730 Crossing – Ishigaki, Japan - Atlas Obscura
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730 Crossing

Ishigaki, Japan

This monumental intersection commemorates the day Okinawa switched to driving on the left.  

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Following the end of World War II until 1952, Japan was occupied by the United States. Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, however, continued to be under U.S. military control until 1972.

Due to this situation, cars drove on the right in Okinawa in contrast to the main islands of Japan, even after its return to Japan. It was not until July 30, 1978, that Okinawa finally switched back to driving on the left.

For many citizens of Okinawa this date, commonly referred to as “730,” was a historic event that continues to be remembered to this day. There are a few monuments commemorating the day across Okinawa, the most notable of which is the 730 Crossing in the city of Ishigaki.

The transition was not wholly welcomed by the people of Okinawa, as it was the Japanese government’s decision. When the day came however, the transition went so smoothly that reportedly there was little to no confusion and fewer traffic accidents.

In Ishigaki, the transition started at six in the morning, which was inaugurated by a fire siren and boat whistles from the port. A total of 164 police officers and local volunteers guided the cars to drive on the left at what was subsequently named the 730 Crossing. Not long after, a monument was constructed here to celebrate the accident-free transition.

Thirty years later in 2008, the small area around the monument was renovated into a public park to celebrate the anniversary of 730. Now named 730 Shiishii Park, the monument is flanked by a pair of lion-dog?shiishii,?or more commonly known as?shisa,?statues.

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