Monday, December 10, 2012

Hoi An - Japanese Covered Bridge

The last of the attractions that I had visited in Hoi An is the Japanese Covered Bridge. Probably the most famous landmark in Hoi An, the Japanese Covered Bridge or Chua Cau is the must visit when you are in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to this ancient town is not complete if Chua Cau is not part of the itinerary.

The Japanese Covered Bridge, early in the day where tourists are still sleeping

Originally built in the 17th century by the Japanese community in the port centre to serve as a link to the Chinese quarter in the town, the bridge now attracts uncountable number of tourists to Hoi An. Besides being a bridge, its inside serves as a temple dedicated to the God of Weather. Back then, sailors would pray to the god, asking for calm sea during their sails.  

Altar to pay respect

A Vietnamese guide giving explanation of the bridge

A friendly Vietnamese woman

There is one mythical story associated with the bridge. According to legend, the bridge was built as a form of controlling the 'mamazu' dragon monster, whose head was believed to be in India and its tail in Japan. The legend goes that the movements of the creature's tail caused earthquakes in Japan and since Vietnam was on the back of the 'mamazu', the bridge was built to pin it down, preventing earthquakes in the country.

The architecture of the bridge is a good example of the Japanese design of the period. Over the years, the design of the bridge remains relatively faithful to the original style. You will notice that there is a statue of a dog and a monkey, each at one side of the entrance, to mark the initiation (year of the dog) and the completion (year of the monkey) of the construction of Chua Cua.

Arch entrance

Statue of the dog

Statue of the monkey

The Japanese Covered Bridge is not to be missed.

Chua Cua by night

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