You can see everything about the Seto Ohashi Bridge – its history, techniques, and how it was built – right here! / Seto Ohashi Commemorative Hall (Sakaide-shi, Kagawa)

The exhibition facility which displays everything about the “Seto Ohashi” bridge.

“Seto Ohashi (The Great Seto Bridge)” celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018.
The “Seto Ohashi Commemorative Hall,” which is located near the bridge, is the facility which shows you its history, techniques, construction, etc. through moving models and video.
There is no entrance fee, so you can feel free to go and visit this hall!

4 exhibition spaces are connected with corridors.
There are 3 big displays for video and a topographical model explaining the history of Setouchi Inland Sea in the first exhibition room.
You will find some well-known characters from history, such as Kukai (one of the most well-known Buddhist monks in Japan) and Hideyoshi Toyotomi (a feudal lord and chief imperial minister in the 16th century) in the videos.
You can see that the Setouchi Inland Sea has been a point of strategic importance from the ancient time.
However, the sea between Okayama and Kagawa has often been fogged up, resulting almost constantly in tragedies from maritime accidents.

The plan to build a bridge over the sea was advocated for the first time in 1889.
The Seto Ohashi Bridge was completed through an unimaginably difficult construction process in 1988, 100 years after it was first proposed.

The highlight of the exhibitions here is the corner explaining the entire aspect of the 9.5-year construction process, with moving models and video.
Moving models bring the construction of the bridge back to life here.
You can see how a huge excavator dug the bedrock and foundation base in depths of 50m under the water, and also the assembly process of the bridge’s piers (towers) at the height of 200m above the sea level with gigantic cranes.
Kids who love mechanics will be excited by these models, for sure!

The Seto Ohashi is one of the biggest multi-purpose bridges (road and rail) in the world.
When the trains run on the bridge, the rails bend with their weight.
This structure enables the bridge to bear the radical changes of weight.
Huge, but so delicate….
The structures for the bridge use highly wrought techniques, like a precision instruments, and you can learn the main points about them from the various models and videos here.

Moreover, the spectacular video contents are put on a big whole-sky/all-around screen with a multi-audio system in the Bridge Theater.
These movies show you the beauty of Seto Ohashi, sightseeing information on Kagawa – and there is even one about outer space waiting for you!

The facility itself doubles as an observation deck for Seto Ohashi!

When you go up to the roof on the building, a fantastic view of Seto Ohashi catches your eyes.

The design of this building is like a Western castle in Europe.
Actually, the turrets at the four corners are the best spot to see the bridge and the sea even they are a little bit lower than the highest floor.
A green lawn and colorful azalea flowers adorn the garden in the middle of May.

The observation lounge on the ground floor also has special seats for the great view.
You can have a relaxing time with a cup of coffee at the café here (open on weekends and national holidays).

There are many good spots for walking around the hall, so let’s take a walk.
Especially interesting is “the water corridor” on the south side of the hall, which portrays the suspension bridges and cable stayed bridges of the Seto Ohashi using fountains, while the paving stones represent the islands in Setouchi Inland Sea.

The area on the east-side is called “Hama Ritsurin” and is an imitation of “Ritsurin Park,” (←リンク of the most scenic spots in Kagawa.
Don’t miss the “Kuguridaki Waterfall” (a waterfall you can pass under) with 3-meter falls which might tickle your adventurous spirit!

The “Seto Ohashi Commemorative Hall” was re-opened as the pavilion for “the Great Seto Bridge Exhibition” held in 1988 which celebrated the opening the bridge.
The “Seto Ohashi Tower” and the “Kagawa Prefectural Higashiyama Kaii Setouchi Art Museum” are neighbors of the hall.
It would make a nice trip to explore this area, enjoy the scenery of Setouchi, and see some art.

Seto Ohashi Commemorative Hall (in the Seto Ohashi Memorial Park)
Address/6-13, Midori-cho, Bannosu, Sakaide-shi, Kagawa
Phone/0877-45-2344(Administrative Association of Seto Ohashi Memorial Park)
Open/9:00~17:00 (Last Admission: 16:30)
Closed/Mondays (Closed on Tuesday when the Monday is a national holiday) and December 29th to January 1st
*Open every day during the Golden Week and summer vacation period
Admission fee/Free
Parking lot/Available (for free)
Nearest station /around 15 minutes by bus or taxi from JR Sakaide Station

Photographs and text by Hironobu Matsuoka

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Written by

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka

Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.


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