Boat tour shows 'monkey bridge' as Hiroshige depicted in ukiyo-e

posted on February 8, 2016

Beginning in April, a sightseeing boat on the Katsuragawa river will allow passengers to view the Saruhashi bridge from the same angle that ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) depicted it in his work.

Located in Otsuki, Yamanashi Prefecture, Saruhashi literally means "monkey bridge" in Japanese. It is often cited as one of "Japan's three strange bridges," and has been designated as a national scenic beauty. Instead of columns supporting it underneath, the bridge has square logs called "hanegi" stacked on top of each other from both sides of a valley. A person who moved to Japan from Baekje, a kingdom on the Korean Peninsula, in the Asuka Period (592-710) is said to have devised the structure after watching a group of monkeys crossing a valley hand in hand.

According to officials of the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum, Hiroshige traveled to Kofu in 1842 and was impressed with the scenery around Saruhashi. He recorded that the water in the Katsuragawa river was clean and beautiful, and that the beauty of the scenery changed as he walked and was beyond description.

The present bridge was rebuilt in 1984 and is 30.9 meters long and 3.3 meters wide. About 60,000 tourists visit every year, but there is no place where people can look up at the bridge from the angle in "Koyo Saruhashi no Zu."

source by the-japan-news
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