Vine bridges

Vine bridges

Be brave and cross one of Iya Valley's historic vine bridges. Just don't look down!

Rural Shikoku offers one of the few remaining wilderness areas of Japan, a region of staggering mountains and dramatic ravines. Before roads, the only way to traverse this area was via the 13 vine bridges of the Iya Valley. The exact origins of the bridges are unknown; some legends say they were built under orders from Kobo Daishi the honoured founder of Shingon Buddhism, while others believe the bridges served as an escape route for refugees of 12th century wars.

Today just 3 bridges remain and in the name of health and safety they are fortified by steel cables hidden by the vines. The largest bridge, Kazurabashi, stretches 45 metres across the Iya River. At 14 metres high the bridge is still pretty scary to cross with little gaps between the planks to the water below! At least one member of the InsideJapan team inched ever-so-slowly across, overtaken by spritely Japanese old ladies.

Vine bridges

located in Iya Valley

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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

  • Explore the rural heartlands of Japan whilst helping to sustain unique aspects of Japanese culture and tradition on this classic two-week trip.

    Secrets of Shikoku

    Our Secrets of Shikoku itinerary circumnavigates the valleys and mountains of beautiful rural Shikoku, including time on the art island of Naoshima as well as stays in historic Kyoto and super-modern Osaka.

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    Explore the rural heartlands of Japan whilst helping to sustain unique aspects of Japanese culture and tradition on this classic two-week trip.

Other Sightseeing experiences

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  • Gunkanjima cruise

    Gunkanjima cruise

    Take a boat trip to see the mysterious island of Gunkanjima - aka 'Battle Ship Island'.

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  • Peace Park & museum tour

    Peace Park & museum tour

    Take a sobering tour of Hiroshima's Peace Park with a volunteer from an NPO that provides support to A-bomb survivors.

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