Japan’s Sacred Shinkyo Bridge – (Yamasugeno-Jabashi)

Shinkyo Bridge

Shinkyo Bridge, also known as Yamasugeno-jabashi is a wooden lacquered bridge that spans the Daiya river in Japan’s Nikko. At 28 meters long, 7.4 meters wide and 10.6 meters above the Daiya River, the bride marks the entrance between Nikko Town and the towns Shrines and temples. The Shinkyo Bridge is listed as one of Japan’s finest bridges (according to who). The other two are Kintaikyo in Iwakuni Prefecture and Saruhashi in Yamanashi Prefecture.

While the exact origin of the bridge remains a mystery, legend has it that the famous Buddhist priest Shado Shonin crossed the Daiya river here riding on the back of two giant serpents.

From 1636 when it was built, the bridge was off limits to the public. Only the Shogun Generals and imperial messengers were permitted to cross. The original Shinkyo Bridge was destroyed by a great flood in 1907 ( check this). The bridge was rebuilt in 1907, but remained off limits to the public until 1973. The opening coincided with the celebrations of Mt Nantai’s 1200th anniversary of being enshrined.

It is now possible to cross the bridge for an entry fee of 300 Yen, however better views of Shinkyo Bridge can be had from the adjacent road bridge about 10 meters further down stream.

Getting there

The nearest railway stations to Shinkyo bridge are either Tobu Nikko station, or the JR Nikko station. It is then necessary to either walk (approx 30 mins), or get one of the regular buses which will take you to the Shinkyo Bus stop. This costs 200 yen each way.

It’s an easy drive from Tokyo and will take about 2 hours each way.

Opening Hours

8:00 to 17:00 (April to September)
8:00 to 16:00 (October to mid November)
9:00 to 16:00 (mid November to March)

Other things to note

Despite the throngs of tourists who appear in the day, Nikko can be a ghost town in the evening. Many restaurants close by 8:00pm, and getting a mean after 9:00pm is close to impossible. If you’re planning on arriving late (like we did), then make sure you’ve eaten beforehand!

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