For the stars to align, it is said that that one needs to be at the right place at the right time. Easy to understand. Lets make a 2 x 2 matrix to construct possibilities around place and time. The examples below are just my personal thoughts, you may have your own contextual definitions.
|PLACE & TIME||Right Time||Wrong Time|
|Right Place||e.g. : Invest/Work with Mark Zuckerberg before Facebook became famous and earn billions||e.g. : Work at Apple after Steve Jobs was fired in 1985 and end up in a decade of decline|
|Wrong Place||???||e.g. : Be in Afghanistan/Syria at the time of the US invasion/campaign|
The one which confused me is “Can someone be in the wrong place but somehow the timing is right?”. Somehow, if it’s the wrong place it cannot be the right time to be there. I thought more and more and I was thrown back 4 years in time when I used to stay in Kobe. Let me explain.
Japan is experiencing a boom of incoming foreign tourists like never before and targets to the north of 20 million visitors annually looks like a cakewalk. The TIME to cash in on the foreign tourist dollars is RIGHT. Now for the sad part. Most of these tourists travel on the golden route of Tokyo-Fuji-Kyoto-Nara. Atleast the first time visitors do not explore beyond this track and hidden gems like Kobe fall off the map. So although the TIME is RIGHT, the PLACE is WRONG. Lets look at the example of Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge and Kobe’s Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.
|STATS : Akashi Kaikyo 3911 m long x 283 m tall vs the Rainbow Bridge at 798 m long x 126 m tall|
Just based on the statistics the Akashi Kaikyo is more than SIX times LONGER and TWICE as tall as Rainbow Bridge. When I moved from Kobe to Tokyo, the Rainbow Bridge felt like a miniature version of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. OK, OK, OK, I know that size is not everything, so lets look at the naming and illumination.
|NAMING : Rainbow illumination of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge|
All through the year the Rainbow Bridge wears this WHITISH look and only in the new year week, does it get its “Rainbow” colors. Contrast that with Akashi Kaikyo, no “rainbow” in the name, but daily illumination at the top of the hour changes to a rainbow shade which spectacularly reflects in the ocean waters below. See below.
|Top of the world view : AKASHI KAIKYO ONLY!!!!!NAMING : Rainbow illumination of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge|
This one is Akashi Kaikyo Bridge ONLY. Rainbow Bridge does not have top of the bridge view, except for a lucky lottery draw once a year for around 15 people. Akashi Kaikyo has a facility called as BRIDGE WORLD where you can register for a top of the world view tour. The regular routine is to attend a session for an hour, understand the history of the bridge and then a lifetime experience of scaling up the 99 floors of the bridge in an elevator and get this brilliant view of the Kobe side and Awaji Island side overlooking the bridge. SIMPLE FANTABULOUS. Akashi Kaikyo is the world’s longest suspension bridge and this view will not disappoint.
|WALK ON THE BRIDGE : This one’s a tie. You can walk on BOTH.|
Many people are surprised when I tell them this, but YES you can walk on the pedestrian walkway on the Rainbow Bridge. For Akashi Kaikyo Bridge you can access the Maiko Marine Promenade, an excursion-style promenade which is built on Kobe side of the Bridge. Both give brilliant views of the respective coastlines.
|TO DO : SHOPPING : A tie again…|
The Rainbow Bridge connects to the Odaiba islands where you can shop at the DECKS and AQUA CITY malls while in Kobe, you can access the Mitsui Outlet Mall just a few minutes walk on the Kobe side. Both places have great restaurants including an Indian restaurant both at Odaiba Decks and Mitsui Outlet Mall in Kobe too. An Indian restaurant completes any experience for me… I am bit picky on food.
|Beautiful Contrast : Rainbow Bridge wins this hands down|
Rainbow Bridge has a big advantage and it is the brilliant Tokyo Skyline in the backdrop. Akashi Kaikyo gets the same view if you stand on the Awaji Isaland side, but given the 2 km distance, it is difficult to get the city skyline as clearly as you can in case of Rainbow Bridge. The Tokyo Tower contrasts perfectly and this view is my personal favorite.
|Brilliant spots for sunsets : Both are beautiful sunset spots|
Akashi Kaikyo provides for beautiful sunset experience. With planes taking off and landing at the Kobe Airport just a few kilometers away the action is enjoyable as the planes fly in from the south end and land on the western side of the bridge. Rainbow Bridge has beautiful sunsets with the silhouette of the city just before the lights GO ON.
|Breathtaking views : A tie in this case|
The views from these bridges needs no mention. As said earlier Akashi Kaikyo has an awesome view of the city of Kobe, from top of the bridge, somehting which is not accessible at night though. Rainbow Bridge in winter with short day times, you can catch this illuminated snap of the circular ring of the Rainbow Bridge and the beautiful Yurikamome trains which pass over the bridge.
|Conclusion : Akashi Kaikyo needs the right promotion|
As you must have realized by now, the case I am trying to make is that Akashi kaikyo experience is more or less equal in terms of the Rainbow Bridge, but being in the southern city away from the golden route of Tokyo-Kyoto, the bridge is not that popular like the Rainbow Bridge. Not many know about the Bridge World Tour which takes you to the top of the bridge to give you some panoramic dizziness. Akashi kaikyo is in need of serious promotion and that helps the city of Kobe too I suppose. They should advertise it as 30 minute ride on JR Pass Bullet trains from Osaka… to message the proximity of the bridge from the Osaka City.
A s far as my personal favorite bridge across the world goes, it is no surprise. Built not only for functionality but also for art, the Tower Bridge of London takes the first spot. By the way, if you visit the Tower Bridge Museum, it mentions of “must-see” bridges around the world and that includes Akashi Kaikyo of Kobe !!!!!!!