Mazda’s Beloved Toyo Ohashi Bridge “Connects” Different Functions of Its Car Manufacturing
Known as a city of flowing water, Hiroshima is built on a delta created by 6 rivers where many bridges are essential to its citizen’s daily transportation. Mazda is no exception, in fact the company owns a large bridge at the Headquarters called “Toyo Ohashi” Bridge, which means “Large Orient Bridge” in English. Any avid Mazda fans would recognise the word “Toyo”, as Mazda Motor Corporation was founded as Toyo Cork Kogyo Co., Ltd. and changed its name to Toyo Kogyo Co., Ltd. before its current company name.
(Delta city of Hiroshima with 6 rivers.
The bridge circled in blue is the Toyo Ohashi Bridge)
Connecting the Headquarters Area with the current Ujina Plant Area facing Enko River, the Toyo Ohashi Bridge opened in 1965. It was almost at the same time when the Miyoshi Proving Grounds were completed and Familia Coupe (later Mazda 323) was launched. To transport completed vehicles assembled in the HQ Plant and parts to the Plants, the 560-metre Bridge with about 25-metre difference in height was built with the state-of-the-art construction methodologies at that time. The Bridge was then known as the largest and the longest bridge owned by a company in Japan.
(Toyo Ohashi Bridge just after its opening in 1965. Then president Tuneji Matsuda is in the photo with Mazda 110S Cosmo Sport. At that time, Ujina Plant had not been built yet.)
(Enko River and Toyo Ohashi Bridge)
(A scene from the opening ceremony for Toyo Ohashi Bridge on the 12th of Oct, 1965. Approximately 300 Mazda vehicles were on parade.)
The Toyo Ohashi Bridge dramatically changed transportation in the area where a ferryboat navigated by boatmen used to be the only means of crossing Enko River. The Bridge to this day continues to be a part of a major arterial road that is essential to Mazda’s car manufacturing, and is loved by many Mazda employees as one of the landmarks at the Headquarters.
(A view from Mazda Hospital in front of Mazda HQ back in 1965. Toyo Ohashi bridge can be seen far over the roof of the plant)
Due to its purpose, the Bridge is not open to public transportation. People visiting the Mazda Museum get to cross the Bridge on a microbus that shuttles people across the Headquarters, and enjoy a view of the Plants and the tranquil Seto Inland Sea. The Bridge is also a part of a running course for Mazda Ekiden Road Relay hosted by Mazda in March every year, which attracts over 2,000 enthusiastic runners inside and outside Mazda. A course section covering the Toyo Ohashi Bridge has proven popular among the runners not only for the view, but that the Bridge puts the runner’s determination and stamina to the test.
(Current Toyo Ohashi bridge from Ujina Plant Area)
(Beautiful scenery from the top of Ogon mountain nearby Ujina Plant in spring.
Seto inland sea and the beautiful bridges of Toyo Ohashi Bridge [center] and Kaita Ohashi Bridge [upper right/ public bridge] can be seen.)
Beautifully lit up at night, the Bridge becomes brilliant, shining gems in the nightscape of the Seto Inland Sea enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
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