I am often asked about how to reach the No. 1 Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint (also known as Daiichi Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint) which has become the focus of spotlights across the world. Taking a look at the beautiful photographs that can be taken there, it is easy to understand why people all around the world have fallen for this picturesque area. When you begin to Google it, getting to the viewpoint can seem quite daunting, so I decided to make a guide on how & when to visit the Tadami River Bridge.
VISITING VIA PUBLIC TRANSPORT
The Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint is a few minutes’ walk from Ozekaido Mishima-juku – a roadside station (known as ‘Michi-no-Eki’ in Japanese), which sells omiyage (souvenirs), snacks, and light meals. See here for a map of Mishima-juku. Mishima-juku opens daily at 8:00am.
1.) GET TO AIZU-MIYASHITA STATION
- To reach Mishima-juku, travel to Aizu-Miyashita Station, on the JR Tadami Line from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station to Aizu-Miyashita Station.
- See here for information on getting to Aizu-Wakamatsu Station from Tokyo, Sendai etc.
2.) TAKE THE BUS FROM AIZU-MIYASHITA STATION TO MISHIMA-JUKU
- A commuter bus leaves Aizu Miyashita Station every day at 8:10 am, and arrives at Mishima-juku approximately 5 minutes later.
- No booking is necessary for this bus.
- Please pay the driver upon exiting the bus.
- You can also walk to Mishima-juku from Aizu-Miyashita Station (approximately a 40-minute walk) but this route involves walking along roads without footpaths which can be dangerous so I highly recommend you take the bus or rent a car.
3.) WALK TO THE VIEWPOINTS & SNAP AWAY!
The various viewpoints are all a short walk uphill from Mishima-juku. If facing Mishima-juku from the road, turn to the right and walk towards the tunnel. Before you get to the tunnel, take the foot path on the left hand side (there should be a sign with an arrow on it to guide you up the foot path.
4.) TAKE THE RESERVATION-ONLY BUS BACK FROM MISHIMA-JUKU
There are 2 buses a day that leave Mishima-juku, heading for Aizu Miyashita Staiton.These buses must be reserved, and there are strict time deadlines for the reservations (see below).
- To catch the bus that leaves at 10:20, you must reserve your spot by 9:00.
- To catch the bus that leaves at 13:20, you must reserve your spot by 12:00.
You can make a reservation inside the Mishima-juku. Ask them for the bus reservation sheet (In Japanese: Demando basu yoyaku moshikomisho onegaishimasu デマンドバス予約申込書をお願いします) and fill it in. Click here to see an application from previous years to give you an idea of what the form might look like. (Please note, it might have been updated)
- Make sure to arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes before the departure time.
- Hand this form in when you get on the bus.
- When returning to Aizu-Miyashita by bus, pay the driver upon exiting the bus.
- This bus takes between 5 to 10 minutes.
Please be aware that neither the commuter bus to Mishima-juku, nor the reservation-only bus that leaves Mishima-juku run on Sundays or National Holidays.
For more information on catching these buses, take a look at this information provided by Oku-Aizu
WHEN TO SNAP YOUR PHOTOS
The most famous pictures taken at the Tadami River Bridge Viewpoint are those taken when the train carriage passes over the bridge. The train that you can see from afar is passing between Aizu Nishikata Station and Aizu Hibara Station. Below I’ve listed the times that you can view the trains passing over the Tadami Bridge (Correct as of April 2020).
AIZU NISHIKATA STATION TO AIZU HIBARA STATION
(Passing from left to right as seen from the viewpoint)
- 06:04 - 06:07
- 07:39 - 07:42
- 09:18 - 09:21
- 13:03 - 13:06
- 16:02 - 16:05
AIZU HIBARA STATION TO AIZU NISHIKATA STATION
(Passing from right to left)
- 07:21 - 07:25
- 08:59 – 09:03
- 14:21 – 14:24
- 18:10 – 18:13
Please note: I haven’t listed trains that leave later than 19:00, as you wouldn’t get a good view of the train regardless of the season. Also, there is a separate Winter Timetable so please check an up-to-date timetable for the JR Tadami Line in winter.
As you can tell from the information above, the commuter bus arrives nearby the viewpoint at 8:15. However, passengers on the commuter bus cannot reach the viewpoint in time to see a number of the trains passing over the tracks.
For those who want to see these earlier trains (especially the extremely early 6:04 train which looks absolutely spectacular in the early morning summer mist), I recommend staying overnight in Miyashita Onsen town.
STAYING IN MIYASHITA ONSEN
For those who would like to stay overnight in Miyashita in order to see the first train cross over the Tadami Bridge, take a look at the accommodation information listed below: (These ryokan and guesthouses have some experience with guests from abroad)
- Miyashita Onsen Eikokan
- Miyashita Onsen Furusato-so
- Oku-Aizu Nonbirikan (website here)
- Guesthouse Sokokashiko (website here)
See Oku-Aizu’s website for more information about local ryokan.
ABOUT THE JR TADAMI LINE
The JR Tadami Line crosses approximately 135 km of beautiful Japanese countryside, passing through 36 stations along the way. See here for more information about the stops and timetable.
Due to damage it received during the 2011 earthquake, there is a replacement bus that runs between Aizu Kawaguchi Station and Tadami Station (correct as of April 2020). Holders of the JR Rail Pass can ride on both the Tadami Line and the replacement bus service!
See below for an English-language tourist map I made of Mishima Town (Miyashita Onsen & Hayato Onsen).