Thrilling river crossing: vine bridges, Shikoku, Japan

When the Heike clan lost the Shido-no-Ura battle in the 13th century, they were forced to flee and live in these remote mountains of the Iya valley.

They built vine bridges over the river so that they could cut them off and escape their pursuers. The bridges became the lifeline of the inhabitants of these mountains, also serving for trade and pilgrimages up Mount Tsurugi. They were often doubled with a “yaen” (a wooden box tied up to a rope on which you would pull to transport goods or people across the river).

If you are up for a thrill, you can still cross these unstable and slippery bridges in two locations (Iya-no-Kazura Bashi and Oku-Iya Niju Kazura Bashi), seeing roaring waters flowing about 10 meters underneath your feet! It’s a ton of fun!!

Claire & Marcella

Travel tips:

  • Take a visual tour of Japan!
  • Check out this interactive map (quick tutorial) for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!
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