to withstand an 8.5-magnitude earthquake. During our visit, I noticed that the city of Kobe was already in good shape. There were no traces of the destruction before, maybe because it happened almost two decades ago.

The surrounding area of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge was so peaceful. The sea beneath this famous bridge was calming to look at. The ambience was romantic for couples, and relaxing for the young and old. After a walk and stroll at the foot of this bridge, we decided to call it a day, took some photos for our souvenir, and headed back to Osaka.