Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge
There’s a place in Oita Prefecture where you can feel like you’re on the top of the world – literally. Hanging at an altitude of 173m above the flowing Naruko River, the Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge (九重夢大吊橋; Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi) is Japan’s highest suspension bridge.
At such a height, the bridge offers its visitors a bird’s eye view of the Kuju Mountain range and its surrounding scenery. And the best part is that you don’t have to pack any hiking gear to enjoy this gravity-defying experience.
Japan’s highest suspension bridge
Image credit: kako
The Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge opened on 30th October 2006. The 390m-long bridge stretches across the Naruko River and is suspended at 173m high – that’s almost twice the height of the Statue of Liberty.
From the bridge, you can get a panoramic view of the towering mountains of the Kuju Mountain range and feel the misty air against your skin. Occasionally, you’ll also find yourself shrouded in fog.
Image credit: Daniel Cheung
Standing on the bridge certainly feels dreamlike, but that’s not the reason why it’s called “Kokonoe Yume”, which translates to “Kokonoe’s Dream”.
In fact, the bridge was named by the locals. Considering how the construction of the bridge was entirely funded by contributions from the community, its completion certainly makes it a dream come true for the locals.
Image credit: @necomoshpit
Over the years, the pedestrian bridge has become Oita’s treasured attraction. Growing from a modest 1 million visitors in 2007 to 11 million in 2018, the increasingly popular bridge has attracted families, daredevils, and photographers who simply cannot resist the astounding views offered by the bridge.
Best time to visit Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge
Image credit: @tncshes86608
A great time to visit the Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge is during the autumn, in November. During this period, you’ll find crimson foliage dotting the surrounding mountains.
However, according to the official website, the sky grows dark at around 4PM from autumn to spring, which is around late October to late March. Thus, it’s advisable to visit the bridge earlier in the day.
Image credit: 九重“夢”大吊橋
You can also visit during winter, from around January to February, when the surrounding scenery transforms into a winter wonderland.
Image credit: キタローちゃんねる
Wrap yourself up with warm clothing and take a walk through the bridge during the frosty season. You’ll be able to soak in the sight of expansive white blankets of snow that cover the mountains.
Image credit: KUNI YS
If you’re unable to catch the views in the autumn and winter, fret not as the scenery is equally stunning in spring and summer.
Watch out for the Shindo Falls along the walk. The Shindo Falls – ranked amongst the Top 100 Waterfalls in Japan – consists of 3 waterfalls, and the largest waterfall cascades from 88m up above.
How to get to Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge
Image credit: Rin K
As it’s an outdoor attraction, the Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge is closed during bad weather. Therefore, you’d want to check the weather forecast before heading down. Do note that no pets are allowed on the bridge, and that you’re not to lose your purchased tickets along the way until you exit the bridge.
Getting there: At Bungo-Nakamura Station, located along the Kyudai Main Line, take the community bus to the bridge.
Address: 1208 Tano, Kokonoe, Kusu District, 879-4911 Oita
Opening hours: 8.30AM-5PM (Jan – Aug & Nov – Dec) | 8.30AM-6PM (Sep – Oct) (Ticket counter closes 30 minutes before closing time)
Admission: ¥500 (~USD4.60) for ages over 13, ¥200 (~USD1.84) for ages between 6-12; free for children under 6.
For other places to visit, check out:
- Tozan Shrine has a torii gate made of porcelain
- Otaru Canal which inspired Canalave City in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
- Japanese bathhouses for an inexpensive soak
- Authentic Japanese ramen places
- Awashima Shrine houses over 20,000 dolls