I recently saw a link going around to this article on MuscleCarsZone.com, titled “The SCARIEST Looking BRIDGE Is In Japan! Could You Handle Driving Over It?! Watch The Exclusive 2 Videos!” My first thought was, “Hhm, I wonder if that’s the Eshima Bridge?” Little surprise that I was right, as it is the third longest PC Rahmen style bridge in the world, so high at its apex–44m, 70cm above the surface of Lake Nakaumi–that 5,000 ton capacity ships can pass underneath.

Click for source (Asahi Shimbun). What I find more notable is the FamilyMart at the bottom. It has the biggest combini parking lot I've ever seen! Any time I'm in the car with someone we always have to wonder why it needs such a massive parking lot, though one guess is that it's for the photographers you sometimes see lined up at the side of the road to take shots like this one.

Click for source (Asahi Shimbun). What I find more notable is the FamilyMart at the bottom. It has the biggest combini parking lot I’ve ever seen! Any time I’m in the car with someone we always have to wonder why it needs such a massive parking lot, though one guess is that it’s for the photographers you sometimes see lined up at the side of the road to take shots like this one.

However, it seems the name has changed to “Betafumizaka”–“Floor It Hill”–after being featured in a car commercial in December of 2013 as a steep incline where you have to put the pedal to the medal. The Japanese blogosphere refers to it that way, but all I hear here is still Eshima Bridge, seeing as it connects Sakaiminato City, Tottori Prefecture, with Eshima Island of Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture. eshima2 Scary though it appears, I can’t remember if I felt nervous my first time crossing it or not. Any time I’ve ridden a bus between Sakaiminato and Matsue or between Yonago Airport and Matsue it’s been on this route (making it very accessible to tourists), and I’ve gone a number of times in private cars as well–including getting stuck in a traffic jam once during Golden Week. It’s high, but it ceased to feel special long ago! You can get more of the sense of a commuter’s view of it on this blog. That said, on a good day, it’s one of the best views of Mt. Daisen around, and Lake Nakaumi and Daikonshima are already so scenic that views of the bridge accentuate that. The Sanin Department Store Blog has a lot of nice photos!

Click for source.

Considering its safe track record, it’s not the scariest bridge in Matsue. That award would have to go to Azukitogi Bridge, leading to Fumon-in Temple, or Matsue Ohashi Bridge across the Ohashi River, as both of those bridges have ghostly stories attached to them.

When the city of Matsue was founded shortly after the historical battle of Sekigahara which thrust Japan into the Tokugawa system of government, protecting one’s samurai lord from attack was of prime importance. Therefore the entire city was planned around the castle–and protecting it.

Thankfully the castle is still unscathed by anything more than time, and while many of the other measures are clearly no longer in effect so as to allow free flow of commoners into the castle grounds, you can still find evidence of these measures throughout the city. For instance, if I take the neighborhood route on the way home from work, I run into this.


Where did the road go? I could have sworn I saw a bridge around here!


Oh, there it is.

In modern times, we’d write this off to pour city planning, but infact this was intended to make continuing straight on a little more difficult. This way, when armies are invading, they have to slow down to march around a tight corner before they can continue across. There are a couple other sites like this in town, and this one is called “Sujikaibashi”.

To the north of the bridge, there was a clearing so that the samurai on the defense could have an easy place to start shooting them with arrows. Furthermore, the bridge was engineered in such a way that it could be very quickly burned down when enemies were approaching.


The area had it’s practical everyday uses, too. This is what remains of the steps now to the canal for everyday water transport.

Another view from the north…

And a view looking west–depending on the time of day, you could blind approaching attackers!