Harimaya Bridge is a 20-meter-long span that came to symbolize love because of an ill-fated affair: A 19th-century monk named Junshin, allowing emotion to overcome his vows of a solitary life, bought a hairpin for his secret love from a shop next to the bridge.
Monks were forbidden to fall in love in that era. When word of Junshin's outrageous act spread, both he and his lover were banished. The memory of the incident lives on, however, in song and cinema. The bridge is considered one of Kochi's most popular sightseeing spots.
Throughout the ages the bridge has been repeatedly torn down and rebuilt
The bridge was a central location for the 2009 movie Harimaya Bridge
Take the tram from Kochi Station to the Harimayabashi stop.
It is the third stop from Kochi Station. When you get off the tram, cross over the large intersection. The bridge is a short walk from there.
The ill-fated love story between Junshin—a priest of Chikurin-ji temple on Mt. Godai—and a tinker's daughter named Ouma, gained notoriety about a century and a half ago. They tried to keep their affair a secret, but that ended when Junshin bought a hairpin for Ouma.
The tale of these two lovers lives on in Kochi as the story is recounted every year in the lyrics for the city's Yosakoi Festival song. The site of the bridge gained even more attention through the 2009 movie Harimaya Bridge.
Shops near the bridge sell kanzashi hairpins and sweets and cookies with hairpin designs.
The Yosakoi Matsuri is Kochi’s biggest annual event, held every summer in August, bringing together more than 10,000 dancers to celebrate life, the harvest and the city’s prosperity.