Top choice in Western Honshū

Iwakuni's chief claim to fame is this graceful bridge, built in 1673 during the rule of feudal lord Kikkawa Hiroyoshi. It has been restored several times since then, but its high arches remain an impressive sight over the wide river, with Iwakuni-jō atop the green hills behind.

In the feudal era, only members of the ruling class were allowed to use the bridge, which linked the samurai quarters on the west bank of Nishiki-gawa with the rest of the town. Today, anyone can cross over for a small fee.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Western Honshū attractions

1. Honke Matsugane


Both a tourist information office and a cultural experience, inside a traditional Japanese house dating from 1850 near the bridge entrance. The elegant…

2. Kikkō-kōen

0.17 MILES

What remains of the old samurai quarter in Iwakuni now forms pleasant Kikkō-kōen, accessed via Kintai-kyō bridge. Within the park are old residences, a…

3. Mekata Family Residence

0.28 MILES

Located in Kikkō-kōen is this former home of a middle-ranking samurai family from the mid-Edo period. You cannot enter the buildings, but you can walk…

4. White Snake Viewing Facility

0.29 MILES

Reptile enthusiasts, or those with kids in tow, might want to pop into this small viewing facility, where several of the bizarre albino snakes unique to…

5. Iwakuni-jō

0.59 MILES

The original Iwakuni-jō was built by Hiroie, the first of the Kikkawa lords, between 1603 and 1608. Just seven years later, the Tokugawa shogunate passed…

6. Daishō-in

11.73 MILES

Just south of town at the foot of Misen, Daishō-in is a worthwhile stopping point on the way up or down the mountain. This Shingon temple is crowded with…

7. Misen & Ropeway

11.74 MILES

Covered with primeval forest, the sacred, peaceful Misen is Miyajima's highest mountain (530m), and its ascent is the island's finest walk – especially in…

8. Tahō-tō

11.78 MILES

South of Itsukushima-jinja, stone steps (before you reach Miyajima History & Folklore Museum) lead up from the road to this picturesque pagoda. There's a…