Design of arch and transfer of technology in kintaikyo-bridge

Sawako Tomioka, Tomoo Tomoda, Teruhiko Yoda

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Kintaikyo-Bridge is a very special wooden five-span bridge with three arches across the Nishiki River, the largest river of Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The central wooden rib arch is very rare in the world. Its structure has become a landmark because of its elegant beauty and harmony with the beautiful views of the surrounding area. It attracts many tourists. Rebuilding was carried out many times since its inauguration in 1673. The latest rebuilding was made in 2004 which was about 50 years after its previous rebuilding. The original Kintaikyo-Bridge span length was close to the limit for construction techniques of wooden bridges at that time. In order to make a strong bridge against flood, the best mix of wood and stone was used. Arch structure was adopted in the superstructure, and hollow stone piers of spindle-shaped cross-section were adopted in the substructure. In this paper, the origin of the arch of Kintaikyo-Bridge is investigated because the arch is different from voussoir arch or corbel arch, resulting in amazing elegance. In addition, the issue of transfer of technology in wooden structure was examined. This includes some serious problems with respect to the reduction of skilled carpenters who specialize in building wooden structures such as bridges, shrines and temples. A unique periodic inspection on Kintaikyo- Bridge conducted by Waseda University every five years since 1953 was introduced, in which the weight of local high school students was used as load.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIABSE Conference, Nara 2015: Elegance in Structures - Report
    PublisherInternational Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE)
    Number of pages2
    ISBN (Electronic)9783857481383
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventIABSE Conference, Nara 2015: Elegance in Structures - Nara, Japan
    Duration: 2015 May 132015 May 15


    OtherIABSE Conference, Nara 2015: Elegance in Structures


    • Design of arch
    • Kintaikyo-bridge
    • Rebuilding 1. idea of wooden arch bridge
    • Wooden bridge

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Building and Construction


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