The Japanese Covered Bridge

In the heart of Hoi An old town, the Japanese covered bridge is the emblem of Hoi An, and is the symbol of its Unesco world heritage site. It boasts an existence during many centuries and a unique architecture, making it a must see. All visitors and locals have a picture here, including couples coming for the wedding album and photographers. Instagrammers sure don’t miss this ancient remnant.

Additionally, it also represents the friendship between Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese people – three key populations of the former Hoi An trading town. In the beginning, it’s built by merchants from the Land of the Rising sun and then restored by Chinese communities. The materials making and construction are done by skillful Vietnamese (local) artisans.

In this article, everything travelers need to know about the Japanese covered bridge in Hoi An is outlined. If like seeing old bridges in the region, don’t forget Thanh Toan bridge at Hue city.

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What is the Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An?

The Japanese covered bridge (or the Japanese bridge, the Pagoda bridge, Hoi An bridge, Lai Vien kieu) is the emblematic building of Hoi An and its ancient town – a Unesco world heritage site. It’s 18 meters long, 3 meters wide, and doesn’t allow motorized vehicles to go through. It spans a small (or stream) canal which later flows into Hoai river, and has a small temple behind. 

– Japanese covered bridge address: 186 Tran Phu St, Minh An ward

– Japanese covered bridge opening hours: all day

– Temple of the Japanese covered bridge: 6 am to 10 pm (may close earlier when it rains or no tourists)

– Japanese covered bridge entrance fee: included in Hoi An old town ticket (120,000 VND for adults), see details in

Fact: The Japanese bridge of Hoi An is on local currency valuing 20,000 VND. Other famous tourist places are Halong bay, house of Ho Chi Minh president, Hue citadel, Hanoi temple of literature.

History of the Japanese Covered Bridge

Construction of the Japanese Bridge

The Japanese covered bridge was constructed by Japanese people in the early 17th century, when they settled in Hoi An. It comprises a 3m-wide wooden span, supported by stone columns and covered by a tiled roof with dragons. The design is described as ‘upper house, lower bridge’. There are two entrances opening to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street (west) and Tran Phu street (east), and the facade looks to the river (south). At that time, it connected the Japanese town and Chinatown correspondingly. Japanese designers also added a balcony to allow fresh air and natural light go inside, and visitors inside could know what’s going on outside. Inside the bridge, wood-paved walkways are made for pedestrians. In the past, locals could ride bikes through the bridge but now, it is impossible. The carpentry was carried out by artisans living in Kim Bong village.

How many days Japanese people built the bridge is still a secret. Hoi An inhabitants say that two monkeys by Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street door (holding a peach) and two dogs by Tran Phu street door (wearing a ring), reveal it. Construction time was 2 years, from the year of the monkey to the year of the dog in the Vietnamese/Chinese traditional zodiac calendar. They wear a red piece of fabric and are worshipped by local people as holy animals.

In history, Japanese merchants first came to Hoi An for trading, earlier than Chinese and Europeans. They used red seal ships (sailing ships) and took advantage of monsoon winds to reach Vietnam and go back to Japan. In 1619, Araki Sotara merchant married Vietnamese princess Ngoc Hoa, the daughter of Nguyen Phuc Nguyen lord. This event marked the new era for friendship between Japan and Vietnam.

Fact: The Japanese bridge is one of a few remains left by Japanese people in Hoi An. It has a high historical value.

Chinese Restoration and Addition

In 1653, the Chinese community of Hoi An restored the Japanese covered bridge. Meanwhile, a small temple also was built behind it, to worship a Taoist god. For that reason, since then, the bridge has been called ‘the Pagoda bridge’. At that time, Japanese people mostly left the town and returned to Japan because of the isolationist foreign policy of the Tokugawa shogunate.

The temple of the Japanese covered bridge is dedicated to worship of Xuanwu (or Xuandi) – a god who is able to control natural disasters, especially water related. The Chinese community and Vietnamese inhabitants come here to pray for good weather, luck, health, and happiness. His statue is in the middle of the worshipping altar, and it’s black. This color represents the direction (north) which he rules. That’s why Xuanwu god is known as the Emperor of the north or the Black emperor. The current statue is remade by jackfruit after the original was damaged by termites and moved to the Hoi An Museum of History and Culture for preservation. It depicts a man holding powerfully a sword and using his barefoot to step on a tortoise entwined together with a snake. In the mythology, these animals are his organs.

Hoi An has faced typhoons and floods since it’s inhabited. Chinese people worship Xuanwu god to control these unfriendly weather to have a stable life and business. On the walls near the bridge, flood levels are seen (they’re high indeed).

Nguyen Phuc Chu Lord Visit to the Japanese Bridge

In 1719, Nguyen Phuc Chu lord visited Hoi An trading town and its Japanese bridge. He was the 6th lord of the royal house of Nguyen ruling the region between 16th and 18th centuries. He gave to the bridge a wooden board with three Chinese words ‘Lai Vien Kieu’ and today, it’s hung up above the temple’s door. They mean ‘the bridge that receives guests from afar’. This totally expresses his hospitality to new comers who have a diverse nationality, background, speaking language and religion.

Other Restorations

According to historians, the Japanese covered bridge was restored 7 times in its existence. In 1763, 1817 and 1875, Minh Huong (Chinese) village had some restorations, and the dates were carved on the wood frame of the bridge. In 1915, a French envoy used the city’s treasury to do it. The information was written down on two memorial steles by stone animals. In 1962, 1986 and 1996, the current Vietnamese government replaced wooded structures that couldn’t be reused.

Note: On-going restoration of the Japanese bridge started from December 2022 and finished at the end of 2023. 

How to Get to the Japanese Covered Bridge

Where is the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An?

The Japanese covered bridge is in the heart of Hoi An’s ancient town world heritage, 30 km south of Da Nang city. Administratively, it’s in Minh An ward, Hoi An city, Quang Nam province.

The distance to the Japanese bridge from An Bang beach is 5km, from Cua Dai beach is 5,5 km, from Cam Thanh coconut village is 6 km, from Thanh Ha pottery village is 3km, from the Hoi An memories island is 2 km, and from Hoi An central market is 1 km.


From 9 to 11:30 am, and from 3 pm to 9 pm every day – Hoi An walking streets hours, visitors must walk to the Japanese covered bridge. Of course, it’s possible to go through it. If visit the town by yourself, you can see our recommended self-guided walking tour itinerary in

By Bicycle

Travelers can cycle to the Japanese bridge anytime. We highly recommend going and visiting in the morning because it’s not too crowded. At night, tourists stay around the bridge, so keep riding is quite difficult (all over the Old town, not only the bridge area). From Tran Phu street to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street and vice versa, it’s possible to take the bicycle up and walk with it through the bridge to get the other side.

By Car, Taxi and Electric Shuttle Bus

Car and bus are prohibited to enter Hoi An old town world heritage site, all the time. So, if take a car, travelers must stop somewhere outside of the walking area and then walk to the Japanese covered bridge. We recommend the crossroad Cao Hong Lanh St – Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St (on Google maps: 15°52’42.6″N 108°19’23.9″E) because the distance to the bridge is shortest. Here, it’s convenient to buy Hoi An old town entrance ticket and walk inside the heritage site. Just following Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St and the bridge is at its end.

If go from Da Nang, the point recommended by us above is one of the best options to drop off and pick up after visiting. To book a private car to Hoi An, please text/call us on whatsapp number +84968009827. Before the town, the Marble mountains and the Coconut village with funny basket boat ride are other nice places to sightsee.

By Motorbike

Travelers can go to the Japanese covered bridge before 9 am, 11:30 am to 3 pm, and after 9 pm. For sure, it’s impossible to ride through it. Many people will request to park the bike in their house (or shop) and the fee is around 5,000 to 10,000 VND. Please don’t leave it on the street because the security man will bring it away later with a punishment.

If stay in the bridge or the town later than 9 am or 3 pm, travelers must walk with the bike to go somewhere else. The quickest way to ‘escape’ from walking streets, is the laneway of Tran Phu street (north of the bridge) and then follow Phan Chu Trinh St to Phap Bao pagoda.

What to Do near the Japanese Covered Bridge?

Phung Hung Old House

This heritage house is extremely near the Japanese bridge, right on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street. It’s built in 1780 by a rich Vietnamese businessman, featuring two storeys with a balcony. On the ground floor, visitors will see local women sewing embroideries by hand. To enter, please show your Hoi An old town entry ticket pass (also used to go in the bridge).   

The Cantonese Assembly Hall

This Chinese temple is also close to the Japanese bridge (less than 100 meters). It belongs to the Cantonese community, one of 5 in Hoi An, and was built in 1885. In the beginning, people worship the Goddess of the sea and Confucius here, but later switch to Quan Cong general and ancestors. Because it’s near main sights in the town at night, so it’s very busy with group visitors around sunset time. Please show Hoi An ancient town ticket pass to visit.

Museum of Sa Huynh Culture

Sa Huynh culture flourished along the contemporary coastline of Vietnam from 1,000 BC to 200 AD. Archaeologists found remains from this culture around Hoi An, showing its lengthy history.

The Museum of Sa Huynh culture in the Old town is the best place to learn about the iron-age culture. On its two storeys, visitors will see funeral jars discovered in sand dunes (cemetery) and accessories inside them. This is a feature of the culture. Please show Hoi An old town ticket pass to enter.  

Cruise Hoai River by Lantern Boats

Along the river by the Japanese bridge – Bach Dang street, visitors will see so many sampan boats going around on the waters. People drop candle lanterns and let them float. Together with colorful lantern lights on the ground, the scene is extremely fairy and brilliant.

To experience the lantern boat ride, please come to official ticket booths to buy ticket and then go. The prices are 150,000 VND for 1-3 passengers, and 200,000 VND for 4-5 passengers. See full details in

Street Coffee by the Japanese Bridge

In the early morning, locals go to street coffee spots near the Japanese bridge to drink coffee. They sit on low stools, face the river and enjoy chatting with friends. If look for a real experience about local life, why not? Meanwhile, have great opportunities to catch the moments.

Hoi An Old Town Walking Tour

The visit to Hoi An old town world heritage is more awesome if go with (and follow) a local guide. He/she will make the best walking itinerary to show all streets, sightsee symbolic landmarks with explanations, tell stories and history, inform local food specialties, recommend good spots for eating and drinking, and give tips for shopping. Of course, help to take many photos to save the memories.

We recommend doing these tours:

Morning Hoi An old town walking tour with Thu Bon river cruise

Hoi An evening tour with local food sampling and lantern boat ride

Hoi An old town evening walking food tour

If you just need a tour guide, please text us directly at whatsapp number +84968009827. 

The Japanese Covered Bridge on Google Maps

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