It starts off as a dull roar, prompting those of us sitting in the rice paddies to look skyward in anticipation. Then it builds, in the same way an orchestra tunes its instruments: first discordantly out of key before reaching a crescendo of perfect pitch. At noon exactly, the water pours forth and the old Tsujunkyo aqueduct is alive once more.

To the untrained eye, it seems an odd place for a bridge. The large stone structure, built in the mid-19th century, spans a considerable valley, though the river that cuts through the area beneath the bridge is only 3 or 4 meters wide. But spanning the divide was not Tsujunkyo’s true purpose.

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