The mighty Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Akashi (明石) is a city in Hyogo prefecture, Japan, to the west of Kobe.
Despite its name, the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge (明石海峡大橋) is not located in Akashi. This longest suspension bridge in the world connects Awaji Island to Honshu via the city of Kobe.
Akashi is on the JR Sanyō Main Line between Kobe (15 min from Sannomiya) and Himeji (25 min).
The Shinkansen passes through Akashi at Nishi-Akashi (西明石) station. The Kodama, Hikari, and some eastbound Nozomi trains stop here.
The JR station and ferry are within easy walking distance of each other.
Akashi Castle in Akashi Park (明石公園). Akashi Castle is only ruins now with just two turrets and stone walls remaining. The area surrounding the castle is a big park that is popular during cherry blossom season. The park is about a 5 minute walk from Akashi Station.
- Akashi Planetarium, (Busses leave from Akashi Station regularly, but isn't too far to walk.). A great stop for the science fans. It's safe to assume that there won't be any English shows or tours but if you're content with just watching the pretty lights, are a huge science buff or are looking for a place to take a girl on a date it's worth a go.
- Akashi Brewery, (Located near Eigashima Station on the Sanyo line. Take a local train and it's only about 5 stops along.). A brewery that makes the local top drop, Akashi Beer. It's won numerous awards and is famous (albiet a little pricey) but people looking for a tour and a good drop should enjoy this destination. There is also a restaurant attached which has views of the ocean and Awaji Island.
- The beach, (Beached areas can be found dotted all along the coast of Akashi). While not spectacular, for people looking to cool off or hang out in the summer this is a nice alternative. While not as packed, jamming or popular as Suma beach, people wanting a more relaxed scene or looking for somewhere to take kids and family should be pleased. Some seaside shops (海の店) are dotted along the sand in the summer months too. Fireworks are banned on the beach. The sand is course and the water is a little dirty. There are no waves either, which is good for kids or relaxing.
Akashi is a major port particularly well known for its seafood, retailing local specialities like sea bream (タイ tai), octopus (タコ tako) and conger eel (穴子 anago).
- Uo no Tana Shotengai (魚の棚商店街), . Huge seafood market retailing everything that swims, creeps, crawls or just sits on the sea bottom. Unlike Tokyo's Tsukiji, this is actively tourist-friendly, with lots of prepared produce for souvenirs and restaurants for eating the stuff. On the road between station and port.
- Malls and shopping districts, (Near Tarumi Sta. and Ookubo Sta.). While nothing like Osaka, if you're looking for a department store to get some retail therapy there are a few options within Akashi. Tarumi is famous for some of its department stores and right infront of Ookubo Station is a huge department store that goes for 3 blocks. Ookubo's also houses a huge food court as well as a cinema if you're looking to catch a movie.
Akashi's claim to culinary fame is Akashiyaki (明石焼き), an eggy version of the ubiquitous takoyaki (octopus balls), often dipped into dashi broth before eating.
- Akashi's also famous for its seaweed (明石のり) and its Bream (鯛).
- Murphy's Irish Bar, Summit City Building 1F, Aioi-Cho, Akashi, Japan, 673-0882 (From JR Akashi station, head south across highway 2 past the Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, towards the ferry terminal. Take the last left turn before the next set of lights and head east towards the orange signs about 400m in the distance.), ☎ 078-9145911, . 20:00-03:00. This comfy bar is hidden in the middle of Akashi's comparatively large hostess bar district, on the ground floor of a nondescript white tiled building. The owner David is of a rare breed, an Irish bar owner who is actually from Ireland. The bar is a labour of love, the decorations growing and changing constantly. David's right-hand man, manager 'Rodem', knows far too much about Scotch and other whiskey. A real cosy place for Guinness on tap and a good chat. The sofas fill up quickly, and are a good place to hole up and watch the night unfold. 500yen~. (34.645725,134.995950)
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