Tokyo’s Sumida River is famous among tourists for the ferry rides on the river which pass below many historical bridges. One of the bridge is Eitai-bashi near the Monzen-nakacho area which is our favorite for a morning walk with beautiful skyscraper skyline views.
Historically there was a island here names Eitai-Jima (eternal island) and a temple Eitai-Ji a temple which was built around mid 17th century.. At the same time a major shrine Tomioka Hachimangu (Today at Monzen-nakacho) also was built.
The bridge was built to connect over to the other side of the Sumida River and was a wooden construction initially. The bridge was a livelihood of the local people which facilitated connectivity to Tokyo and the bridge was maintained by the local townspeople in an arrangement with the local shogunate for 88 years until tragedy struck in 1807.
The September 20, 1807 tragedy of Eitaibashi
The Tomioka Hachimangu, even today celebrates every 12 years a festival and in 1807 thousands of people were gathered on the bridge (then wooden) to participate in the festival. As the bridge gave away, 1400 participants died or missing as per the records kept. That must have been such a bad experience for the many participants.
Primarily we have crossed this bridge so many times in our car, what seems like a quick few seconds drive has a sad history over two hundred years back.. unthinkable..
In the early days of this bridge two centuries back, the art shows that Mount Fuji was visible from this area which with many skyscrapers now dotting the skyline, is simply an impossible expectation. It is the newly arrived Tokyo Skytree which now is visible in the background.
The best view which we know of is to actually walk all the way over to the new Chuuo Ohashi and from their get the European style structure (on the left in the following snap, Eitaibashi on the right and Skytree on the extreme background, all in one shot.)
One more shot of the beautiful bridge standing on the Chuo Ohashi Bridge center.
In 1897 , the wooden bridge was finally demolished, and replaced by a structure built of iron and steel while the bases were retained from the original wood which lasted until the Great Earthquake of Kanto in 1923. When the earthquake struck the wooden bases burnt and gave away bringing the structure down once again. It was in 1926 that the final structure which stands today took shape. The bridge is nearly 90 years OLD!!! The 3 year old Skytree handsomely graces itself in the background of Eitai-bashi today.
The skyline from the bridge is equally beautiful with the Chuo-Ohashi Bridge and the various skyscrapers which dot the skyline of the Sumida River. Ferries with tourists pass in the evening which is a beautiful sight to watch sitting on the banks. Highly recommended.
From the bridge itself you can see ferries reflecting their lights into the Sumida River looking awesomely beautiful as in the snap below.
The bridge was supposedly red in its earlier form which is now light blue and we recommend you the night time illumination of the bridge. Signing off with the hope that the Eitai-bashi will as per its name “eternal” continue to serve connecting the suburbs to the central Tokyo side.