Melody Roads - Streets that play music in Japan

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In Japan there are streets, highways or roads that play a song with passing car. These roads are called Melody Roads [メロディーロード] and in this article we are going to talk about these streets that play music in Japan.

The music is played by passing the car through an avenue that has grooves in the floor, all without using technology. These grooves implanted in the asphalt causes vibrations with the tires that actually make the sound of the music.

These musical streets are found not only in Japan but in Denmark, South Korea, the United States, Mexico, China and San Marino. I want to take advantage of the momentum of the article to list where you can also find these highways in another country.

How did the streets that play music come about?

The first musical road was made in Denmark, specifically in Gylling in 1995. It was made by 2 Danish artists who named it Asphaltophone, the music played in this excerpt is an arpeggio on the F Major key.

In Japan, Shizuo Shinoda accidentally scratched some markings on a road with his tractor, and realized that it was possible to create music depending on the depth and spacing of the grooves.

In 2007, the Hokkaido National Industrial Research Institute, which had previously worked on a system using infrared and lights to detect dangerous roads, created Melody Road using the discovery of Shizuo Shinoda.

Roads

The asphalt depth is 3mm-6mm of paving on the road surface, the width is 6mm to 24mm. It is recommended to walk at a speed of 40km to hear the music well, its speed will depend on your speed. A blogger also recommends going through these closed glass roads, to hear the music better.

Where to find melody roads?

In Japan there are many Melody Roads, only in Gunma there are 6. We will see in this table below:

ProvinceCityYearSection (mt)Melody
HokkaidoShibetsu2004565mShiretoko Ryojō
HokkaidoHokuto Murayama2015250mAkatonbo, red dragonfly
HokkaidoHokuto Murayama2015317mĪmondanafurusatoha
HokkaidoShibetsu2010700mMusical road practical test
FukushimaOnuma-gun Kanayama-cho2014278mCountry road
NaganoChino2008210mScarborough Fair
AichiToyota2007301mDongurikorokoro
ShigaOtsu2009610mBiwako shūkō no uta
WakayamaKimino-cho2007320mMiagetegoran'yorunohoshiwo
OkinawaNago2012340mFutami Jowa
HiroshimaSera-cho2009513mTotoro in sanpo
GunmaKusatsu 300mKusatsu Onsen
GunmaTsumagoi2010 Snowy Mountain Song of Praise
GunmaTakasaki, Lake Haruna2008280mQuiet Lake
GunmaMaebashi2010 Tulip
GunmaNumata  Shirasawa
HiroshimaAkitakata2014270mExcerpt from Kagura-demon
IshikawaNanao - Anamizu20151200mMaresora ~ rare Zola ~
OitaTaketa2007 Kojo no Tsuki
EhimeIkata2011430mMikan'no hanasa kuoka

The streets that play music around the world

There are many other Melody Roads around the world. In 2019 Hungary had its first musical road in memory of the death of Vine (lead singer of the band Republic) at Road 67.

In Anyang, Gyeonggi in South Korea, Singing Roads were designed to help drivers stay alert and awake, as 68% of traffic accidents in South Korea are caused by inattentive and sleeping drivers.

In the Netherlands a music track was removed because drivers did not pass at the appropriate speed and recommended making the music play in a bad tone, disturbing any neighborhood that ended up with the songs on the road.

The same happened in the USA on K Avenue in Lancaster, California. It seems that only the Japanese know how to appreciate classical music being played by car tires. How were these two countries overcome by the sickness of the neighborhood?

Videos of streets playing music

Finally, we will leave some videos showing the musical roads. I hope you enjoyed the article, if you liked it share and leave your comments. Have you had a chance to pass one of these roads? I already passed Gunma.

The first video shows how roads make sound with different vehicles, including bicycles, skates and wheelchairs. The other videos show some roads around Japan.

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