Shijio-ohashi Bridge (四条大橋)

Shijio-ohashi Bridge is on Shijo-dori Street and over the Kamo-gawa River which runs through Kyoto City.

Summary

It is a steel continuous girder bridge with two piers in the river. It has two lanes for traffic (partly three lanes on the eastward traffic side with an additional right-turn lane), and wider sidewalks compared to those of the neighborhood streets.

It is always crowded with people, because it connects two busy districts representing Kyoto: Shijo Kawaramachi on its west side; and Gion on its east side. At the east foot of the bridge is the intersection with Kawabata-dori Street, on the underground, Shijo Station of Keihan Main Line, and there is a statue of IZUMO no Okuni (a Kabuki dancer originator during the beginning of the Edo period) at the northwest corner of the intersection. Takuhatsuso (begging monks) of Enryaku-ji Temple are often seen on this bridge. It is also crowded with pedestrians who transfer between Shijo Station of Keihan and Kawaramachi Station of Hankyu Railway.

History

According to the 'Shakenikki Record' (record of the Shinto priest family) of Yasaka-jinja Shrine, it was built based upon temple solicitation in 1142. It was washed away by floods many times, but was always rebuilt following each incident. It was a wide bridge from the end of the Heian period to the Kamakura period, because Rokuhara Tandai (the agency of Kamakura Shogunate set up in Kyoto) was at the east side of the Kamo-gawa River so it was strategically important. Compared to the Sanjo-ohashi Bridge and the Gojo-ohashi Bridge that served as terminals of main roads in the early-modern times, Shijo-ohashi Bridge was an approach to Yasaka-jinja Shrine and a relatively small bridge, because it was not under control of the Shogunate.

In 1857, at the end of Edo period, it was at last rebuilt as a stone bridge, and then into a steel bridge in 1874. At that time, a toll was being charged to pay off its construction cost. In 1913, it was rebuilt as an arch bridge of ferroconcrete to widen the street due to starting service of Kyoto City Trams. Because a flood brought driftwood to block water at its arched part and caused serious damages in the neighborhood in 1935, it was decided to rebuild the bridge again, and the present bridge was built in 1942. Its new railings were built in 1965.