The ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto is famous for its variety of bridges ranging from traditional wooden structures and small foot bridges over streams and canals to modern practical bridges that connect the central part of the city to its historic districts. Here’s a list of the bridges in Kyoto that you must see.
The Togetsukyo Bridge is located in the picturesque Arashiyama district of Western Kyoto. First built during the Heian Period (794-1185), the name “togetsukyo” literally means bridge to the moon. The 155 meter historic structure crosses the Katsura River, offering fantastic views of the natural scenery that surrounds it.
The Sanjo Bridge over the Kamo River in Gion, was built by samurai warlord and ruler of Japan, Hideyoshi Toyotomi in the 16th century. The bridge is famous for being the end location for both the Nakasendo and Tokaido, which were two of the famous “five routes” of Japan that connected Edo (modern-day Tokyo) with Kyoto during the Edo Period (1603-1868). Sanjo bridge is conveniently near Pontocho, one of Kyoto’s traditional geishadistricts and Kawayuka restaurants which overlook the Kamo River in the summer.
The Shijo Bridge is one of the entrances to Shijo Kawaramachi, a vibrant part of central Kyoto. It crosses the Kamo River and is located in Shijo-dori (Fourth Avenue) which connects the center of modern Kyoto and the historic geisha district of Gion. It offers pretty river bank scenery and views of the area, especially at night when illuminated. It is a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere of Kyoto, with seats available to simply sit and enjoy the view.
The Gojo Ohashi Bridge is a modern bridge built in 1959 and is best known as the site of Ushiwakamaru’s rencontre with Benkei, a Japanese warrior monk. Benkei, a popular figure in Japanese folklore is said to have posted himself at Gojo Bridge, where he disarmed every passing swordsman, eventually collecting 999 swords. Unfortunately, on his 1000th duel, Benkei was defeated by Minamoto no Yoshitsune, son of Minamoto no Yoshitomo, samurai general and head of the noble Minamoto Clan, who founded the Kamakura Shogunate (1185-1333).
The Gion Tatsumi Bridge is often called the most picturesque place in the historic geisha district of Gion. The bridge is popular with tourists these days because a scene from the movie Memoirs of a Geishaevoked this exact location (it was actually filmed on set in LA).
The Furukawamachi Bridge is located on the road from Gion to the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto. The charming little foot bridge crosses a clear flowing canal that provides relaxing surroundings and a great place for a picture.
Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
These recommendations were updated on January 16, 2017 to keep your travel plans fresh.