Cau pagoda, also known as Lai Vien pagoda, is a symbol of the old city of Hoi An.
It attracts many tourists everyday who come to admire the old Japanese architecture and the romanticism of the place.
Cau Pagoda was built by Japanese tradesmen possibly in the beginning of the17th century. It is composed of two parts: the bridge and the pagoda which are all in painted wood.
The bridge is covered by a tiled roof. It is about 18 meters long and spans a stream of Thu Bon River, near the intersection of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Tran Phu streets.
People also call it the Japanese Covered Bridge and it is a beautiful example of the Japanese architecture from the time.
At one end, there is a sculpture of 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.
The gate of the pagoda is carved with three words Lai Van Kieu (bridge of friends from afar). That name was given by King Nguyen Phuc Chu during a visit to Hoi An in 1719.
This monument was not just a bridge or a pagoda but it was the former gathering place of villagers who dreamed of a community in harmony.