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Kazurabashi Bridge

This ancient-style vine bridge conjures up images of wild exploration, and it was a key trade route for the Iya Valley people for hundreds of years.

Kazurabashi is the Japanese word for a kind of traditional vine suspension bridge which once crisscrossed the forest trade routes of the Iya Valley on Shikoku Island. Picture the kind of bridge you’d expect to see Indiana Jones swinging from, and that’s pretty much right on the money.

It’s thought that the bridges were first built by members of the Taira clan, who fled to the valley after their defeat centuries ago. Of the fifteen bridges which once crossed the Iya Valley, only three remain today. Kazurabashi Bridge is the most impressive: 45 meters long, running 14 meters above the Iya River.

The bridge is suspended from cedar trees at either side, but if walking across a wooden bridge attached to trees doesn’t fill you with confidence, don’t worry: this modern version has steel cables concealed within the vines.

To get here, you’ll have to take a bus from either Awa Ikeda Station (1 hour) or Oboke Station (20 minutes). Once you’re in the area, you’ll find plenty of natural beauty and walking trails to fill the rest of your day.

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