Tokiwa Bridge

Tokyo, Japan

Tokiwa Bridge

The Tokiwabridge (常盤橋) is a bridge over the Nihonbashi River between Ōtemachi, Chiyoda, Tokyo and Nihonbashi Motoishi-chō, Chūō, Tokyo. There are actually two separate "Tokiwa Bridges": a pedestrian-only stone bridge which led to a gate of Edo Castle and a road bridge constructed after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake located 70 meters away. Both of these bridges are made from stone, have a double arch structure.

The origins of the Tokiwabashi are uncertain. In Muromachi period documents, a bridge over the Kanda River is mentioned in this location from the time that Ōta Dōkan first constructed Edo Castle. In any event, after the complete reconstruction of Edo Castle and its associated jōkamachi by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the road from Edo Castle crossing the Tokiwabashi led to the Ōshū Kaidō, the primary highway between Edo and the northern provinces. The bridge went by many names. It was originally called "Ōhashi", and was the location of a famous sword market. The market was so popular that the selling of counterfeit swords proliferated, leading to the term "Ōhashi-mono" as a pejorative for "fake". The bridge was also called the "Asakusaguchi Bridge" because it was built on Honmachi-dōri, which directly connected to the entertainment district of Asakusa. The name "Tokiwabashi" appears from after 1629, and may have been coined by Shōgun Tokugawa Iemitsu from a poem in the Kin'yō Wakashū, although several other theories exist.

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