Cross @ Iya no Kazurabashi Bridge
Several parking lots nearby.
We parked at Yumebutaimaeno Parking Lot [Google map link] We paid ¥300 for ours. Toll to cross the bridge: ¥550
When people hear about Iya Valley, supposing that they have heard about it, the Kazurabashi bridges come to mind. They are suspension bridges, constructed with mountain vines and planks of wood, and faith. History of these bridges is unclear. Once upon a time, there used to be thirteen. Today, only three remain. It is thought that the bridges were the designs of Heike soldiers who retreated into this valley. When the Heike soldiers were chased by pursuers, they took advantage of the fragility of these structures and would cut the ropes to destroy the bridge, as a form of defence.
The Iya no Kazurabashi is the biggest and most easily accessible one.
It is a remarkable work of art. Despite its flimsy appearance, the bridge is designed to be strong as it is reinforced with steel cable, is anchored to tall strong cedar trees, and undergoes renovation every three years.
Crossing the bridge is quite scary, though my greatest fear is dropping my phone (with all my video clips) into the river, 14m below.
With every step of mine, or somebody else's, the bridge sways. Just a little bit. But enough to get pretty much everyone clinging onto the railings.
You can gain access to Iya river below via a flight of stairs. From the exit of the Iya no Kazurabashi bridge, turn left, walk past the Ikoi Shokudo いこい食堂 restaurant [Google map link], one can find a short flight of stairs down to the river bed.
Another highlight in this area is the Biwa Falls. Shot from below. The water from Biwa Falls feeds into Iya river.