Shinkyo Bridge is a wooden lacquered bridge that spans the Daiya River. At 28 meters long, 7.4 meters wide and 10.6 meters above the river, the bridge marks the entrance between Nikko Town and the town’s Shrines and temples. This bridge belongs to Futarasan Shrine and is designated as an important cultural property. In addition, Shinkyo was registered as the World Heritage in December 1999.
The Shinkyo Bridge is listed as one of Japan’s finest bridges. The other two are Kintaikyo in Iwakuni Prefecture and Saruhashi in Yamanashi Prefecture.
While the exact origin of the bridge remains a mystery, legend has it that the famous Buddhist priest Shado Shonin crossed the Daiya River riding on the back of two giant serpents. From 1636 when it was built, the bridge was off limits to the public. Only the Shogun Generals and imperial messengers were permitted to cross. Shinkyo Bridge remained off limits to the public until 1973. The opening coincided with the celebrations of Mt Nantai’s 1200th anniversary of being enshrined.
It is now possible to cross the bridge for an entry fee of 300 Yen, however better views of Shinkyo Bridge can be had from road bridge about 10 meters further downstream. Unless you rent a kimono and would like to have a perfect picture taken from the road! (check out our Kimono Experience post).
Address: 2307 Sannai, Nikko
Access: On foot, about 1.5 km from Nikko station, and it takes about 25 minutes.
By bus, take the bus to Chuzenji or Yumoto-onsen, get off at Shinkyo stop.