For many individuals, the beautiful countries of the world can be seen and accessed through the pages of a book or magazine, or with the click of a button on a computer or smartphone. However, this indirect perspective does little to no justice when trying to capture the full essence of beauty, which is especially the case for the beautiful country of Japan. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to live and work here in Japan and share my encounters with other individuals who share the same interests as I do. With that being said, there is no better place to share with you first, than my city of residence, Iwakuni, Japan and its most famous landmark, The Kintai Bridge.
I was first introduced to the Kintai Bridge as a child when it appeared in the anime movie Afro Samurai. I had no idea at the time that that particular scene depicted an actual bridge in Japan. The Kintai Bridge is located in Yamaguchi prefecture Iwakuni City Japan, and was first built in 1673 by the lord of the Iwakuni domain, Hiroyoshi Kikkawa. However, due to Typhoon Kezia in September 1950, the bridge was destroyed and later reconstructed and completed in March 2004. The Kintai still remains one of the most famous landmarks to date. For only 300 yen ($2.50-$3.00 USD), you can cross the bridge and enjoy a walk along this impressive man-made structure.
The surrounding area around the Kintai Bridge offers many recreational options as well, such as fishing, hiking, and even a park area for children. If you’re looking for a place to eat, the Kintai has several places to sit down and indulge. Perhaps the most famous would be the mom and pop ice cream shops that offer dozens of flavors that captivate the senses. If you are feeling bold, some shops offer non-conventional varieties such ramen, habanero pepper, and wasabi flavored ice cream.
If you are feeling adventurous then I’d recommend taking a hike up to the Kintai Castle which is on one of several hiking trails. However, be warned that depending on the time of year you visit, you may be sharing the trails with many creepy crawling spiders and their many webs spun along trees and bushes. If you’d prefer the less scenic, risky path, then you can take the ropeway to the top of the mountain for ¥1000 ($9.50-$10.00) per person.
All in all, the Kintai Bridge and its surrounding area is just one of many beautiful places Japan has to offer. Places such as these are beautiful when viewing it from the pages of a book or through a computer screen, yet it is an entirely different experience when viewing these sites with your own eyes. From the cool breeze on your skin, to the smell of the fresh autumn air, to the taste of the local cuisine, Iwakuni, Japan definitely exceeds the expectations of what you may think while viewing it indirectly.