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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Sada Chinkabashi 佐田沈下橋

Visited 20.11.2014



Communication breakdown. My main objective in Shimanto was for Shimantogawa (Shimanto River). This 196 m long river stretches from the mountainous area to Pacific Ocean and is widely known as the last clear river in Japan because there are no dams constructed throughout its entire length. There are numerous ways to explore this river - through outdoor sports activities (such as kayaking), tour boats, cycling or driving alongside the river. Reached Shimanto on Day 7 and hired a sightseeing taxi to ferry us to the southernmost point of Shikoku - Ashizuri. Tried my best to communicate to my driver (in mixture of English, Japanese and hand gestures) to bring us to at least one "chinkabashi" (otherwise known as sinking bridge) along Shimanto River after visiting Cape Ashizuri. He did not understand my intent and brought us back to the hotel instead. By the time we arrived at the hotel, it was already close to sunset and I made a decision to hire the same taxi driver to fetch us from the hotel early next morning to visit Sada Chinkabashi before heading for Nakamura Station.


Short encounter. There are about 47 chinkabashi crossings scattered throughout Shimanto River. My first impression of these narrow features was that they looked unsafe without any parapets (low walls/railings at both sides of the road). In fact, they are designed not to have parapets to prevent them from being washed away when these bridges look like they have sunken during periods of high tide. Our taxi driver brought us to Sada, the chinkabashi nearest from the hotel (Nakamura Prince Hotel) and Nakamura Station and also the longest crossing (291.6 m) along Shimanto River. Spent a while to walk on the bridge, carefully sitting on the edge to observe the clear waters streaming past below the bridge, soaking myself entirely into the laidback, natural surroundings. Though it was a short encounter, the alluring and scenic landscape made me want to visit this place again. Most importantly, to allocate more time to uncover more chinkabashi by other means such as boat ride or cycling on my next visit to Shimanto River.



Other Chinkabashi:

- Iwama Chinkabashi (岩間沈下橋). About 1 hour drive away/3 hours by cycling from Nakamura Station, this 120 m long bridge is frequently spotted in posters featuring Shimanto River.

- Katsuma Chinkabashi (勝間沈下橋). About 45 mins drive away/2 hours by cycling from Nakamura Station.

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Sada Chinkabashi 佐田沈下橋
20 mins drive away/50 mins by cycling from Nakamura Station.
Shimanto City Tourist Association Website: http://www.shimanto-kankou.com/
- Bicycles can be rented from Shimanto City Tourist Association Information Center.
- Boat rides, canoeing or kayaking: http://www.shimanto-kankou.com/doc/fune/fune.html
- Sightseeing bus (四万十川バス) operates between Nakamura Station and Ekawasaki Station on certain dates (typically on Fridays, weekends and public holidays). Refer to Shimanto City Tourist Association Website for more information. 


Shimanto City Tourist Association Information Center:

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Video: Scroll to 20:08 for feature of Shimanto River in 玩乐志.

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