Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kintai Bridge

During our trip to Iwakuni for the girls swim meet, we also planned to go visit a few neat place near by. Our first stop was at the Kintai Bridge. The Kintai Bridge is a historic bridge in Iwakuni, that was built in 1673 and spans the Nishiki River in 5 wooden arches. It is also at the base of Mt, Yokoyama. At the top of Mt. Yokoyama sits the Iwakuni Castle. You can see it here in this picture, if you look through the bridge up at the top of the mountain.

Apparently the bridge was originally built completely out of wood, but it was destroyed several times, by floods and typhoons.  Finally they rebuilt it on these pillars and used nails to bind the wood together, instead of fitting together the pieces of wood together like puzzle pieces, as they had previously. Here are a  few other views of the bridge..

Along the side of the shore I spotted some cool little wooden boats with roofs. I wanted to photograph them, but I couldn't get a good angle. So instead I took the picture from this angle. Still pretty neat I think, but not what I was going for. They remind me of little party boats with the table in the center, but I'm not exactly sure what they are used for. 

While we strolled back towards the bridge checking out little shops, one of which was a stone doll shop. Legend tells that two young girls were sacrificed before the building of the bridge, to ask the "Gods" for ease in building it. The dolls, called Ishi ningyo, have been said to be the incarnations of the souls of the girls who died.  The "dolls" are found in the river bed and are sold as souvenirs. 
We also ran into a very sweet Japanese lady who was very interested in Elliot! She was enamored with her blue eyes and light hair. This was a quick snapshot, but it was so cute to see this woman so excited to see a little blonde American.

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