A Japanese covered bridge is a beautiful sight and you will quickly wonder how something that looks like a piece of art can be so functional at the same time. When you first see the Japanese covered bridge, you will instantly have a feeling of Zen come over you. All those stressed feelings and busy thoughts will simply float away, and you will be left with a feeling of peace and tranquility.
While there are numerous Japanese covered bridges in Vietnam, the most popular of them all can be found in Hoi An. This bridge was built during the early 1600s and it serves as a symbol and a reminder of this spectacular town.
The Japanese covered bridge plays a prominent role in the history of this city, which used to be an important trading port for many Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, and Indian merchants until the 17th century. This bridge connected the Japanese community to the Chinese quarter, which was separated by a small stream. The bridge symbolized peace between the two communities, although no one knows who constructed the bridge.
There is a small shrine within the Japanese covered bridge Hoi An and it is dedicated to Tran Vo Bac De, who is a deity that controls the weather. There are many conflicting stories over the dog and monkey statues, which are on opposite sides of the bridge. Some people say that the dog was placed there since the construction of the bridge began during the year of the dog and the monkey represents the year the bridge was completed. However, others state that the animals are simply there to guard the bridge and those animals were chosen because many of the Japanese Emperors were born during the year of the monkey and dog.
The Japanese covered bridge Hoi An is sixty feet long and painted a reddish pink color. The entire bridge is covered with a yin and yang wooden roof and three Mandarin words, Lai Vien Kieu, or a friend coming from far away, are written on a board at the front of the gate. There is a small path in the middle of the bridge and seven wooden compartments contain elaborate carvings that you must pay close attention to.
While it would be amazing if the Japanese covered bridge Hoi An could stay in excellent shape forever, it has needed a little renovation seven times over the years. One of the renovations included the changing of the sign that was hung at the entrance. The change was made due to the name of the bridge being changed. At that time, the bridge was known as the Japanese Covered Bridge and it was switched to Bridge for Travelers from Afar.
It is also important to note that the name of this bridge also used to be Pagoda in Japan, Covered Bridge, and Japanese Bridge prior to the last two mentioned above.
Despite all those renovations, this bridge is currently in need of more work. The structural integrity is diminishing, and the entire bridge is vulnerable during typhoon season. Work is expected to begin in 2020, at a cost of 20 billion VND.
When you are at the Japanese Covered Bridge Hoi An you can walk along the river, wander through the art galleries that are nearby, and grab a bite to eat at a local café. There is a fee to cross this bridge and that fee is included in what you pay for the entry fee of 120,000 VND for the twenty-two Old Town attractions. Only twenty people are allowed to cross the bridge at once, so that the structure does not get damaged any more than it already is.
It is easy to reach this Japanese covered bridge, as it is near Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street and Tran Phu street in Hoi An Ancient Town. When you arrive, it is important that you enter the pagoda and make a wish, because going around the pagoda and not making a wish is considered back luck.
This bridge is open twenty-four hours a day, so you will never be able to use the excuse that you are too busy or don’t have time to stop by. Plus, since a visit to this Japanese covered bridge only takes approximately a half hour, you can easily squeeze it in at any time between other attractions and shopping trips.
The Japanese covered bridge Hoi An is simply amazing and you will wonder why they do not have covered bridges like this all over the world. This is definitely an attraction that is worthy all the attention it garners throughout the year and while you can see it all in just a few minutes, we know that you will spend more time there once you see how spectacular this destination really is.
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