Horai Bridge Shimada Shizuka World's Longest Wooden Bridge
Horai Bridge in Shimada near Shizuoka is the world's longest wooden bridge at 897 meters and has the Guinness Book of Records plaque to prove it. Horai Bridge is 2.87m wide and was built in 1879 crossing the Oi River.
Horai Bridge 蓬莱橋、静岡
Horai Bridge in Shimada near Shizuoka is the world's longest wooden bridge and has the Guinness Book of Records plaque to prove it.
Horai Bridge in Shimada, Shizuoka Prefecture is the world's longest wooden bridge
The bridge was first built in 1879 in the early Meiji Period to span the Oi River. The wooden supports were washed away in repeated floods and were replaced with concrete in 1965.
Guinness Book of Records plaque
The bridge is 897 meters (i.e. just over half a mile) in length and 2.87 meters wide. There is a 100 yen toll to walk the bridge. Be careful as the rail is low and strong winds can whip down the river valley. Horai Bridge has featured in a number of Japanese movies and is illuminated at night.
Horai Bridge, Shimada, Shizuoka
Shimada stands on the old Tokaido highway between Kyoto and Tokyo, now National Highway Route 1.
During the Edo Period, before the building of the Horai Bridge across the river, travelers would cross the river carried in a sedan chair (rendai) or for a cheaper price on the back of a waterman. The woodblock artist Hiroshige (1787-1858) depicts this scene in one of his famous works.
The fifty-stree stages of Tokaido by Hiroshige - Crossing a wide river
The river was left without a bridge on the orders of the Tokugawa shogunate as a defensive measure to slow down any enemy army advancing on Edo (Tokyo).
Each year in summer the Kawa-goshi (or Rendai-goshi) Matsuri re-enacts the crossing of the river in sedan chairs and on the backs of latter-day coolies.
Shimada has a number of other interesting festivals. The Obi Matsuri takes place only once every three years and includes parades of participants in Edo-era costume, mikoshi (portable shrines) and the display of wonderful wedding obi belts.
The next Obi Festival is October 12-14, this year.
The Shimada Mage Matsuri is held on the third Sunday in September and features a parade of the town's hairdressers and beauticians dressed in yukata robes modeling Edo-Period hair-dos.
Access - Getting to Horai Bridge
The nearest station is Shimada on the JR Tokaido Honsen Line. Coming by car the nearest Highway Exit is Yoshida Interchange on the Tomei (Tokyo-Nagoya) Expressway.
Information (in Japanese)