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Iwakuni岩国

Yamaguchi山口県

A castle town facing the Sea of Aki to the east. Its Kintaikyo Bridge is known as one of the Japan's three great bridges.

Iwakuni is situated in the easternmost part of Yamaguchi, on the west coast of the Sea of Aki in the Seto Inland Sea. Iwakuni Castle was built by a warlord in the Kikkawa family early in the 17th century. The castle was demolished under orders of the Tokugawa Shogunate seven years later, but was reconstructed in the middle of the 20th century. The castle houses a historical museum, and you can enjoy a panoramic view of Iwakuni from the observation deck on the top floor of the castle tower.

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.

Kikko-koen 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.

Iwakuni is also known as the habitat of a rare species of white snakes, designated as a natural monument of Japan. You can see them in the White Snake Park, about a 5-minute walk from Kintai-kyo Bridge.

Directions

From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 30 min from Haneda to Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport, and 10 min from the airport to Iwakuni Station by bus.
[Rail] 4h 30 min from Tokyo via Hiroshima to Shin-Iwakuni Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line.
From Osaka :
[Rail] 2h 10 min from Shin-Osaka via Hiroshima to Shin-Iwakuni Station by Shinkansen.

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