The southwestern Chugoku region is a peaceful depiction of traditional Japan that travelers rarely find in the big cities. Among its scenery is Yamaguchi Prefecture’s famous Kintaikyo Bridge, the main landmark of the area.
The bridge is located in Iwakuni, a prominent city down the coast from Hiroshima Prefecture. Tourists come from all over for the fascinating history, striking scenery and even the signature ice cream nearby, yet, you won’t feel overwhelmed by big crowds.
The arched wooden bridge’s iconic look is perhaps most famed as a picture-perfect spot in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. But the surrounding scenery of Kintaikyo Bridge is beautiful in all seasons, as you catch a glimpse of how the locals live in this lesser populated part of Japan.
Originally built in 1673, the bridge was designed in a unique style of having five steep arches. These arches were made to represent western Honshu (Japan’s main island), as well as make it difficult for invading armies to cross the Nishigawa River. The bridge was unfortunately destroyed by a particularly harsh typhoon in 1950. It was rebuilt three years later using the same techniques and parts of the original bridge that were salvaged.
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