Visiting one of the three great bridges in Japan - the Kintaikyo Bridge in Yamaguchi
Located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, a prefecture in the Chugoku region, at the southwestern tip of Japan's Honshu island, the Kintaikyo Bridge is known as one of the must-see attractions when visiting this beautiful land
On the way from Hiroshima to Shimane prefecture during our trip in Japan earlier this year, we passed by the peaceful Iwakuni city in Yamaguchi prefecture and stopped by the famous Kintaikyo bridge.
First, let's take a brief look at the history of this ancient bridge.
The Kintaikyo Bridge (錦帯橋) was first built in 1673, by the feudal lord Hiroyoshi Kikkawa with the original purpose to serve as one of the strategies to avoid enemy attacks on his territory. Since then until 2004, the bridge had undergone multiple renovations and reconstructions due to the destructive elements of nature.
This entirely wooden bridge has a surface length of 210 m along the bridge railing and a total length of 193.3m in a straight line, is 5m wide and its piers are 6.6m tall. It is a unique construction that uses a timberwork technique that involves the usage of metal belts and nails.
This bridge, which has 5 arches (with 3 central arch spans) supported by giant stone pillars across the Nishiki River, is a rare structure in the world. Kintaikyo was also awarded 2 stars by the famous travel magazine Michelin Green Guide in 2013.
Besides being impressed by its long history and architecture, the scenery and atmosphere while standing on this bridge was really fascinating to me.
The Japanese have a famous saying when it comes to Kintaikyo "春の桜に夏の花火、秋の紅葉に冬の雪化粧" (The spring has cherry blossoms, firework festivals are during the summer, red leaves come in the autumn, and the winter is adorned with white snow).
At the time of my visit, the cherry blossoms had not bloomed yet. But walking leisurely on each arch of the bridge, listening to the gentle sounds of water flowing in the beautiful Nishiki River under your feet, and breathing in the warm breeze under the clear blue sky in the early spring, was really heart-touching.
Perhaps such peaceful scenery led each visitor coming here to choose a different way of exploring. There was not much noise as usually found in other tourist spots, instead, everyone was very relaxed and was leisurely standing on the bridge to enjoy the scenery and choosing a private corner to relax their soul.
As for me, I promised myself that I would return to Kintaikyo during other seasons.
Some additional information
The entrance fee for the bridge was 310 yen and it was open all day so you could come in anytime. In the evening there was no staff on duty so you should put the money in the prepared box. Although it was allowed to operate 24 hours, the lights were on only until 10 pm so you should pay attention.
On the other side of the bridge was a street with various souvenir shops and food stalls, so everyone could choose to try an ice cream as all flavors were very delicious. But remember that no food was allowed on the bridge.
I hope that you will also have good memories when you come to visit Kintaikyo.
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