Oct 8, 2011

After having a look at the Saru-hashi Bridge, I want to drink Gokyo.

September 9, 2011. Heavy rainfall that was brought by Typhoon 12 to various areas in Japan had changed the water of the Katsura River, which I suppose usually is a clear stream, in to a murky torrent. The flow was crushing with roaring sounds into rocks and cliffs of the gorge. Above the torrent, against a background of a clear blue sky, is some elaborate structure connecting the cliffs on both sides. This is a bridge called Saru-hashi, one of the Japan's three unusual bridges.

The Saru-hashi Bridge is a wooden bridge spanning the Katsura River running through the Ohtsuki City, Yamanashi Prefecture. This bridge has uncommon structure. The following explains how this bridge was constructed:
1. Holes were bored on the cliffs on both sides of the river.
2. Square timbers were inserted in the holes so that the timbers jutted out from the cliffs slightly upward.
3. The second timbers were laid on the first timbers jutting to the air. At this time, the second timbers jutted farther into the air than the first timbers.
4. Then, the third timbers were laid on the second so that the third timbers jutted farther than the second.
5. Thus, timbers were laid on timbers, and the jutting structures on the both cliffs grew close to each other.
6. When the jutting structures become close enough to each other, the upper part of the bridge was placed on them.
7. In this way, this bridge was constructed.

This beautiful wooden bridge has tiny roofs on each of its beams and timbers to protect them from rain, boasting elaborate and splendid architecture.

By the way, when watching this bridge, I naturally came across the question that what are the rest two of the Japan's three unusual bridges. So, I conducted investigation and learned that one is the Kintaikyo Bridge in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. As to the other, there seem to be several assertions. Some say it is the Shinkyo Bridge in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, others say it is the Kazura Bridge in Tokushima Prefecture.

Anyway, it seems that at least the Kintaikyo Bridge is counted as one of them. This bridge has four bridge piers, and three small wooden arches connect these four piers. Another two wooden bridges connect the outer-most two piers with the banks on both sides of the river. Thus, a total of small five bridges are connected, forming one long bridge. I have ever seen this bridge on TV, but I have never visited there to see it. Some day, I want to see it.

By the way, did you know that the Kintaikyo Bridge is also called Kintai Gokyo (Kintai Five Bridges)? Did you know sake named Gokyo produced in Iwakuni City was named after this bridge?

So, my thought started at the Saru-hashi Bridge and finally came to sake! Suddenly, I wanted to drink Gokyo. Yes, yes! I really wanted to drink it while thinking of that beautiful Kintaikyo Bridge.

I went out to the liquor shop nearby and got this sake.


Cathy Cawood said...

Hello! I enjoyed your blog post. I went to Saruhashi recently, and I was looking for English information about it. I'm trying to write a short article for Japan Travel's website. I have also been to Kintaikyou, and it was great! T hope you can go there soon.
Anyway, thank you for your helpful and interesting post!

Cathy Cawood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
いちべー said...

Thank you for your comment, and I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I hope I can visit also Kintaikyou soon.