The Iya Vine Bridge or Iya Kazura Bridge, one of the three strangest bridges in Japan and designated as a National Important Tangible Folk Cultural Property, is a suspension bridge made of Japanese holly vine, 45m long, 2m wide, and 14m above the surface of the water, which used to be the only means of transportation across the deep mountain valley to the other side of the river, but now it is an important tourist resource in Miyoshi City, attracting about 350,000 tourists a year. The Iya Kazura Bridge is replaced every three years by the local “Iya Kazura Bridge Preservation Association” due to its aging and to pass on the replacement techniques. The bridge is still build in the traditional way, (handmade, natural materials). The wood supply is regolated by “Agreement on Creating a Forest that Supports Wood Culture” and an “Agreement on Securing Materials for the Iya Vine Bridge” providing a sustainable wood supply. The local community is involved in the process, from professional workers to agreements with the local schools.
Keywords: traditional crafts, cultural tourism, engineering, community involvement, cultural heritage, bridge