Take a walk down Hoi An’s picturesque streets and feel yourself go back in time. For 90, 000 VND ($4.50) you can buy a ticket to a set number of houses and sights in the Old Town. You can see architecture that is influenced by old trading partners such as China, Japan and France dotted through the streets. One of Hoi An’s more prominent features that is free to visit is the Japanese Bridge.
Constructed in the early seventeenth century this covered bridge, also known as Chua Cau, or “The Pagoda Bridge.” was built by some of the Japanese inhabitants of Hoi An. The Japanese settled in Hoi An following a treaty with local Nguyen lords in the early 1600s. With visions of a great trading port, the lords allowed the Japanese to build streets, pagodas and other infrastructure in Hoi An. The Japanese Bridge is one of those buildings constructed that still remains today. The bridge is both a walkway and a shrine and is the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to the side.
The bridge was built to subdue a world-spanning ‘mamazu’ dragon monster, whose head was in India and tail in Japan. The tail was said to cause earthquakes in Japan. Vietnam is located in the area of the mamazu’s back so the bridge was built to pin the mamazu down preventing earthquakes.
Make it Happen
This is a beautiful bridge to walk across, take photos of and study the ornate details of Dog and Monkey Shrines. Each side of the bridge has beautifully decorated streets dotted with shops and restaurants that are perfect for an early evening stroll. To get there just walk along Bach Dang or Nguyen Thai Hoc St towards the lantern bridge. It’s a stand out feature of town that’s hard to miss.