Kazurabashi Bridge

Suspend disbelief and step back in time crossing the vine bridges of Iya Valley

The Iya Valley in Tokushima is a region known for its rugged terrain and stunning natural beauty. Nestled deep in the mountains, this remote area offers a unique glimpse into japan‘s traditional way of life. One of the highlights of the Iya Valley is its famous vine bridges, or kazurabashi, which have become iconic symbols of the region.

The vine bridges of Iya Valley are not your typical bridges. They are handwoven using wisteria vines and reinforced with hidden steel cables. These bridges are not only functional but also a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the local people. The bridges are rebuilt every three years to ensure their safety and longevity.

The most accessible and popular bridge in the Iya Valley is the Iya Kazurabashi. It can be reached by bus from JR Awa Ikeda and JR Oboke stations along the JR Dosan train line between Okayama and Kochi. Awa Ikeda Station can also be reached via the hourly Nanpu limited express service from Okayama. From Awa-Ikeda Station, buses stop at Iya Onsen Mae or Kazurabashi bus stops. From Oboke Station, take the Kazurabashi-iki Shikoku Kotsu Bus and get off at the “Kazurabashi” bus stop. Iya Kazurabashi is just a 5-minute walk from there. Alternatively, if you prefer a more remote experience, you can visit the Oku-Iya Kazurabashi bridges, which are located one hour by car from Iya Kazurabashi Bridge. These bridges are best visited by rental car or via a private tour.

The Iya Valley’s vine bridges have a fascinating history. They were originally built as lifelines for the local people who lived in the remote and mountainous area. The bridges provided a means of crossing the steep gorges filled with rushing water. They were also a deterrent to outsiders, as they could easily be cut down if enemies approached. Today, the bridges serve as a reminder of the region’s rich cultural heritage and the resilience of its people.

There are different theories about the origins of the vine bridges. One legend claims that they were built by the famous Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi to assist the villagers. Another popular story is that the bridges were constructed by defeated Heike soldiers fleeing their Genji pursuers during one of Japan’s many civil wars in the 12th century. Regardless of their origins, the vine bridges have become an integral part of the Iya Valley’s identity and a must-visit attraction for tourists.

The Iya Kazurabashi is the largest and most accessible bridge in the valley. It spans 45 meters in length, is two meters wide, and is suspended 14 meters above the water. Crossing this bridge is not for the faint of heart or anyone with a fear of heights. However, the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and the rushing river below make it a truly unforgettable experience.

In addition to the Iya Kazurabashi, there are also the Oku-Iya Kazurabashi bridges. These bridges are a husband and wife bridge pairing and are located in the eastern part of the valley near Mt. Tsurugi. To reach these bridges, you have to take a short walk through a forest. The lack of development around this area gives you a sense of stepping back in time, as if you have been transported to a different era.

Visiting the vine bridges of Iya Valley is not only a chance to experience the natural beauty of the region but also an opportunity to learn about its history and culture. The bridges are not just architectural marvels but also a reflection of the resilience and resourcefulness of the local people. Crossing these bridges is like stepping into a different world, where time seems to stand still and the worries of modern life fade away.

Whether you choose to visit the Iya Kazurabashi or the Oku-Iya Kazurabashi bridges, you are sure to be captivated by the beauty and tranquility of the Iya Valley. These bridges are not just tourist attractions but also symbols of the region’s rich heritage and the spirit of its people. So suspend disbelief, step back in time, and experience the magic of the vine bridges of Iya Valley.

Address And Maps Location:

162-2 Nishiiyayamamura Zentoku, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken

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