Kumamoto: Old Aqueduct Wows Onlookers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Water is discharged from Tsujunkyo Bridge in Yamato, Kumamoto Prefecture, on April 1.

YAMATO, Kumamoto — Tsujunkyo Bridge’s water-release system has begun to be deployed for this season, delighting onlookers in Yamato, Kumamoto Prefecture.

The 75-meter-long stone-arch aqueduct — built in 1854 to supply water to surrounding rice paddies — is an important cultural property for its role in preserving Japan’s historical irrigation technology.

The purpose of the discharge is to remove sediment from the pipes, and the powerful spray is popular among tourists. The system is operated at 1 p.m. on weekends and major holidays in May but is not used during the busy summer farming season, nor from December through March.

“It’s been a while since I saw it and it was very impressive,” said a 39-year-old man visiting from Kumamoto City on April 1, the day of the first discharge of this season. “The old technology is amazing.”