It’s been awhile since I’ve update my #TravelWebsite and since it’s #Christmas & the #HolidaySeason; I’d like to take this opportunity to share with all my readers about a really spacial place in #Japan where i personally find that it’ll be amazing to spend #Xmas here during wintrer. Iwakuni not too well known as a tourist destination but it’s full of history and trust me when I say it’s stunningly beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Think of it as a rare hidden gem that’s really worth experiencing. One can easily spend entire there and that still wouldn’t be enough to experience everything the place has to offer! I’ll let the pictures do the talking! #MerryChristmas & #HappyHolidays everyone!!
#Iwakuni is situated in the easternmost part of #Yamaguchi Prefecture, on the west coast of the Sea of Aki in the Seto Inland Sea.
It is closer to Hiroshima city rather than the other cities in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and is located about 40 km southwest of #Hiroshima.
By the way, if you’d like to, check out our previous posts on Iwakuni, HERE!
Iwakuni has been the important place of both land route and sea route, there stood a town in ancient times.
In the 17th century, Iwakuni Castle was built, after which it soon developed as a castle town.
The nostalgic old town is located about 5 km west of the central Iwakuni city, across the majestic bridge of #Kintaikyo.
Nishiki River lies in-between with clear water flows, with many sightseeing spots all surrounding the area.
The Nishiki River running through the city is spanned by Kintaikyo Bridge, the symbol of Iwakuni. Measuring about 200 meters in length and 5 meters in width, this wooden, quintuple arched bridge is a unique assembly of timbers built without the use of a single nail, and is known as one of Japan’s three great bridges.
Kintai Bridge or Kintaikyo; in Japanese, is a wooden arch bridge across Nishiki River.
The exact length of Kintaikyo is 193.3 meters and its width measures at 5 meters. It has five arches.
The original bridge was built in 1673 to connect Iwakuni Castle and the castle town.
To construct the bridge resistant to flood, an arch bridge in China was the source for inspiration and gave the designer and idea for the structure.
After its completion, this bridge has managed to continue standing for a long time since then, thanks to periodical maintenance.
However, signs of neglect eventually showed as it was washed away first in a massive flood by a typhoon in 1950. It has been said that the reason of the washout was neglect, due to World War 2 attributing to lack of manpower.
Since World War 2, it was then finally restored in 1953.
This amazing bridge is assembled elaborately, primarily made of wood, without a single nail.
Currently in an effort to preserve the bridge, as maintenance each arch will be scheduled for replacement once every ten years.
Across the majestic bridge, you’ll be greeted by an old small town with Kikko Park stretching out behind it. On top of the mountains above, Iwakuni Castle can be seen mystically through the thick fog.
Kikko Park, which is located just across Kintaikyo, is famous for Cherry Blossoms, as well as azaleas, irises, and other colored foliage to everyone to enjoy the beauty of natures’ seasonal changes.
Demonstration of matchlock guns and the march of daimyo also will be held in the park during periods of Kintaikyo festival in the spring. Because the park is located on the way towards the Iwakuni Castle Ropeway from Kintaikyo, people can enjoy the beauty of seasons.
At the foot of the mountain with Iwakuni Castle high above, the ropeway station is at the other end of this park, with the White Snake Park; an observation house of White Snakes just beside.
These White Snakes are actually Japanese Rat snakes without pigment and is the result of mutation. Since old times, the locals in the area have treasured the snakes as a messenger of God. Now only hundreds of snakes live in the area.
As Iwakuni is the habitat of the White Snakes, these’re rare species and have been designated as a natural monument of Japan, which can be seen in the White Snake Park, about a 15 minute walk from Kintaikyo Bridge.
Also in of Kikko Park, the site of the feudal lord Kikkawa’s former residence, is dotted with ditches and plaster-walled buildings surrounded by mud fences that show you how the houses of the samurai of those days looked. In the park is the substantially built Iwakuni Historical Art Museum.
Also worth visiting is the Iwakuni Choko-kan Museum, built during World War II, in which exhibits, artifacts, and documents relating to the Kikkawa family are on display. Not to forget mentioning, the Kikko Shrine is in the vicinity too.
Iwakuni Castle was built in 1608, by a warlord of the Kikkawa family, at the beginning of the Edo Period. The site of the castle was chosen for its natural defensive advantages on top of Mount Shiroyama while being half surrounded by a natural moat, the Nishiki River. The castle keep is four stories high, and looks out onto the city 200 meters below.
Probably a source of considerable frustration for those who built it, the original castle lasted only slightly longer than the time it took to construct it. Being built over the course of five years, the castle was torn down by decree of the Tokugawa Shogunate a mere seven years after its completion.
The present reconstruction dates from 1962, and has already outlasted the original castle by a considerable factor. The castle tower was restored based on the illustration of an old picture map. It is a ferro-concrete construction, and inside displays samurai swords, armor and other items related to the castle’s history. There are also displays on Kintaikyo Bridge and other famous bridges across Japan.
You can enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of Iwakuni from the observation deck, up on the top floor of the castle tower.
To #Visit and #Travel to the castle, Iwakuni Castle can easily be accessed simply by ropeway from the foot of the mountain. The station of the ropeway is located at only about 400 meters away, from Kintai Bridge.
Transportation to and around Iwakuni
(How to get to Iwakuni from Hiroshima)
The vast majority of #Travelers will approach Iwakuni from Hiroshima by either local train or shinkansen.
Shin-Iwakuni Station is a station along the JR Sanyo Shinkansen, but only kodama trains stop at the station. The one way trip from Hiroshima to Shin-Iwakuni takes 15 minutes and costs 1620 yen for a non-reserved seat or around 3000 yen for a reserved seat.
Alternatively, Iwakuni Station can be reached by frequently departing local trains along the JR Sanyo Main Line. The one way trip from Hiroshima takes 50 minutes and costs 760 yen. Miyajima is located about halfway in between; approx. 25 minutes, from Iwakuni Station
(Transportation Around Iwakuni)
Iwakuni has two main railway stations, Iwakuni Station, which is served by local trains in the city center and Shin-Iwakuni Station which is only served by shinkansen; in the outskirts of the city. As a rough estimate, Kintaikyo Bridge is located in between the two stations, about five kilometers from either station, and best reached by bus or taxi.
From Iwakuni Station, buses depart every 5-15 minutes in direction of the bridge, and the one way ride takes about 20 minutes and costs 250 yen. From Shin-Iwakuni Station, buses depart every 20-40 minutes in direction of the bridge, and the one way ride takes about 15 minutes and costs 290 yen.
All of Iwakuni’s other main attractions are located within walking distance of the Kintai-kyo Bridge, while a ropeway lifts tourists to Iwakuni Castle.
P.S. On a side note; It’s definitely more convenient to come to Iwakuni via driving there by car, compared to taking public transport (Especially if you’re a family with kids). You’ll understand what I mean if you decide and choose to visit this beautiful place someday!!
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~Thanks for reading!!~