The beautiful little Japanese Covered Bridge is a Hoi An attraction and one that has become the emblem of this delightful, old Vietnamese seaside town and port. A bridge was first built here as long ago as the 1590s by the Japanese community. It was designed and constructed to link them with the Chinese community who lived on the other side of a small stream. Nowadays it acts as a connection between the main downtown area of Hoi An and the fabulous UNESCO World Heritage site of The Hoi An Ancient Town.
The structure is extremely well constructed, giving it great strength, mainly because of the threat of earthquakes. Over the years the ornamentation has remained authentic to the original understated, but clever Japanese design. The French colonialists flattened out the roadway for their motorised vehicles, but the original steep arched shape was thankfully restored in 1986.
The entrances at each end of the Japanese Covered Bridge are guarded by weather beaten statues: a pair of monkeys on one side, a pair of dogs on the other. According to local legend, many of Japan‚Äôs emperors were born during the years of the dog and monkey. Another story told of the construction of the bridge being started in the year of the monkey and eventually finished within the year of the dog. The stelae, which list all Vietnamese and Chinese contributors to subsequent restorations here, are written in Chu Nho, Chinese characters, the later more popular nom script had not yet been taken up.
Access to the Japanese Covered Bridge is free, however one of its unique features is the fact that it has a Buddhist Temple built into one side and it will cost you a ticket entry to get into this. It is though, fairly unimpressive, though seems to attract the ubiquitous queue of photo seekers.