Crazy Suspension Bridges!!

Trevor arrived in Japan last Wednesday late afternoon. From a combination of factors such as not yet receiving the car back from the shop and many of the teachers being away for obon, (Obon is a Buddhist holiday where it is believed that ancestors come back for the time being; as a result, many return to their hometowns to visit family) I had to take the local bus up to Kashihara City to meet up with Trevor while he was (fortunately!) being assisted by my good friend from Osaka, Eri and her family. The 4-hour bus ride made two stops for breaks to and from Totsukawa: one at an Aeon mall and the other at the famous Tanize Suspension Bridge, located 40 minutes from where we are living.

The Tanize Suspension Bridge is a must-see tourist structure of Totsukawa. The bridge is made of steel wires and wooden planks, all stretched across a very deep valley where a camping ground lies. The height of Tanize is definitely intimidating, even for someone like me who isn’t really afraid of heights. That, along with the non-stop shaking from others walking across the bridge and the narrowness of it all combined for a very thrill seeking experience.

So that sign is supposed to say something along the lines of

So that sign is supposed to say something along the lines of “No more than 20 people at a time on the bridge…” Pretty sure at one point, there was 30 people on the bridge all at once.

Who wants to cross over???

It doesn’t look far in this picture… but believe me, it is.

A sign for the Tanize Bridge.

A sign for the Tanize Bridge.

Tanize Suspension Bridge.

Tanize Suspension Bridge.

Unfortunately, I did not cross it as I hoped I would. I could give the excuse that I didn’t have “enough time,” to walk across it, but I’m just going to be honest and admit that even walking 20 feet over it caused me to panic and rush back to safe ground. It was much longer than I thought and much higher than I anticipated. It’s insane and amazing to think that there are locals who cross Tanize daily- even on mopeds!!

On the way to Yamato-yagi Station where I would be picking up Trevor, I conversed with the friendly bus driver, who told me as we were leaving Tanize that the bridge was the 2nd largest in Japan, the number one being in Yamaguchi prefecture. I always though that Tanize was the largest, so to think that there was one that even surpassed Tanize… Wow!

After the long bus ride from the village to the station, I finally saw Trevor, Eri and her family. I could see them waiting inside the Mister Donuts as the bus entered the station. Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures of any of the donuts I ate… Sorry!! 😦 (Fortunately this week we’ll be heading up to Nara City by bus so we’ll make another stop at Mister Donuts and get some pictures)

Reunited!! Our first picture together on the bus back home.

Reunited!! Our first picture together on the bus back home.

**Going off on a tangent, I am so grateful to have met Eri the first time I came to Japan. I just can’t describe how fortunate I am to have met someone like her and to have her as a friend… It just makes me so happy!!**

On our way back to Totsukawa, the second rest stop our bus made was once again at the Tanize Suspension Bridge. There were more people there than I saw earlier that day- a group of kids who looked like they were all challenging each other to cross the bridge were present. I decided to go onto the bridge once more to see how far I could go. I went a little farther than I did during the first visit, but when I realized I could see directly into the campground site, I immediately turned around. I don’t know if power walking back was the best idea… but I got off it safe and thought it was best to just watch people cross the bridge instead. At one point, I saw a boy carry his pug across the bridge and when he tried setting him down, the poor thing wouldn’t move! What the power of heights and seemingly-weak structures can do to the mind…

The next day after I got off work, we decided to check out the local suspension bridge, located right next to the high school. This bridge, called the Kominoue Bridge, is not suspended as high as Tanize. The bridge stretches across the river and despite it not being as long as Tanize, walking across it sure felt like it did. Did I mention there isn’t really anything to grab onto unless you have your tetanus shot? LOL…

You see all that red? Rust.

You see all that red? Rust. You see those spaces along the planks? One wrong step and BOOM your leg caught in rusty metal. Hope you got your tetanus shot!

Prior to crossing the bridge. Trevor has been taking photos pretty much non-stop since he's got here and they're all turning out awesome!!

Prior to crossing the bridge. Trevor has been taking photos pretty much non-stop since he’s got here and they’re all turning out awesome!!

After we crossed the bridge, we turned left and started walking and came upon... someone's house?

After we crossed the bridge, we turned left and started walking and came upon… someone’s house?

More to update soon~!!

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