Random Impressions Part 7 – Kintaikyo

First seen on Sumikai


© Sakura_Fujiko

The Kintaikyo Bridge, Symbol of Iwakuni in the Yamaguchi prefecture, spans the Nishiki river and is unique in its construction.

The five-arch bridge was built in 1673 by Kikkawa Hiroyoshi, the third lord of the Kikkawa Family who had their residence in Iwakuni during the Edo era. The Kintaikyo connects the town with Kikkou-Park, where the Kikkawa Family used to live. The Iwakuni Castle, or at least the 1960 rebuild castle, can be seen on top of the mountain from the bridge.

Not only the form, but also the construction of the bridge is unique. The three middle arches were originally built without pillars and on the whole length of the wooden bridge not one nail was used. The maintenance included periodical rebuilding. Every 40 years the outer arches were rebuild and every 20 years the three middle ones. Thanks to this maintenance the bridge stood for 276 years without damage until a flood in 1950 destroyed it. During the second world war the maintenance was paused and because of the utilization of the river bed grovel by the US-Army the stream of the Nishiki river had grown much stronger.

In 1953 the bridge was reconstructed with modern building techniques, therefore now using metall nails and pillars for the middle arches. But the shape of the 5 meters wide and 175 meters long bridge stayed the same and 1922 the Kintaikyo was declared national treasure. It is today the biggest tourist attraction in Iwakuni.

The official website of the Kintaikyo bridge not only offers Information about the bridge but also films about the history and construction. And if, after that, you have the urge to convince yourself that the bridge is still standing, can visit the Live-Camera feed here.

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