What I found most fascinating is the story behind the song though.
The bridge, Watarasebashi, which is the title of the song, exists in real life. It's in a small town called Ashikaga (足利) in the Tochigi Prefecture (栃木県). It's north of Tokyo and around 1-2 hours by train. Here's its google map location if you're interested:
When Chisato began to write the lyrics, she set out to write about a bridge. So she laid out a map on the table and searched for any bridge or river whose name resonates beautifully. It was the name Watarasebashi that caught her attention. In fact, back in 1989, Chisato had a live performance at Ashikaga Industrial University. She remembered crossing some bridge that day. "Was it really the bridge of Watarase?" She wondered. With her mind set, she once again went to the town of Ashikaga to research on her lyrics. It was Fall 1992.
Here's a documentary featuring Chisato herself, who returned to Ashikaga in May 2012, 20 years after the song was released.
It turned out, what Chisato and her staff learned from the city hall, that the Sunset from the Bridge of Watarase was chosen to be among Ashikaga's top 100 sightseeing spots. The city of Ashikaga and its residents were extremely glad that Chisato wrote about that in her song!
There was a reference to a shrine called Yakumo Shrine (八雲神社) where the woman prayed for her lover. Fans wrote her letters and asked her which Yakumo Shrine she was referring to. In the documentary, Chisato said when she opened the map of Ashikaga, she immediately noticed the Yakumo Shrine. "The name rhymes very well with the melody, and so I decided to use it," she said. At that time, she knew there're 3 shrines named Yakumo within Ashikaga. She was not referring to any particular one. Later on, the city hall told her that they found 8 Yakumo shrines, and there might be more!
Also in the song, there's a reference to a telephone booth outside of a barber shop. Similarly, the residents of Ashikaga flooded her with photos asking her if she was referring to the one in their photo. Both the telephone booth and the barber shop exist as well! According to Chisato in her documentary, she got the idea from Beatle's Penny Lane where barber shop and fire station appear in the song. "I can use this," she thought as she noticed the telephone booth from her car during her research trip. She was totally surprised that some residents actually found it. There's one final story about this telephone booth though. As more and more people are carrying mobile phones, the need for public telephone diminishes. Consequently, in 2008, NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) wanted to demolish this phone booth in Ashikaga. The residents protested and eventually the telephone booth stayed.
In 2007, the city erected a monument around the Bridge of Watarase to commemorate the song. During the day, the song is played continuously at the monument.
It's just a fascinating story that I could not help but share with all of you! I hope you enjoy my first post on Kayo Kyoku Plus.