Viewers of Japanese TV may recognize this bridge as it is the setting for a car commercial that is currently being shown. It is the 1780m long Tsunoshima Bridge, and when it was built in 2000 it was the longest toll-free bridge in Japan. Since then a longer bridge has been built in Okinawa.
Tsunoshima is just off the coast of north eastern Yamaguchi Prefecture. A little over 4 square kilometers in size, and with a coastline of 17 kilometers, less than 1000 people live there, but the bridge cost a staggering 15,000,000,000 yen, which works out at about 150,000 USD per inhabitant.
Tsunoshima means "Horn Island" and refers to the shape of island like a pair of cow horns. Cattle have been raised here since the eighth century.
There is a fine beach on the island that attracts swimmers and even surfers.
The first modern lighthouse on the Japan Sea coast is here, it was the last of 26 lighthouses built in Japan in 1876 by the "Father of Japanese Lighthouses", Briton Richard Henry Burton (1841–1901).
Makizaki Point is the tip of the north east "horn" of the island and is a great place to watch the sunset with more than 180 degrees of view over the ocean. There is a camp site here.
The island is part of the Kitanagato Coastal National Park.
Getting to Tsunoshima is best by car, the bridge is by car, about 45 minutes north of Shimonoseki off the coast road, route 191.
From JR Kotti and JR Takibe stations (San-in line) there is a bus to the island.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008