A “musical road“? What the heck is that?

The Ashinoko Skyline is a private toll road in Hakone which boasts panoramic views of Lake Ashinoko and bordering Mt. Fuji. Just in time for Golden Week in Japan, a stretch of the Skyline will be converted into a musical road which plays the theme song from anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” when driven over by a car. Nothing like a catchy melody to enhance your scenic tour!

This isn’t the first time that the city of Hakone has collaborated with the wildly popular Eva franchise. As Hakone is the location of Tokyo-3 in the anime, Eva fans have already flocked to the city on numerous occasions for commemorative souvenirs and to take part in Evangelion-themed bus tours. In fact, ladies, a special Eva-themed overnight bus trip mixed with hot springs and beauty advice counseling will be offered exclusively for you at the end of this May!

That said, if you’re living in Japan, there’s no way you haven’t heard “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” the instantly recognizable, catchy, and perhaps oversung, opening theme song of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series.

▼ If you have, by chance, been living under a rock, allow us to introduce you to the song:

For the latest collaboration between Hakone and Evangelion, an approximately 320-meter (350-yard) stretch of Hakone’s Ashinoko Skyline will be converted into a musical road (known as a “melody pavement” in Japanese), playing “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” when driven over!

So just what the heck is a musical road? According to Wikipedia, “A musical road is a road, or part of a road, which when driven over causes a tactile vibration and audible rumbling transmitted through the wheels into the car body in the form of a musical tune.” Yes, folks, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a road that “plays” music!

The key to the sound you hear coming from the surface of the road lies in a series of tiny grooves (average width of 9 millimeter/depth of 6 millimeter), which, when placed at strategic intervals along the road, creates a musical melody due to the friction of the tires. The musical scale is determined based on the specific spacing and depth of the grooves. In addition, you must be driving at a speed of 40 kilometers/hour (25 miles/hour) to hear the optimal sound.

▼ A sign giving visitors a heads up about the currently existing musical road segment on the Ashinoko Skyline


Let’s take a look at some other already existing musical roads scattered throughout Japan:

▼ This road in Hiroshima Prefecture plays the opening musical number from My Neighbor Totoro.

▼ Care to hear the theme song from Spirited Away in Gunma Prefecture?

▼ The 1960’s classic GeGeGe no Kitaro‘s theme song can be heard in Tottori Prefecture.

▼ Finally, we have “Donguri Korokoro,” a Japanese children’s song, in Aichi Prefecture.

Japanese net users responded enthusiastically when the news about Japan’s first Eva-themed musical road first broke:

▼”I heard that part of the road on the Ashinoko Skyline will play “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis!” I definitely want to go hear it. That song always gets me pumped.”

If you’ll be near Hakone, have access to a car, and don’t mind the potential hordes of Evangelion fans, why not add this unique experience to your Japan bucket list?

Sources: Naver Matome, Ashinoko Skyline
Top image: Yahoo Japan! Blogs (Kacho Fugetsu)