Introduction of Kokonoe Dream Suspension Bridge
This 390-meter-long suspension bridge was opened on October 30, 2006, at the 777-meter-high point in the Naruko River Valley in Aso Kuju National Park (Tano, Kokono, Kuju-gun, Oita Prefecture).
With a height of 173m from the riverbed, it is the highest humanitarian suspension bridge in Japan and a walkway in the sky.
It used to be the longest suspension bridge in Japan, but now it has been replaced by the Mishima Skywalk (400m) at the western foot of Hakone, which opened in 2015.
Sightseeing Kokonoe Dream Suspension Bridge
The dynamic beauty of the scenery that changes its expression every season at Kokonoe-yume-Ohtsuribashi (Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge) is also very wonderful.
Mt.Mimata and Mt.Wakubuta lie in the distance, as well as other majestic “Kujyu Mountains".
From the bridge, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Shindou Falls (Male and Female Falls), one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls, and the beautiful autumn leaves of Gusetsukei (Naruko River Valley) from the bridge.
The loud roar coming from the shuddering waterfall is also powerful.
There are a male waterfall with a drop of 83m and a female waterfall with a drop of 98m, but it was impossible to see the whole picture of these two waterfalls before the completion of the Kokonoe Dream Suspension Bridge.
Enjoy the feeling of being a bird.
The Kuju Dream Suspension Bridge is designed to carry about 1800 people (the admission limit is 800 people) and can withstand wind speed up to 65m and earthquake of seismic intensity up to 7.
If there are a lot of people crossing, the center of the bridge may be a little bumpy, but it’s still thrilling and fun.
If the wind is strong, it will swing and shake, so if you are afraid, hold on to the railing.
Sometimes there are people who can’t stand because of the shaking and crawl on all fours on the suspension bridge…
There is a thrill spot in the middle of the bridge, where you can peer down and see the unimaginable pristine forests of the Naruko River Valley.
Please note that high heels and canes are dangerous, as some of them have grating construction of metal floorboards like this.
The bridge, which has nothing to do with the road, was built to promote tourism in the wake of the 1975 earthquake in the central part of Oita Prefecture, which was the largest vertical earthquake of the postwar period.
The total cost of the project was about 2 billion yen, but it was not subsidized by the government or the prefecture, and the town of Kokonoe, which has a population of about 10,000 people, borrowed 1,734 million yen on its own.
The annual target was easily cleared after only 24 days from the opening, and the big operation to escape poverty of the town succeeded.
In 2017, the total number of visitors exceeded 10 million, making it one of the most popular tourist spots in Oita Prefecture.
It could be said that the town’s revitalization, which is called “the best thing in Japan," was a success.
At the same time, Kyushu’s largest ski resort, Kokonoe Forest Park Ski Area, which was designed as a reconstruction project and opened in 1996 with 2.5 billion yen from the private sector, has also been a success.
It has become a valuable winter employer, creating jobs for approximately 120 residents of Kokonoe Town.
Profits from the tolls on the bridge are also returned to the town’s residents by providing free medical care for the town’s elementary and junior high school students and nearly free vaccines for cervical cancer.
There is also a store at the north gate that sells local vegetables.
It is also nice and elegant to have the certified Dream Suspension Bridge burger for lunch.
The best time to visit is during the autumn leaves.
The “yellow leaves" of the ginkgo trees at the Shiratori Shrine are also famous.
If you enter the gate of the Kokonoe Dream Suspension Bridge and go down the promenade to the Shindou no Taki (male waterfall) for about 10 minutes, you can also go to the waterfall observatory.
Opening hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from July to October, and ticket sales end at 4:30 p.m. from November to June.
In late autumn and early spring, it starts to get dark around 16:00.
Admission is 500 yen for junior high school students and older, 200 yen for elementary school students, and free for those under elementary school.
The ticket office is not at the entrance to the bridge, but at a stand near the entrance to the parking lot, so buy your ticket first and walk towards the bridge.
You can go back and forth on the bridge as many times as you like, as long as you don’t leave the gate.
Pets (dogs) are not allowed in the museum.
However, if you put your pet in a gauge, it is possible to keep it temporarily at the tourist information center in the Nakamura area and the ticket office on the north side.
Raincoats are a must, as the use of parasols and umbrellas are not allowed on rainy days.
Disposable raincoats (150 yen) are also available at the shop, but it is better to buy them at the 100 yen shop.
Transportation to the Kokonoe Dream Suspension Bridge
It is the way to go and access to the Kokonoe Dream Suspension Bridge, but it is a high-speed bus “Yofuin-go" (reservation only) from Tenjin BT of Fukuoka, get off at Kuju interchange, and get off at 大吊橋中村口(OhtsuribashiNakamuraguchi) by taxi or community bus.
When using the JR Kyudai Honsen, take a taxi or community bus from Bungo Nakamura Station and get off at the Nakamura exit of the Ootsusubashi Bridge.
The Kamenoi Bus operates a regular sightseeing bus from Beppu Onsen and Yufuin Onsen.
Wi-Fi is available in the parking lot for about 230 regular cars.
The sightseeing time of Kokonoe “Dream" Suspension Bridge is about 20 – 30 minutes for a simple round trip.
However, when it’s crowded, some people are slower to walk, so it takes longer than that.
On busy days, it may be better to use the parking lot on the north side of the gate on the other side of the suspension bridge.
The tour takes about 30-50 minutes.
On the way back, we recommend you to stop by the nearby hot springs, so bring a towel.
It’s so popular that it gets congested on weekends during the season, so be careful of accidents.
If you like the thrill of a bridge, Tokushima’s [Kazura Bridge] is also a good choice.