Bicrystal experiments were performed to investigate atomic structures and high-temperature creep properties of  symmetric tilt grain boundaries in Al2O3. Al2O3 bicrystals with Σ7, Σ31 and Σ39 boundaries were fabricated by a diffusion bonding technique, and their atomic arrangements at the grain boundary cores were analyzed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), in combination with static lattice calculations based on two-body ionic potentials. Compressive creep tests were also conducted to examine the behavior of grain boundary sliding for the above bicrystals. It was found that the behavior of grain boundary sliding depends on the grain boundary characters, whereas the trend of grain boundary sliding was not related to their Σ values. In contrast, HRTEM observations showed that the Σ31 boundary exhibiting the highest sliding rate has open spaces at the boundary core. Since grain boundary diffusion is expected to accommodate strains at grain boundary cores during sliding, it is likely that such open spaces give rise to high diffusivity at the grain boundary core, which results in the rapid grain boundary sliding of Σ31.