The Wakimachi Sensui Bridge in the city of Mima, Tokushima, is known for its scenic views of the Yoshino River and its splendid sunset views.
The Yoshino river is the second-longest in Shikoku, and has been named as one of the three greatest in all of Japan, with the river system spanning across four different prefectures. It is a popular spot for sightseeing, fishing, rafting, and photography.
The sensui (“diving”, or “submerged”) bridge is rather unique in its design, as it is intended to be underwater during the event of a flood, which is interesting to consider when you see the many cars, cyclists, and occasional pedestrians wandering across it on a regular basis. The bridge lacks parapets, which could be broken off and washed away in severe conditions.
A Top Photography Location in Tokushima
While scenic and picturesque during the day, the bridge is at its most impressive during sunrise and sunset hours, with the sun glowing a striking orange colour above distant layered mountains on the horizon.
Many locals come to the bridge to watch the famous sunset, and there is a small assortment of photography enthusiasts who regularly come to take some impressive photos of the event. This small crowd ranges from elderly local people walking their dogs and stopping to take some pictures on their phone cameras to full-blown photography enthusiasts with thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, gigantic camera lenses, and portable chairs for maximum comfort.
There are a number of good angles from which to observe the bridge, although it would be recommended to position yourself on one of the small elevated spots on the north side, closer to the famous Udatsu Street nearby, for optimal views of the setting sun.
The atmosphere during sunset hours is quite special, with most people in various states of contemplation and happiness. While the people taking photos are often in various locations and different spots, everyone is simultaneously engaged in silent appreciation and wonder at the natural beauty of the scene.
Traditional Japanese Architecture and Timeless Scenery
A suggested course of action would be to explore the rich local history, traditional Japanese architecture, and modern cuisine of the Udatsu Street during the day, before heading down to watch the sunset later in the evening.
There are a number of excellent cafes and restaurants nearby, as well as a variety of beautiful Edo period buildings that are a must-see for anyone interested in historical Japanese buildings. Try not to lose track of time before the sun sets!
Just a little to the east of the Sensui Bridge is another bridge, exclusive for pedestrian use, which provides an easy route directly back to the local train station, as well as an alternative view of the Yoshino River. However, for those wanting to stay in the area to see the equally impressive sunrise the next morning, there are several accommodation options available in the Mima area.
How to get to Mima by train
Getting to Mima is not difficult. The closest regional centre and most convenient starting point would be Tokushima City, but it is not too far away from any of Shikoku’s prefectural capitals.
The local station is JR Anabuki, which is on the Tokushima line. There is a direct connection between Tokushima City and Anabuki Station which takes exactly one hour.
It is also possible to get to Anabuki Station by transit from other regional centres such as Matsuyama City and Takamatsu City. The easiest connection for these two locations would be to travel to Tadotsu, before heading south on the Dosan line to Tsukuda Station. After that, you can make your way to Anabuki on the Tokushima Line.
After arriving at Anabuki Station, it is easiest to get a local taxi to the Udatsu Street, which is located a short walk up from the river and bridge area. There are generally plenty of available taxi services waiting directly in front of the station.
It is of course also possible to drive to Mima using your own vehicle from any of the aforementioned cities, while observing plenty of pleasant nature views and traditional Japanese housing.
Recommended Driving Routes to Mima/Anabuki Station from Tokushima, Takamatsu, Kochi, and Matsuyama
Driving from Tokushima City to Anabuki Station (48 minutes with toll roads)
Driving from Takamatsu City to Anabuki Station (1 hour and 14 minutes.)
Driving from Kochi City to Anabuki Station (1 hour and 39 minutes, tolls included.)
Driving from Matsuyama City to Anabuki Station (2 hours and 2 minutes, tolls included.)
Wakimachi Sensui Bridge – Related links and information:
Wakimachi Sensui Bridge
JR Anabuki Station
A travel writer and wildlife enthusiast currently based in Shikoku, Japan. Having previously lived in New Zealand, I'm especially interested in exploring places with a focus on ecotourism and the natural environment. Highlights of my experience in Japan so far include being mobbed by rabbits on Ōkunoshima, sleeping in a beachside Mongolian yurt on the art island of Naoshima, and countless trips around the many natural wonders of Shikoku.
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