By Amanda Scott
The Tanize Suspension Bridge, located in the Nara prefecture of Japan, is one of the country’s longest still-wire suspension bridges. The bridge is 297m long and 54m tall. It has become a major tourist attraction, offering both adventure for thrill seekers and beautiful scenery for nature lovers.
The Tanize Suspension Bridge was constructed in 1954 in the village of Totsukawa. Each family in the village donated $3000 to fund the building of the Tanize Suspension Bridge. Donations totaled nearly $80,000.
Every year on August fourth an event known as Yuredaiko, the drums on the shaking bridge, takes place on the Tanize Suspension Bridge. The spectacle is performed by the group Kodama. Kodama puts on a powerful show using Japanese drums. Many tourists and locals alike gather to take in the show.
In addition to the Tanize Suspension Bridge and the Yuredaiko event there are many other things tourist can enjoy in the village of Totsukawa. The Sasanotaki Waterfall, or Waterfall of the Bamboo Grass, is listed as one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan. It reaches approximately 32m high and contains the purest water in the region. Totsukawa is also known for its Onsen or hot springs. There are also many footbaths in Totsukawa.
Tourists can also experience “Yaen,” which are small gondolas hung from ropes above a river. The Yaen are used to move from shore to shore and used to be as a means of transportation for the villagers of Totsukawa, however now they are mostly enjoyed by tourists. It takes about ten minutes for the average person to cross using the Yaen.
Totsukawa is just one of Japan’s many treasures. It is the largest village in Japan in terms of land area and offers travelers many options of entertainment.
By Amanda Scott
Since the end of World War II, Japan has banned dancing in establishments without a special “dance license.” This 67 year-old ban, which was recently lifted, forbade dancing in public places that did not hold a license. Dancing after midnight was also prohibited regardless of license.
Even though the archaic law remained in place, during the late twentieth century it was widely over-looked by law enforcement. The hard-to-enforce law was commonly broken, until nightclub brawls and drug scandals led to club raids which brought attention to the almost forgotten ban.
Japanese musician, Ryuichi Sakamoto, led a campaign, which gained 150,000 signatures in favor of dissolution of the dancing prohibition. The new law was formalized last week, however dancing in un-licensed premises and late-might dancing will remain illegal until the law goes into effect next year.
The government took into consideration the upcoming 2020 Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo, when deciding whether or not to lift the ban. Officials took the necessary steps by lifting the ban to make sure visitors to Tokyo were able to have a good time, dance, and spend money.
While Japan may be becoming Footloose, like the rest of the world, Sweden’s no dancing laws remain intact. Clubs and bars that allow spontaneous dancing without a license are subject to fines. Early this year, in March, Swedish law-makers voted on, but did not pass, a bill that would have lifted the bizarre ban on dancing.