[JAPAN 2014] Day 5: Akashi Kaikyo Bridge Tour

DAY 5 (17 May 2014): Kyoto Day 1
- Okayama & Kurashiki (...for like 5 minutes)
- Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
- Off to Kyoto

OK, so my last post mentioned that we didn't managed to get the overnight train (which would've been so cool :'( ) so had to make do with the earliest train in the morning. We arrived in Okayama at 11am and I thought we wouldn't have too much time in Okayama and decided to head directly to Kurashiki.

Unfortunately when we arrived in Kurashiki, the tourist info center mentioned that the canal area is a bit too far off and we need more time than we could spare.

So we dejectedly had coffee at Starbucks and killed time waiting for the next train back to Okayama and head off to Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Kobe.

BUT we thoroughly enjoyed the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge tour! If you have the time, you should definitely join it - it's free, you just need to reserve your spots on your selected date, although I think it only runs every Tuesday if I'm not mistaken. The men who will bring you on this tour are the actual engineers who are doing the bridge maintenance so they are very knowledgeable - unfortunately my basic Japanese doesn't really cover technical engineering terms all that well so we weren't able to get more in depth info. During the tour you're provided with an English audio guide though, so that's plenty enough for us. And the view from above more than makes up for it.

Initially, I found out about the bridge tour from my previous company, a bridge construction management company. I was supposed to go for a visit there with several ex-colleagues but it didn't pan out because the company was wishy-washy lol. So in the end I thought, "Well I'd be near Kobe, why the heck not?" and so we went :)

You're first given a briefing by the "tour guides" (who were elderly engineer men in our case) in a classroom like setting before you start the tour. A video was shown on the history of the bridge construction, and for foreign tourists they will give you an English audio for you to listen to during the whole tour. After the video, we were taken to the museum where there were more information on the Akashi Kaikyo construction methodology and history (which were honestly interesting!) I wish my Japanese was better so that I could've understood the more detailed information on the bridge. 

After a turn around the museum, we were then taken to the bridge deck!

Bring proper walking shoes!

Our awesome guide-cum-engineer

*hums Star Trek theme*
To boldly go, where no man has gone before!

Overall we really enjoyed the bridge tour - it wasn't something people would normally do on a visit to Japan, but if you're anywhere near Kobe and are interested in visiting the unseen parts of the bridge, do apply for the tour at the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge website! You're also given a certificate with the group tour photo when you've completed the tour, so it's a nice memento to keep as well ;)

After we finished, we shopped a little bit for some snacks at the nearby supermarket since we'd be arriving quite late in Kyoto.

These are so cute, I want 100 of them.

Afterwards, we made our way to Gion, Kyoto where we'll be staying for one night.

Go to Day 4 (Mt Fuji Shibazakura Festival)) | Day 6 (Kyoto)

Japan 2014 Masterpost