Selections from Go! Go! Tomocchi!

Omotemon Bashi: The Bridge to Dejima

25Apr 2017 tomocchi

Hello! It’s Tomocchi

The other day, Dejima was connected to the mainland by a bridge for the first time in 130 years!!



During the Japanese period of national isolation 370 years ago this man-made, fan-shaped island called “Dejima” was the only place in Japan to be opened to the West. And the only way to enter the island was over a single bridge attached to the opposite bank. That bridge was about 4.5 meters long.



All the newest people, goods, and culture that flowed through Dejima had to cross that bridge to reach Edo (modern-day Tokyo) or any other part of the country.



In the Meiji era that came later (in the latter half of the 1800s), Dejima ceased to be used as a place of importation, the surrounding area was also reclaimed and built up. Dejima became just another part of the city so the bridge was demolished…





On February 27th, 2017 a new bridge was placed in the same spot where the Edo Period bridge was after 130 years of absence!



The new bridge is about 38 meters long and weights around 50 tons!

Due to construction and other work since the Meiji Era the whole area around Dejima has changed, including the width of the river separating it from the main land. Because of this they couldn’t remake the bridge out of stone, but rather had to use metal.



In order to protect Dejima, which is an historic relic of the country, they decided not to build a foundation of support on the island. Instead, using the principle of leverage, the bridge will balance and be supported only from the side of the bridge on the opposite bank. Isn’t that amazing?! (゚д゚)

Below is my report of the night before that gigantic bridge was set in place. I followed it on its short but painstaking journey to the placement site.





The bridge was made at Oshima Shipyard in Saikai city then transported by sea to Nagasaki city’s Seaside Park. From there it was slowly and carefully transported 800 meters on a trailer from the park, past the Prefectural Art Museum and the Nagasaki Customs Office all the way to the Kencho Ura Road (the road behind the prefectural office).

The nervousness of the workers transporting the bridge mingled in the air with the excitement of the onlookers and it made for a tense atmosphere.







It sticks over both sides of the road!! Above is the bridge being carried slowly on a 24-wheel trailer (or dolly). The sound of this heavy machinery really packs a punch!!






It took about an hour for the truck to arrive at the site for the bridge. In the picture above you can see the bridge being lifted by a 550-ton crane!! Seeing a 38 meter, 50-ton bridge suspended in midair is so intense!!

It was placed next to the site of the bridge, left to wait for the placement event scheduled for the morning of the 27th.






Monday, February 27th, the day of the placing of the bridge.

The event began at 8:30 in the morning at Dejima and before you knew it the commemorative plates, castella, and coffee reserved for the first 200 guests was gone.

Then at 10am the placing of the bridge began!! The time has finally come!!

And with the coordinating shouts of the workers the 550-ton crane holding the bridge began to creep to motion.






“It’s going up!!”

Applause from the huge crowd and the cheers from the children help push the bridge into motion in this historic moment. As if the crane actually hears the cheers from the crowd it takes the bridge slowly towards Dejima.





“Today’s a special day!” remark some ladies in traditional kimono, bringing a bit of extra color to the event.






In the midst of all the excitement, the bridge takes about 15 minutes to get into place.

It weighs as much as 10 elephants! (lol)

Speaking of elephants, the one that went to the Japanese capital during the Edo period must have passed over the old bridge right here ☆ (I wish I could see one pass through here again ♪)





Standing on Dejima, I watched the outside world (the opposite side of the bank) from the same perspective of those that lived here so long ago. This is the beginning of Dejima’s new history (´∀`)♪






Before noon the wires from the crane were removed and the placement of the bridge was complete.

Visitors will actually be able to cross the bridge to Dejima when the placement is completely finished. The date set for that is November 24th of this year.

Also there is to be a charming little park made on the opposite bank of Dejima where the bridge connects.

At night it’ll all be lit up and be a great place for couples to stroll!

It’ll be made into a space where you can enjoy events like Nagasaki Kunchi from a stepped terrace with Dejima in the background.

There are lots of developments coming up so keep your eye on Dejima!!