Bacterial collagenases involved in donor infection are widely applied in many fields due to their high activity and specificity; however, little is known regarding the mechanisms by which bacterial collagenases degrade insoluble collagen in host tissues. Using high-speed atomic force microscopy, we simultaneously visualized the hierarchical structure of collagen fibrils and the movement of a representative bacterial collagenase, Clostridium histolyticum type I collagenase (ColG), to determine the relationship between collagen structure and collagenase movement. Notably, ColG moved ~14.5 nm toward the collagen N terminus in ~3.8 s in a manner dependent on a catalytic zinc ion. While ColG was engaged, collagen molecules were not only degraded but also occasionally rearranged to thicken neighboring collagen fibrils. Importantly, we found a similarity of relationship between the enzyme-substrate interface structure and enzyme migration in collagen-collagenase and DNA-nuclease systems, which share a helical substrate structure, suggesting a common strategy in enzyme evolution.