If you’re researching on places to visit in Kochi, one famous bridge you would likely come across is Hariyama-bashi located in the heart of Kochi City, a small little 20m red arched bridge standing in the middle of concrete buildings and concrete pavements. Nevertheless, Hariyamabashi became famous due to the tragic love story behind it, and is a tourist spot for domestic and overseas tourists alike.
However, in this article I would like to introduce another lesser known bridge in Kochi, the Asaochinka Bridge (浅尾沈下橋). Searching for it in English gives almost no existing search results, and I myself only found this little scenic spot while I was trawling the web and social media sites in Japanese. The photos taken at this place were absolutely marvelous and romantic, and I decided that I had to visit this underrated place when I was in Kochi.
Technically, it’s not really the bridge itself that’s famous, but the river that it is situated on top of – the Niyodo River (仁淀川). The Niyodo River is considered as one of the most untainted waters in Shikoku, and is often compared to its more famous counterpart, the Shimanto River. In fact, in Japanese there is a term called “Niyodo Blue” (仁淀ブルー), describing how the river is so clear that it turns a shade of clear, shimmering blue. While there are many valleys and waterfalls where you can get a glimpse of Niyodo River’s blue waters, the Asaochinka Bridge arguably boasts one of the greatest views of the Niyoda River. On the Asaochinka Bridge you can get an excellent unobstructed view of the mountains and river on both sides of the stream. During summer, many people can be seen fishing on the bridge. Asaochinka gained prominence when it was used as the backdrop to many scenes in the movie [君が踊る、夏].
The day that I went to visit the Asaochinka Bridge, the waters weren’t the famous “Niyoda Blue”, but it was definitely a beautiful river nonetheless. It was a clear shade of green – not the algae kind of green – and I felt that the water quality was indeed first-class as rumored to be.
Driving on a car from afar you might not spot the bridge unless you’re looking out for it, because if you’ve driven enough in Kochi you might realize that there are plenty of similar small bridges. However, it’s Asaochinka’s narrow (but wide enough) bridge that allows you to drive across if you’re daring enough. When rainfall is heavy and the tide rises, the bridge also becomes completely submerged, much like many of Kochi’s other low-lying bridges.
As you can see from the picture, the surrounding village gives a surreal feeling to the whole atmosphere, as though you’ve entered a quiet village and discovered its well-kept secrets.
Unfortunately such a beautiful place is only accessible by car (which is logical given how the area itself is so quiet and peaceful), and it’s approximately 32km from Kochi City, a 50 minutes’ drive away. There is space for parking on the kerb a short distance away from the bridge and given the quiet nature of the area there isn’t much traffic.
Asaochinka Bridge is located at Kamaidahonson, Ochi, Takaoka District, Kochi Prefecture 781-1321 (〒781-1321 高知県高岡郡越知町鎌井田本村向井).