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Monday, March 17, 2014

Kintai Bridge In Iwakuni

Some of you have hopefully noticed that I have once again changed the look of this blog, changing the font of the blog title to a script that looks a bit more old school, and now sports another photograph from my collection of Japanese pictures from the 1930s.

The photo this blog will now be sporting for a little while is the Kintai-kyo (Kintai Bridge) located in Iwakuni-shi (Iwakuni City) in Yamaguchi-ken (Yamaguchi Prefecture) situated out in the western part of Japan's main island.

Known as the most popular sight-seeing landmark in the area, the Kintai Bridge was first built in 1673 and spans the Nishiki-gawa (Nishiki River).

What's cool about my photo (Twenty-to years previous I purchased a 1930s photo album at a flea market in Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi-ken) is that this photo shows the original bridge.

On September 14 (someone's birthday), 1950, a typhoon destroyed the original bridge. While construction on the new replacement bridge began only a week later, they did at least construct it using traditional techniques to recreate the original. Renovations to the bridge have been undertaken since that time, but it maintains its original appearance.

The Iwakuni Bridge, rebuilt, post-1950.
With five immense arches comprising the bridge, the arches are a symbol of the area.

The area does appear to be in a bit of a state of decline, population-wise, as a January 2012 census shows only 104,004 people as permanent residents, which is a decrease of some 50,000 people over the past 25 years.

For those of you interested in some sight-seeing, the Kintai Bridge is about 20 minutes from Iwakuni-eki (Iwakuni train station) by bus. Iwakuni Station on the Sanyo Main Train Line is about 45 minutes from Hiroshima Station.

And... the main reason I chose this photo, was because of the hanami aspect... flowering tree blossoms denoting the arrival of Spring... which is still a long way of here in Toronto, though I do see some brown grass in my backyard in spots, with the rest still covered with a remaining 2.5 centimeters of snow.

Andrew Joseph
PS: diary entry tomorrow.

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