Japanese Bridge

Japanese Bridge

At the heart of Hoi An’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, the Japanese Bridge has become a symbol of the town and a wonderful representation of the town’s past. As an important trading port, Hoi An hosted a number of traders from across Asia, including those from Japan and China. The bridge was built over a stream to connect the Japanese and Chinese communities as a gesture of peace. The bridge itself is graceful and Zen-inspired – look out for the shrine in the middle that is dedicated to Tran Vo Bac De, who controlled the weather. Much more understated than the elaborate styles of the Vietnamese and the Chinese, the design and decoration of the bridge has remained remarkably true to the original over the 400 years since it was built. 

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Japanese Bridge Map

Eights Facts About the Japanese Bridge

The Japanese Bridge was built in the early 1600s

The person who built the bridge has remained anonymous for centuries

Each end of the bridge is guarded by symbolic animals, a dog one end and a monkey the other, and nobody is sure what they represent and why they are there

The French flattened the bridge bed out so that they could travel across it by motor vehicle – the original curve was replaced in the 1980s

In 1990 the bridge was identified as Vietnam’s most cultural and historic relic

When the bridge was opened by Nguyen Lord Phuc Chu, he carved three Chinese symbols above the door to commemorate the moment

Just 40 years after the bridge was constructed, all Japanese citizens were called home by the shogun and the country was shut to the world

The bridge has had a number of names over the centuries, including “Japanese Covered Bridge”, “Bridge for Travellers from Afar” and “Lai Vien Kieu” (Pagoda in Japan)

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