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Kintaikyo is a bridge over Nishiki River in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi prefecture. It is a wooden bridge of 5 meters width, 193.3 meters long when measured straight between two ends, 210 meters long when measured along the arches. It is selected as one of the best bridges in Japan. The feudal lord who built Iwakuni castle and the castle town in Edo era built this bridge to connect the area near the castle where upper rank samurai soldiers lived and the area across the river where the middle, lower rank samurai soldiers lived. The construction was completed in 1673 with a strong structure of stone piers and five arches not to be destroyed by the flood in the rough Nishiki River. The present bridge was restored in 2004 using the original construction method.
- 1 Iwakuni, Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi
- Contact No.
- Take a bus bound for Kintaikyo or Shin-iwakuni station from JR Iwakuni station. Ride for 20 minutes and get off at the bus stop Kintaikyo. Walk a little. Take Iwakuni bus from Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport. Ride for 27 minutes and get off at the bus stop Kintaikyo. Walk a little.
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 30 minutes
- Admission fee
- Adults 300 yen, elementary students 150 yen.
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
The arches of Kintaikyo show a steep gradient. If you look up the bridge from underneath, you will see the unique structure built by the technique called Kumiki (the technique to combine timbers without nails) which is original to this bridge. Six kinds of timbers are joined together intricately. This technique made it possible to design this bridge to become stronger in spite of its weight and safe from the flooding river.
Kintaikyo Painted in Ukiyo-e
Hiroshige Utagawa, the representative Ukiyo-e artist in Japan, painted the scenery with Kintaikyo in his work of “Rokujuyoshu Meisho Zue” painted during 1853 to 1856. It means that this bridge with sturdy rock piers and wooden arches has always been a symbol of Iwakuni.
Illuminated Bridge at Night
Kintaikyo is illuminated at night for a certain period of time. The bridge illuminated in the darkness shows another face different from the bridge under the daylight. You can also see Iwakuni castle above the bridge, on the mountain. The scenery boasts the beauty of Iwakuni, the town that once flourished as a castle town.
Kintaikyo and Cherry Blossoms: a Stunning Collaboration
Kintaikyo and neighboring Kikko Park are covered with about 3,000 cherry trees such as somei yoshino and yaezakura(double flowered cherry blossoms). The open space with grass is a great spot to enjoy cherry blossoms fully. Also, taking the pleasure boat “sakura-bune”(cherry blossoms boat) is another way to enjoy cherry blossoms.
Kintaikyo Houseboat is in operation on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays from the end of March to May, from the middle of September to November every year. It offers a peaceful time admiring Kintaikyo and the riverside scenery. Packed lunches and alcoholic drinks are available on the boat. (please confirm beforehand).
The castle stands on the mountain overlooking Kintaikyo is Iwakuni Castle. The present castle tower was restored in 1962, using the illustration stored in the castle as reference. Various swords and armor are exhibited inside the building where you can learn the history of Iwakuni. Kintaikyo can be seen from the tower castle.