Cau Pagoda in Hoi An Ancient Town, Quang Nam, Vietnam
Hoi An Ancient Town or Hoi An City is located in the downstream area of Thu Bon River junction in the coastal plain of Quang Nam province, 28km from Da Nang city to the southeast. Cau pagoda, also known as Lai Vien pagoda, is a symbol of Hoi An Ancient Town. It attracts many tourists every day who come to admire the Japanese ancient architecture and the romantic scenery of this place.
Cau Pagoda was built by Japanese traders at the beginning of the 17th century. It consists of two parts: the bridge and the pagoda, all of which are all in painted wood. People also call it the Japanese Covered Bridge and it is a beautiful example of the Japanese architecture at that time.
At one end, there is a sculpture of a dog and on the other end is a sculpture of a monkey. The two animals are sacred symbols in Japanese culture. According to the Asian zodiac, many Japanese emperors were born in the year of the monkey and the year of the dog. Records also say that the construction of the bridge was initiated in the dog year and was finished in the monkey year.
Cau pagoda has a very particular worshiping style. Inside the pagoda, there is no Buddha statue. Instead in the center of it, there is a wooden statue of the northern god Tran Vo Bac De. This god is the god of weather. People believe that he controls the weather and climate.
The pagoda was restored many times in 1817, 1865, 1915 and 1986. The gate of the pagoda is carved with three words Lai Vien Kieu (bridge of friends from afar). That name was given by Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu during a visit to Hoi An in 1719. This relic was not only a bridge or a pagoda but also the former gathering place of villagers who dreamed of a community in harmony.
Despite being restored several times, Chua Cau has been kept intact with architectural and cultural features. It now looks more sparkling with colorful lanterns at night. It becomes a place for many cultural activities of Hoi An and Japan, and every day there are domestic and foreign tourists visiting.