The Bridge Pagoda (Japanese Covered Bridge)
No. 46 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Hoi An, VietnamMore information Prices
Entrance fee: Admission by Hoi An Day-time ticket. ~120.000 vnd/personOpening hours
Daily from 08:00-17:00
Japanese bridges for long have a reputation for their pure beauty of being graceful curves and the inspiration from Zen spirit. It’s no doubt that the most famous bridge of this kind in Vietnam is the one in Hoi An – the historic riverside town in the Central Part.
The Japanese Covered Bridge or Cau Chua Pagoda (in Vietnamese “Cau Nhat Ban”) is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Hoi An, Vietnam. The original Vietnamese name of this bridge is “Lai Vien Kieu”. It is considered that the Japanese Covered Bridge belongs to the Japanese community in Hoi An, and was built in the early seventeenth century. No trip to Hoi An would be completely without visiting Japanese Covered bridge.
The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An is a beautiful example of the Japanese architecture of the period. Connecting Tran Phu St with Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St, the Japanese Covered bridge was constructed in the 1590s by the Japanese community of Hoi An, in order to create a link with the Chinese quarters across the stream. Over the centuries the ornamentation of the bridge has remained relatively faithful to the original Japanese design. Its simplicity contrasts greatly with the Vietnamese and Chinese penchant for wild decoration. The French flattened out the roadway to make it more suitable for their motor vehicles, but the original arched shape was restored during major renovation work carried out in 1986.
The bridge was constructed with a roof so that it could be used as a shelter from both rain and sun. To name the bridge, Nguyen Phuc Chu Lord, in his trip to Hoi An in 1719, carved prominently 3 Chinese characters above the door: “Lai Vien Kieu” ( = “Bridge for passengers by from Afar”). At one end of the bridge, there are 2 sculptures – of a dog and of a monkey. These two animals are symbols of sacredness in Japanese culture. Another reason behind these animal sculptures is that according to the Asian zodiac signs, in the year of the monkey and the year of the dog many of the Japanese Emperors were born. Records also say that the construction of the bridge was initiated in the dog year and was finished in the monkey year
The structure is very solidly constructed because of the threat of earthquakes. The entrances to the bridge are guarded by weathered statues: a pair of monkeys on one side, a pair of dogs on the other. According to one story, many of Japan’s emperors were born in the years of the dog and monkey. Another tale says that construction of the bridge started in the year of the monkey and was finished in the year of the dog. The stelae, listing all Vietnamese and Chinese contributors to a subsequent restoration of the bridge, are written in chu nho (Chinese characters) – the nom script had not yet become popular. While access to the Japanese Bridge is free, you have to surrender a ticket to see a small, unimpressive temple built into the bridge’s northern side.
Inside the Japanese Covered Bridge lies a temple of the northern God Tran Vo Bac De. This God is considered the God of Weather. People believe that He controls all kinds of weather changes and natural calamities, so the sailors both worship and fear Him.
One theory of the bridge’s religious purpose is that it was built to subdue a world-spanning ‘mamazu’ dragon monster, whose head was located in India and its tail in Japan. The movement of the tail was believed to cause earthquakes in Japan. As Vietnam was located in the area of mamazu’s back, the bridge was intended to pin the mamazu down, thus preventing any earthquakes.
The Japanese Covered Bridge is an invaluable property and has officially been established as the symbol of Hoi An.
History and location
Legend has it that the bridge was built as a weapon of ancient people to deter the monster Mamazu, which has its head in India, its tail in Japan and its back in Vietnam, from causing earthquakes and other calamities. In fact, it was constructed by the Japanese trading community in 1593 to connect them with the Chinese area on the other side of a small stream. It remains until today as a spectacular attraction and is a beautiful trace of the Japanese influence in Vietnam.
This nearly-20m bridge connects the 2 major streets of Hoi An’s Old Quarter: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St. and Tran Phu St., looking over the peaceful Thu Bon River.
What to see
Since the building of this site was started in 1593 – Year of the Monkey, and finished in 1595 – Year of the Dog, a pair of these two animals’ statues has been placed at both ends. They represent for the guardians of the bridge.
Japanese Bridge is renowned for its elaborate decorations, which can be most easily seen at the low entrance. Don’t miss the little porcelain bowls used to cap the ends of the tile, though the interior may be very dark. There’s a small temple on the north side of the bridge, right in the middle over the stream. In addition, visitors may find several interesting galleries at the other end.
Such a place can’t be ignored for those who want to take photos, with a charming historical background and amazing red faded colour. Night is when it looks more elegant, thanks to the lighting.
How to get there
Admission is free and tourists staying in the town may pass through this bridge few times a day. Hiring a bike to tour around is highly recommended, since the town is so small and there’s no need to worry about the traffic.
There are no restrictions with regards to dress code and the bridge is always open.
Reviews by visitors
We went there on a rainy morning, so the bridge was not crowded at all. I was shocked to see some of the pictures posted on TripAdvisor. Didn't know that the bridge was that popular and could get so crowded.
We walked through it in like 5 min. It was OK, but nothing spectacularly memorable. Took some pictures outside. Again, we were really lucky because there was hardly any crowd, some managed to take quite nice picture of it.
I wouldn't bother to go across it, if it is crowded.
Depending on the time of day one visits it will be a different experience ... Early morning it's lovely watching the locals cross into the old town with their wares to sell at the market but in the evening it's a time to avoid & just absolute chaos full of tourists.
bridge looka OKE! the river underneath smell bad tho! i did not cross the bridge cause they charge 120.000VND to cross it. didn't seem worth it to me
We bought the tickets to have access to the bridge - I think most people don't as you aren't checked to see if you have them. The bridge is so crowded that you don't really get to have a proper look. Having said that, if you go first thing in the morning, there aren't many people there.
A must visit the Japanese bridge leafs into a shopping strip full of Vietnamese souvenirs, art, restaurants and at night is lit up with many lanterns Great photo opportunities day or night An icon of this town
Very beautiful at night - don't bother visiting on full moon lantern festival if you want a photo without other people in it. We went here several times and managed to get photos without other people in it but you have no chance of this at busy times like full moon. You go across the bridge for free but if you want to go in the very small pray area you have to surrender one of your 5 tickets and I'd say use your ticket elsewhere e.g. the museum or one of the many ancient houses. It is lit up beautifully at night and is a focal point in the town.
its kind of a must when you're in hoi an, but certainly not a very entertaining one when you're with hundreds of other people. try to be there in the early morning and avoid the crowd, otherwise its just a busy selfie you get.
Okay but busy and the 'Museum' is pretty poor. Interesting but brief history.
At night it illuminates the river in a green Hue which is pretty cool. Nice spot to sit end enjoy a lotus/lemongrass water from just up the road (highly recommended and only 10,000D!)
This cute little bridge looks just like it does in the photos. Tends to be a bit crowded but you can easily take photos from the second bridge just downstream from this one. Best time is sunset, when the reflection in the river is clear and the lights come on. Don't bother burning up one of your Old Town tickets to see the museum halfway across the bridge - if you need to cross, just say you're passing through.
Be prepared to pay to cross this bridge the first time you cross it and keep your ticket for any other time. Very historic 400+ years old with a small temple inside. It doesn't appear to have changed from any old photos that I have seen of it. Quite beautiful and at night it certainly attracts a crowd. It is also a haunt of many street sellers in the area at night time due to the number of tourists, so be prepared.
It is free to cross the Japanese brigde but to see inside you need to purchase the Old Town Pass. The bridge gives you a small insite into the old town and past life of Hoi An. A must on the tourist route in Hoi An
Bridge crossing requires a ticket but worth it. Small museum entry is from bridge. Good photo ops from the bridge and from outside. Part of the ancient city.
The Japanese Covered Bridge is one of the most important historical landmarks in Hoi An. The Bridge is narrow and frequently busy and crowded. The Bridge is worth about 5-10 minutes of your time to explore and take photographs.
Nothing to exciting about the bridge. What makes it good is that it is in a lovely part of Hoi An. Its a pity about the litter in these popular places. Hopefully the Vietnamese will start keeping things clean and tidy.
The bridge was built around the 1590's, to connect the town with the Chinese quarters across the river. It is wooden and is covered for protection from rain and sun. The statues at each end and the temple in the middle tell interesting stories.
It's probably nicer from the footbridge than being on the actual bridge itself. It's wooden. It's covered. It's a bridge. Japanese? Really? Well at least it's in the ancient town so you don't have to go out of your way to see this or else don't waste your effort.
A bridge that you need a ticket to cross over. A lot of newly married Vietnamese couples took their photo here. Be it day of night. The river needs cleaning though.
This is a fabulous structure, lit up at night with it's reflection glowing in the water and visible from the island, and by daylight providing a wonderful glimpse of Japanese architecture. You do have to pay a fee during the day to walk across, though there is another small bridge further down the small creek. There are great shops and cafes surrounding the bridge; well worth a visit
Photo's of this bridge at night are wonderful. I setup a stand on the wooden bridge to get a slow shutter shot. With all the people around, its hard to pick a time when no-one else walks across causing movement.
Looks completely different during the day.
What a beautiful monument thi is definatly a must see whilst your in hoi an but make sure you see oth in the day and night
Ok I think this is the no 1 sigthseeing spots in the town.
Best to see it during the night as they put some lights around it.
It was very crowded and I don't know whether this attraction is free of charge or not. The lady in the visitor center told us that we gotta pay for the ticket to see the bridge. But I guess the bridge is free of charge.
i have to admit that this is the most famous spot in Hoi An whereby travelers are seen crowded on either end of the bridge, busy taking photos from alternate angles. Once you cross the bridge, you will find lots of vendor selling souvenirs and snacks and even foods on the roadside, which make it a tourist hotspot in Hoi An, but beware of the overpriced snacks, i bought one mango cake (well it was filled with Peanut inside) cost me around 20k VND. delicious but overpriced.
This is a gem and has high value among local residents. The traditional architecture is exquisite, connecting the ancient town's Tran Phu street with the former Japanese quarter. It's centrally located and should be on every traveler's list of historic places to visit in central Viet Nam.
Lovely to look at but insanely busy! Also a terrible sewage smell from the water below. I wouldn't bother using one of your tickets to look at the extra room here - there wasn't much to see. The bridge does look lovely at night all lit up though and is very cute.
In ancient city in Hoi An is many interesting building one of them the Japanese Bridge
You can walk thru it and it's lit up in the evening
And you can't miss it if you walking around in Ancient city it's near the river
Whilst staying in Hoi an we popped along to see this and to be honest you can get up close and take nice photos without needing to pay to go across it. Also I got rather confused because we went the wrong way on our Mao and walked across it in the morning and nobody asked for money so I'm not quite sure how the payment works!
Nice to see but don't travel to the town just for that as the town itself is lovely with lots to see and do
Try to go in the middle of the day and you probably won't get charged and it won't be crowded. I got it all to myself. Wouldn't pay to go over but worth a look. Just say you need to get to the other side to get to a restaurant if they ask you to pay
The bridge itself is not imposing, but it recalls a long history of Hoi An and the Japanese residents, who once lived here. If you buy a combination ticket of Hoi An's touristic spots, you can selectively visit some spots including this bridge. Don't overlook a small shrine in the middle of the bridge. The illumination at night is also beautiful.
Worth a look as it forms part of the history of the old town. Try and go at high tide to miss the rubbish in the river. Old town is beautiful with lots of shopping and away from the annoying motor scooters everywhere. Best in the early evening as the sun goes down to avoid the heat of the day. Can be crowded at this time but it adds to the atmosphere
I'll be honest, I didn't really connect with this attraction. I didn't get a tingly feeling down my spine or a rush of excitement as I crossed the bridge. It was just a bridge. The highlight for me was that am old man was selling ice cream out the front.
Famous bridge that you must see in Hoi An. Take some photos to show you were there. if you want to cross or look inside you will need to buy a ticket...only costs 6US and let's you into other areas as well
Visited the Japanese covered bridge at both day and night. The bridge is lovely but during the day you do have to pay a fee to walk over it. It's quite an iconic point in ancient town so I'd recommend visiting of you're in the area.
Part of the package you can view after purchasing the 120,000 dong ticket. The money is supposably to be used restoring the ancient city, including bride,so ticket is a "donation"!
This bridge leads to more shops in the Old Town, the same you would have seen on the side before entering the Japanese bridge, so don't be disappointed when this happens. You will pay to go across the bridge. One would hope that funds collect go towards maintaining the integrity of this structure.
We enjoyed this bridge by the light of the full moon festival, late on a Saturday night. Very busy!! While an experience to see at night would definitely recommend a family with young children to visit earlier in the day to avoid crowds. Hang on to your kids!
Very busy end of town but leads to some great art places and restaurants. Strange that sometimes you are charged to use the bridge and other times not. Good place for photos!
This was lovely to visit for all of about 5 seconds before the stench of the water gets into your nose. It was simply disgusting. We stayed to admire for a few minutes then swiftly moved on. It quite simply stank and very much deterred me from staying for any significant period of time. It is also extremely touristy so very busy!
Japanese bridge is located in the heart of the ancient town.It is the most popular place for tourists, and it is very difficult to take a beautiful picture in tne evening, because there are especially lots of tourists and bridge is illuminated in strange green light. It is better to take pictures during the day!
This ancient Japanese Bridge is really old, down near the river you can go on the bridge where there is apparently a small temple on one side but you have to have a ticket for that and as we came into the town on the opposite side from where you have to pay for tickets we didn't bother we just took pics ....
Worth a visit but honestly the throngs of tourists make it almost impossible to take a decent picture! ( esp so at night when the sun sets and the town comes to life!)
start the visit of the ancient town from there ! nice pictures during the day and diffrent atmosphere at night
This is an old bridge. Keen and good photographer will enjoy this place, the different angles will provide some good shots. Not so much my cup of tea. Visited some old houses and listened to its history from the guide.
If unlucky, will get stopped to pay for ticket. We didnt pay as my teen sons were not interested in the attractions offered. One night we took a cab to the market and arrive on the other side free of charge. Beautiful japanese bridge but thats about it and very crowded. Go in the day to take photos instead but thats also when we got stopped for tickets when we tried to cross over.
While in the ancient city, you will not miss this place. Need a ticket to get in. Just experience it, have a go at a piece of historical area of Hoi An. Can be crowded depending on time of visit.
Read more about Hoi An travel guide at here.