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20 August 2019, 14:01
Known to Japanese locals as ‘Melody Roads’, these harmonious highways play music to drivers as they travel around the country. But it’s not just for entertainment...
If you ever find yourself taking a scenic trip around Japan, keep an eye (and ear) out for these music-playing roads.
Yep, quite literally, the roads will ring out loud and clear with the sound of popular Japanese songs.
Designed by locals and known as ‘Melody Roads’, they work by using special grooves that have been cut into the road’s surface, which respond to friction from car tires. The depth and spacing of the grooves control volume and sound (see them in action in the video above).
But of course, there’s more to this novel idea than you would first think.
The music is also intended to alert tired drivers, stopping them from falling asleep at the wheel and decreasing the number of car accidents in the area.
Plus, since there are grooves in the road, any rain water can drain much faster, which prevents hydroplaning.
There are several hit songs for you to enjoy – from ‘Shiretoko Ryojo’, found on a regional road in Shibetsu, and ‘Country Road (Studio Ghibli’s Whispers of the Heart)’ on Kaneyama’s National Route 252, to ‘Fuji no Yama’ on the Ashinoko Skyline.
And it seems tourists are already impressed with the concept, sharing their videos on social media:
In Japan you can find melody roads.— 𝓢𝓪𝓷𝓷𝓪-𝓢𝓾𝓵𝓮𝓲𝓴𝓪 🌸 Bonten in Japan (@DokuganBAKA) March 9, 2018
There are grooves, which are cut at specific intervals in the surface. When you drive over those small markings, you can emit a rumbling tone throughout a vehicle.
The melody road uses the spaces between to create different notes. pic.twitter.com/73KjiCOn1d