Location: Iwakuni-Jo Castle and Kintai-kyo Bridge

A little ways south of Hiroshima is the town of Iwakuni. It sits at the mouth of Nishiki river and on its delta. Following that river in-stream just a little ways, you come to Kintai-kyo (Kintai Bridge).
 The bridge was built in 1673, and was constantly maintained and survived typhoons and floods for hundreds of years despite using no metal nails.
 However, in 1950 it was washed away by a flood after being neglected due to the war and changes in the river flow due to gravel being taken to use on a military base.
 It was rebuilt using traditional methods and metal nails and has remained even more stable than before. It's a national treasure along with the castle.
 Crossing the footbridge (there is a fee - or you can walk a short way upstream and cross the modern bridge) you come to a nice tourist area. There is a large park-like walkway after passing some stores.
 They are traditional Japanese tourist shops selling snacks and omiyage (souvenirs).
 On a non-rainy day this park would be even more beautiful.
 To the right is a lotus pond guarded over by this samurai statue. Just behind the sword you can see a hint of the castle.
 And next to that is a rose garden.
 I like photographing flowers, if you haven't noticed.
 Quick biology quiz: what are the yellow parts of the flower called?
 Traveling in late April/early May, there were a bunch of flowers to admire.
 Continuing on, you come across a shrine.
 If only it had been a nice day.
 Lots of little monument things can be found in the shrine grounds.
 Here's a gate.
 Inside the gate you find Kikko shrine .
 Low-hanging flowers look nice in this environment.
 There's a pond with a fountain.
 Another temple torii (gate).
 It's a beautiful building.
 There are some wysteria (right?) blossoms on this trellis. It's a great place to relax in dryer weather.
 Which way is north?
 Another monument.
 One more macro shot.
 Looking back at the temple.
 It sits across a small pond leading back from the lotus garden.
 Taking the cable car (ropeway) to the top of the mountain and a short hike brings you to the castle.
 It was built from 1601 to 1608, and looks over the entire town and bay (Aki-nada Sea) if the weather is clear. Unfortunately, despite (or perhaps because of) its position, the shogun tore it down around 1615!
 A few hundred years later, it was reconstructed and now holds a museum with swords...
 And more swords...
 Elements related to the castle's history...
 And more...
 And armor!
 The view over the hills is really nice, especially since the sun was trying to peak out.
 Looking the other way you can see a bit of the river and town.
 Look straight ahead, the river, bridge, and bay can be seen.
 Back off the mountain, opposite the ropeway (cable car) entrance, is a British building (now the Iwakuni Art Museum) complete with...
 A British car.
 This building seems a bit out of place.
 Heading back toward the bridge, more flowers and trees can be enjoyed.
 Looking into a traditional house. This is known as the Mekata residence and was owned by a samurai family.
 In Kikko Park there's this building which was surrounded by an artificial pond.
 It looks like a jail, but peeking inside those barred windows I saw it was being used for storage. Perhaps it was an old prison or castle keep. It seems pretty modern though.
 But now, the door frame is home to a wild mushroom.
 The top has this terrace with what looks to be a water feature. It looks too good to be historic and I can't find anything about it.
Anyway, it's time to head back across the bridge and on my way to Kyushu. This is looking back - you can see the castle over the second arch from the right poking over the trees.

Iwakuni's bridge and castle can be reached by bus from Iwakuni Station. The bus costs 240 yen and the trip takes about 20 minutes, with buses leaving very often. The train from Hiroshima to Iwakuni takes a bit under an hour and is 740 yen. You can take the Shinkansen (kodama trains only) to Shin-Iwakuni for twice the price, but the trip takes only 15 minutes (buses from Shin-Iwakuni cost 280 yen and take about 15 minutes, but come only every 20 minutes). A combination ticket for the bridge, ropeway, and castle will cost 930 yen.  The castle is open daily from 9-4:45 (closed the last two weeks of December).

No comments:

Post a Comment