Photo provided by Connie Sceaphierde

Illegal motorbike crossing leaves Iwakuni’s Kintaikyo bridge beaten and battered

On Friday 17 July 2020 local residents of Iwakuni were horrified as they watched a motorcycle cross Kintaikyo Bridge in an evident joyride. The historical wooden structure was left damaged by tyre marks and the weight of the motorcycle.
According to the Yomiuri News, local police have now arrested a man on suspicion of violating the Cultural Property Protection Law.

We’ve taken a look at Kintaikyo before, and wrote about the bridge’s significant history and use of traditional architecture. Originally built in 1673, the bridge has survived a number of natural disasters and is now revered as one of Japan’s top 3 most famous bridges.
Made using simple mortise and tenon joints, the bridge is designed to have its walkway lifted away by any possible flooding. This traditional architectural method means that the wood is all slotted carefully together to create a stable walkway for pedestrians, but is far too delicate to allow the continuous crossing of vehicles. Because of this the bridge is open to walkers for a small fee, but is closed to all vehicles and cyclists.

Photo provided by Connie Sceaphierde

An announcement from the city on the 18th revealed that Iwakuni Police department was informed that a motorcycle was crossing the bridge at about 6:40pm on the 17th of July. When staff arrived at the scene they confirmed that out of the 550 planks that make up the archway footpath, 322 (60%) had been left with tyre marks from a motorcycle.

A 40 year old construction worker has now been arrested by the Iwakuni Police for damaging the bridge and for dangerous driving. The man is reported to have accepted the charges and has apologised for his shameful act.

By - Connie Sceaphierde.