Toryu bridge (also called Toryumon) is over the Ara River (Arakawa) in the Mitsumine area of the former Otaki Village in Chichibu, Saitama.
Toryu Bridge is a footbridge at the start of the “omotesando”, the sacred trail, to the famous Mitsumine Shrine. The hike from the bridge to the summit takes around two hours. There is plenty of stunning scenery along the way. There used to be a rope-way close to the bridge, but it is long gone.
The bridge itself is also said to be divine. It is a recognized power spot. When you cross over from the main road to the side the shrine is, there are several statues and sacred trees right by the bridge. You can also see more wolf komainu which Mitsumine Shrine if famous for. So even if you don’t plan to hike all the way to the shrine, you can still feel some of the aura around the bridge area – of the 1900 year old Mitsumine shrine and its scared walkway that Emperors and Gods have walked.
Toryu bridge and the valley below are picturesque all year round, but it is particularly scenic during autumn when the leaves change color. The Arakawa River is wide and strong in this part of Chichibu and you can hear it gushing below before you even see it. You can also hear and see one of several waterfalls in the area.
There is a quaint little shop Beninoya just before the bridge as you enter from route 140. The shop is 105 years old. It sells souvenirs and drinks. There’s a view of the bridge from the windows on the riverside. You have to stand up to see the river and valley way down below! If you are visiting outside of autumn leaf season, you can see photos and posters in the shop of what the bridge looks like during the “kouyou” season.
Once upon a time Beninoya also served food, but at the moment it is not offering that service. You can pick up a few cooled drinks though. The shop has been host to not just one, but two emperors in its 105 years of service. And they have the plaques to prove it! Also the Kyokushin karate founder frequented the shops in bygone years. As well as dozens of TV personalities and stars.
Toryu Bridge Information
|Address:||735 Otaki, Chichibu, Saitama 369-1901|
|Phone:||0494-55-0707 (Chichibu Otaki area tourism group)|
|Hours:||7 am to 5 pm|
|Online:||Official web page|
Beninoya web page on the Chichibu Tourism website
The entrance to the hiking trail to the shrine is along route 140. There is a car park belonging to Beninoya. It costs 500 yen for the day. If you want to drive to nearer the entrance to Mitsumine shrine you need to stay on route 140. The shrine is actually a good 30 minute drive from the foot bridge! You pass some gorgeous scenery and points of interest along the way.
By public transport there is an infrequent bus from Mitsumineguchi station that stops close to the entrance, at Owa bus stop. On foot it would take over an hour just to the bridge from the station. If you are visiting in winter and combining a visit to the Misotsuchi icicles they are an hour on foot from the bridge or a short bus ride.