Formed from a huge rock, this natural bridge stands as tall as a ten-story building.
Onbashi is a natural bridge formed from a huge rock, which truly brings home the awesome mysteries of nature. This massive limestone rock, which originally dammed a river, was gradually eroded over the course of many months and years; eventually, this caused a hole to open up and it acquired its current form about 2 million years ago. Measuring 90 m long and 19 m wide, its height of 40 m makes it about as tall as a ten-story building. It has been designated as a natural monument, as well as being selected as one of Japan's top 100 bridges.
Given its scale, people in ancient times must have imagined that it had been created by some supernatural force. Perhaps because of this, a number of local towns have a legend that it was created by a god or demon from the mountains. Moreover, further downstream from Onbashi (which literally means "Male bridge") is its counterpart, a somewhat smaller natural bridge called Mebashi ("Female bridge").
Onbashi and Mebashi bridges were both formerly used for day-to-day transport purposes, but it is no longer possible to cross them, for safety reasons, and their function is now solely decorative. Nevertheless, they still have an overwhelming impact, even when you just stand and look up at them. They are located in the Taishaku Valley, a quasi-national park that has been designated by Japan as a Place of Scenic Beauty, so you can also enjoy a therapeutic walk in the woods when you visit.
Address: Taishakumido, Tojo-cho, Shobara City, Hiroshima
Phone: 08477-2-0525 (Taishakukyo Tourist Association)
Directions: (Car) 25 minutes from Tojo Station on the JR Geibi Line (about 3 and half hours from Shin-Osaka Station by Shinkansen)