Kintaikyo Bridge 錦帯橋
A singular and elegant wooden bridge once crafted entirely without nails
Kintai Bridge's five high arches—originally constructed without nails from Japanese cypress, chestnut and oak—span the banks of the Nishiki River in Iwakuni , a city in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The bridge's aspect changes significantly depending on the season and time of day, a visual feast for photographers and woodblock print artists such as Hokusai.
Cross the bridge and enter Kikko Park, which boasts homes where samurai families once lived.
- A chance to view the bridge during cherry blossom season
- Kikko Park and its 19th-century buildings
- Venturing further afield to Iwakuni Castle and the Iwakuni Art Museum
How to Get There
The Kintai Bridge is near JR Iwakuni Station, which is easily accessible by train from JR Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka stations.
Take a train to JR Iwakuni Station on the Sanyo Main Line from Hiroshima, or take the Sanyo Shinkansen from Hiroshima or Fukuoka and Shin-Yamaguchi to Shin-Iwakuni Station. Kintai Bridge is situated in between the JR Iwakuni and Shin-Iwakuni Stations, so take a taxi or bus leaving from in front of either stations to Kintai Bridge.
A bridge recognized in a Michelin Guide
Kintai Bridge has earned a range of official designations. Considered one of the three great bridges in the country and a Site of Scenic Beauty, it even earned two stars in the 2013 Michelin Green Guide to Japan.
Originally constructed in 1673 but destroyed by a typhoon in 1950, the bridge was rebuilt in 1953 based on the original design. The current bridge does use nails, but they are the same tatara iron once used to forge swords.
The bridge serves as the base for any visit around Iwakuni , and is a great place to start your trip around the area.
Seasonal hues around the bridge and Kikko Park
In April each year 3,000 cherry trees bloom in Kikko Park and around the Kintai Bridge. In fall, the colorful foliage of the trees in the park are striking, making Kikko one of the best spots in Iwakuni for enjoying the turning of the leaves.
There are many 19th-century wooden structures around the park, including majestic Kikko Shrine, Kinunkaku, a wooden storehouse constructed in 1885, and one-time samurai residences.
From Kikko Park, take the ropeway for three minutes and up 200 meters to Iwakuni Castle. Visit the castle museum to see exhibitions of samurai armor and artifacts, or climb to the top floor and look out of the observatory, which offers unbeatable views of Iwakuni and surrounds.