Japanese Covered Bridge (Hoi An, Vietnam)

Hoi An's Japanese covered bridge dates back to the 18th century and is a beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture. It is claimed that it was created by the Japanese then living in Hoi An as a way to reach the Chinese quarter across the water.

Japanese Covered Bridge is also known as Cau Pagoda - the common name for the architectural complex consisting of a small temple mounting in the northern slopes of the ancient bridge in the urban area of Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam Province. Along with Phat Diem Tile covered Bridge (Ninh Binh), Thanh Toan Tile covered Bridge (Thua Thien-Hue), Cau Pagoda is one of three tile covered bridges in Vietnam, which are more popular with tourists. It is the only ancient bridge in Hoi An Ancient Town. Japanese Covered Bridge is located on a bridge crossing a small creek in the old town.

The bridge was opened by Nguyen Phuc Chu Lord in 1719 who carved three Chinese symbols above the door in commemoration. The bridge also features the sculptures of two dogs and two monkeys representing the Chinese years in which many Japanese Emperors were born along with the fact that the building of the bridge began in the year of the dog and was completed in the year of the monkey.

The Japanese Covered Bridge underwent renovation work in 1986 which saw the restoration of the arch that was once flattened to make way for cars. Today, the bridge stands as a symbol of Hoi An and remains as aesthetically pleasing as it was when it first opened.

The structure is very solidly constructed because of the threat of earthquakes. The entrances to the bridge are guarded by weathered statues: a pair of monkeys on one side, a pair of dogs on the other. According to one story, many of Japan’s emperors were born in the years of the dog and monkey. Another tale says that construction of the bridge started in the year of the monkey and was finished in the year of the dog. The stelae, listing all Vietnamese and Chinese contributors to a subsequent restoration of the bridge, are written in chu nho (Chinese characters) – the nom script had not yet become popular. While access to the Japanese Bridge is free, you have to surrender a ticket to see a small, unimpressive temple built into the bridge’s northern side.

Location: Hoi An, Vietnam
Address: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Cam Pho, Hoi An, Quang Nam
Opening hours: All hours
Entrance fee: Free

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