Monday, September 5, 2011

Kintai Bridge

Today was another very busy day. I will break this into multiple posts because it just takes too long to load all the pictures. Iwakuni is known for two things: the Kintai Bridge and white snakes. We definitely wanted a whole day to explore Kintai and the surrounding area. We are still without our bicycles and too cheap to pay for a taxi, so we walked. And I'm still afraid of the bus system at this point.
A beautiful day
 So we start walking. And walking. See that tiny white building on the mountain below? Yeah, we're walking there.
Many miles to go...
Sometimes the translation is a little off.

Finally! We made it! 

Kintai Bridge

More Bridge
As history goes: The fast-moving currents swept many previous bridges away. The Nishiki is the primary path for snow and ice melt from the mountains. The unique bridge was completed in 1673. It stood for over 200 years until a direct hit of typhoon Kijiya wiped it and the surrounding city out. Townspeople tried saving the bridge over protecting their home and valuables. It was rebuilt after the original design. Now they take a small fee to cross that is used to maintain.

 The arches are actually wood slats that create steps on the top side. The original bridge was not built with nails; however, to ensure durability they have added them on the arches.

In the middle


Surrounding the bridge is a beautiful park with many tourist shops, ice cream, and monuments. Another stop on our tour was the museum for the "White Snakes of Iwakuni." These rare snakes are unique to Iwakuni city.

A skin

Bad glare, but there they are
 And now you've seen the rare Iwakuni white snake. The museum has four adults and two babies in captivity. They are considered a historical treasure so you have to donate ¥100 to see them.

Fountains in Kikko Park

Kikko Park
 The area around the bridge is Kikko Park and had many other museums and historically relevent residences. It's not a large area and then all of a sudden you are in someone's backyard. The lines between national treasure and residential area are very blurred... which is how we stumbled into a shinto shrine.

1st Feudal Lord and "Legal wife"
 The shrine is through a torii gate and then is a maze of outdoor rooms. We walked through and read the dates of deaths of husbands, wives and daughters. Only one son was present out of over 300 years of feudal leadership.

Burial Markers
 The above picture is the 3rd lord and his legal wife. I found it interesting that when women and men were buried next to each other there was no distinguishing one monument from the next. I observed that women were given equal status in death. I'm still doing research on this, but found it interesting.

It was getting late in the afternoon and we hadn't eaten since breakfast. So we just had to stop here on the way out.

32 flavors and then some...
 They had more flavors than I have ever seen before. Red bean, green tea, edemame, pumpkin, grape, apple.. and then the traditional vanilla, chocolate, and banana. We played it safe and got chocolate and mango. Next time I want to try pumpkin...

 After eating our ice cream we strolled down a path running along the river. The cherry trees aren't in bloom yet, but we will have to make it back here when they are. I imagine this is amazing...


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