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Iya Valley Vine Bridge

A bridge of vines over the scenic Iya River.

Iya Valley Vine Bridge

There are vine bridges in two locations in Iya. The most commonly visited location, Iya no Kazurabashi, has one large bridge, while another location further up the valley, Oku-Iya no Kazurabashi, has two smaller bridges.

Crossing these bridges made of vines is a thrilling experience — they sway, and you can see the river directly beneath your feet. But don’t worry — today they’re reinforced with steel rope.  

The bridges are associated with the Heike Clan who took refuge in the Iya Valley after their defeat by the Minamoto Clan in the Genpei War of 1180–1185. Construction with the thick vines that grow in the surrounding forests made them strong enough for daily use, but made them easy to cut down if the Minamoto attempted to invade the Heike’s valley fastness. 

There are generally two types of people — those who cling to the side, taking hesitant, trembling steps, and those who stride fearlessly across and scorn to hold onto anything. Be aware that if you try to make the bridge sway, or you break the one-way rule, you’ll be chastised over a loudspeaker.

After crossing the vine bridge, many visitors like to walk past the Biwa no Taki waterfall and take the steps down to the river below. 

Information

Name in Japanese: 祖谷のかずら橋

Pronunciation: iya no kazurabashi

Address: 162-2 Nishiiyayamamura Zentoku, Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture, 778-0102

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