Nature and History Abound! Wander Around Iwakuni, Not Far from Hiroshima
Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, about an hour away by train from Hiroshima, is full of things to see like nature and historical ruins! Here are 5 recommended spots to check out.
Kintaikyo Bridge is a wooden bridge that is representative of Japan. It was built in 1673, and it has lasted to modern day by constant repairing. The one bridge being made up of 5 arches is rare around the world, and the beautiful arches will catch your eyes. The best part to see is the backside of the bridge bottom seen from the river-bed. You can enjoy the sight of the elaborate techniques the craftsmen used to build the bridge. You can also ride a pleasure cruise and enjoy the sight of the bridge from the river. It's lit up at night for a limited time during the year. The sight of the bridge in gold lights against the darkness is a magical one that you shouldn't miss.
Entrance fee: Adults (middle school age and over) - 300 JPY, elementary school age children - 150 JPY
Lighting period: from early August 2017 to January 2018
Kikko Park is famous for flowers. Inside this vast park, there's a large fountain as well as seasonal flowers such as cherry blossoms, azaleas, and Japanese irises. There are also various historical buildings dotted around the park, including a samurai's home, a shrine building where ema (votive tablets) are hung, a shrine with a large pagoda tree, and more. This park is where the residence of the Kikkawa clan, Iwakuni's feudal lords, once stood. There is a lot to see, so please enjoy a leisurely walk around the park while enjoying the grassy fields and the tree shade.
Kagawa Clan Nagaya Gate
Kagawa Clan Nagaya Gate is inside Kikko Park. "Nagaya Gate" is one of the styles for gates of a samurai home. Both sides of the gate have houses for vassals. This building with a beautiful contrast between the white walls and black wood is about 300 years old. Each roof tile has the family crest etched into it, so you can see how much attention to detail went into building it. You are free to walk around the gate, but someone actually lives there as a private residence, so please be aware that you can't go inside.
Iwakuni Castle is built on the top of a mountain from where you can gaze out onto Kintaikyo Bridge. It's built using an unusual architectural style called "nanban-zukuri," in which the plane area of upper floors is larger than the one of lower floors. It takes 3 minutes to the foot of the castle via ropeway from Sanroku Station, right next to Kikko Park. Be sure to see the gorgeous view from the castle tower! You can see not just all of Iwakuni, but also the islands dotting the Seto Inland Sea. Inside the castle, you can enjoy the exhibited armor and swords.
Entrance fee: Adults (middle school age and over) - 260 JPY, elementary school children - 120 JPY
Ropeway fee: 550 JPY for adults, 250 JPY for elementary school children (both for round trip)
Iwakuni Shirohebi Shrine
The region of Iwakuni is home to white snakes, a rarity all around the world. The snakes have white skin and red eyes and seem mystical, so they've been a symbol of faith since ancient times as they were believed to bring luck and protect homes. Iwakuni Shirohebi Shrine deifies white snakes. Inside the grounds are plenty of designs made with snake motifs! The written fortune made in the shape of a snake is cute and popular, so please check it out. Also, in the animal rearing facility on the grounds, you can see real white snakes.
All of these spots are in a relatively close area, so you can travel around on foot or via bus. Please relax by enjoying Iwakuni's beautiful landscape.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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