Ichijyo Modoribashi ~The History of a Little Bridge~

There is a bridge called Ichijyo Modoribashi near Samurai Juku. This is a little bridge, but there are several historical stories that happened on the bridge.

  Ichijyo Modoribashi

Ichijyo Modoribashi

Ichijyo modoribashi was established around 794, when Heiankyo (794~1868) was created and Kyoto became the capital city of Japan.

The name of Modoribashi is originally from the old tail of a father and a son at Heian period. Modoru means “come back” from somewhere in Japanese, and in this context, somewhere that you come back from is Higan, the after world.

In 918, the coffin of Miyoshi Kiyoyuki (847~918), the sinologist in Heian period, crossed the bridge. At that time, the son of Kiyoyuki came to the bridge and prayed to the god. Suddenly there was thunder and lightning, and Kiyoyuki revived for a limited time only and he could talk and hug his son for a while.

  Miyoshi Kiyoyuki  (847~918)

Miyoshi Kiyoyuki (847~918)

After this story, it is said that this bridge connects Shigan and Higan, this world and the after world.

In the middle of Heian period, Watanabe no Tsuna (953~1025), samurai who served to Minamoto no Yorimitsu (948~1021), came across Oni (a demon) on the bridge and cut off its arm. The sword he used at that time was a very famous sword called “Higekiri” and after this the sword also called “Onikiri Maru” (the sword cut Oni). You can see the sword today at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.

  Watanabe no Tsuna  at  Ichijyo Modoribashi

Watanabe no Tsuna at Ichijyo Modoribashi

At 1597, 26 Christians were cut their ears on Ichijyo Modoribashi. At the beginning of Edo period, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543~1616), the founder of Edo period, allowed Christians to believe the Christian faith. However, at 1612 the Tokugawa Shogunate banned Christianity and executed a lot of Christians in Japan.

There was a Christian church near Ichijyo Modoribashi from 1604, but it was also destroyed by the Tokugawa Shogunate around 1616.

 Former site of the Christian Church

Former site of the Christian Church

Ichijyo Modoribashi has been a place to execute political or religious prisoners for a long time. It is also said that because this bridge connects this world and the after world, soldiers crossed this bridge to come back safely to their home before they go to a battle field during WWII.

  Ichijyo Modoribashi

Ichijyo Modoribashi