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Monkey Bridge from the series Views of the Famous Sights of Japan


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Monkey Bridge

No. 5 from the series 

Views of the Famous Sights of Japan

by Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1896

Yumoto Hot Spring, Nikko from the series Views of the Famous Sights Of Japan
IHL Cat. #1840

About This Print

Depicting Monkey Bridge (saruhashi), this print, as marked in the lower left margin, is number two of twenty-eight prints from the series Views of the Famous Sights of Japan (Nihon meishō zue) issued by the publisher Matsuki Heikichi in 1896 and 1897.  (For additional information on this series see the article Views of the Famous Sights of Japan.)

For another view of this bridge see the print Kai Province: Monkey Bridge from the series Nihon chishi ryakuzu (Simple Illustrations of Places in Japan).


Saruhashi is one of "Japan's Three Odd Bridges."  It is 33 meters high, 3.3 meters wide and 31 meters long.

The bridge is built over a narrow ravine, with four stacked haneki, or cantilevered members, embedded to the rock wall of both banks. The structural support is similar to architectural roofing. 

The construction year is unknown, but there are records of this bridge style existing in 1676. The oldest estimation is that it was completed over 500 years ago. The bridge was restored in 1984.

Saruhashi c. 1890
Albumen hand-colored print

image source: Syracuse University Art Museum 1987.248
Saruhashi today

The bridge's name comes from a tale about the original construction of the bridge when a group of monkeys (saru) descended upon the partially completed bridge and used their bodies to span the incomplete sections, forming their own bridge.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Monkey Bridge
 猿橋 Saruhashi
 Series Views of the Famous Sights of Japan
 Nihon meishō
 zue 日本名勝図会
 Artist Kiyochika Kobayashi (1847-1915)
Kiyochika 清親
 Seal kiyo 清 and chika 親 [see above]
 Publication Date
November 1, 1896
Matsuki Heikichi [proprietor of Daikokuya Heikichi] with Daihei seal
 松木平吉 大平
 [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 029]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair - full size; not backed; light wrinkling throughout; paper tear/loss lower right repaired verso; soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e meisho-e
Number 2 in the series as marked in lower left margin.
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper 
 14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (36.2 x 24.1 cm) 
 H x W Image
 13 3/16 x 8 1/2 in. (33.5 x 21.6 cm)

 Collections This Print
 Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art S2003.8.1214; tMuseum of Fine Arts, Boston 52.278; National Diet Library 寄別1-9-2-5
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