Photo: Small canal, big solution.

Thanh Toan (The Japanese Bridge)

Our rating:

Firmly in the category of half the attraction is getting here, the Thanh Toan bridge is set roughly 7km from Hue and makes for an interesting and somewhat historic stop during a ramble through countryside.

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While it doesn’t look like that troublesome a body of water, before the construction of the bridge, local villagers had no way of crossing the canal other than by boat. That all changed when, in 1776, Tran Thai Dao, the childless wife of a court mandarin, decided to put her savings to good use and have the bridge constructed. The wood structured and tile roofed bridge had dual purposes—the obvious one being to facilitate travel from one bank of the river to the other (duh!) but secondly, on each side of the bridge seating was incorporated into the series of chambers that form the bridge’s construction. This seating allowed for locals to rest and escape the midday heat, shaded by the tiled roof overhead and the cool air above the waters which flowed below the bridge.

A good spot for a rest stop. Photo taken in or around Thanh Toan (The Japanese Bridge), Hue, Vietnam by Stuart McDonald.

A good spot for a rest stop. Photo: Stuart McDonald

While the bridge has been rebuilt at least five times since its construction, what you see today is believed to be true to the original—this is one of only four remaining examples of this style of bridge in Vietnam. While it can be tempting just to quickly wander through and take a few pics, make the time (crowds allowing) to relax on the seating within the bridge. Appreciate the cooling temperature and the relaxing effect of the waters passing underneath—it is easy to imagine passing a moonlit evening here.

Once news of the construction reached the ears of Emperor Le Hien Tong, he gave both Tran Thai Dao and the village a tax break—who says good deeds don’t pay off? Well over a century later, Emperor Khai Dinh instructed a shrine be set up on site to allow locals to honour her. As she’d had no children, this meant there was no one to pray for her after she died, so this instruction allowed the villagers to take up the slack. To this day prayers are made at ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Thanh Toan (The Japanese Bridge)
Around 7km east of downtown Hue
Admission: Free

Location map for Thanh Toan (The Japanese Bridge)

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