Definitions

Iwakuni,_Yamaguchi

Iwakuni, Yamaguchi

is a city located in Yamaguchi, Japan.

On March 20, 2006, the old city of Iwakuni merged with the municipalities of Hongo, Kuga, Mikawa, Miwa, Nishiki, Shuto, and Yu (all from Kuga District to form the new, expanded city of Iwakuni.

As of January 1, 2008, the city has an estimated population of 146,885. The total area is 872.71 km². It is also home to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

Economy

The main industries of Iwakuni are fibers and spinning, petroleum and petrochemicals, and paper and pulp. The renkon (lotus root) is the principal agricultural product.

History

Iwakuni was formerly the castle town of the Iwakuni han and the rebuilt castle stands atop a hill as a reminder of the city's heritage. The Kikkawa clan ruled the han during the Edo period. The han was originally assessed at 30 thousand koku, and later, 60 thousand.

Before being re-founded with the same name following the mergers in 2006, the city was first founded on April 1, 1940.

Transportation

Shin-Iwakuni Station on the Sanyo Shinkansen provides access to high-speed rail transportation.

Iwakuni Station on the Sanyo Main Line is in the center of the city. Other stations on that line are Minami Iwakuni, Fuju, and Tsuzu. The JR Gantoku Line links Iwakuni Station to Tokuyama (since 2003 merged into Shunan) and points beyond, and serves Nishi Iwakuni, Kawanishi and Hashirano stations within the Iwakuni.

The Nishikigawa Railway Seiryu Line has six stations in Iwakuni, including Kawanishi Station.

The Sanyo Highway carries automobile traffic to and from Iwakuni. National highways 2, 187, 188 and 189 bring local traffic to nearby cities.

Sightseeing

Tourists from both Japan and overseas who visit Hiroshima and Miyajima often extend their travels to include Iwakuni. Kikko Park and the famous Kintai Bridge (Kintai-kyo) are the city's most popular sightseeing spots. The Kintai Bridge spans the Nishiki river and is made completely of wood, without nails. The Kintai Bridge was first constructed in 1673, but has been rebuilt after typhoon and flood damage several times over the centuries. The current bridge is a recreation of the original and was built using traditional techniques. Every fifty years this bridge is rebuilt for its safety. The latest reconstruction was completed in 2004. Its five arches are a symbol of western Honshu.

The Kintai Bridge Festival is held annually on April 29 at Kikko Park. The festival includes a parade across the bridge, featuring locals dressed in historic samurai costumes.

Kikko Park is also home to a sanctuary for white snakes. These snakes are found only in Iwakuni, and have been designated as special national treasures by the Japanese government. The white snake is a symbol of Benten, the Japanese goddess of wealth. The white snake is considered a sign of good luck in Japan.

In early spring, the sight of cherry blossoms along the Nishiki river is unforgettable. Traditional cormorant fishing can be seen on the river in the summertime. The reconstructed Iwakuni Castle, as well as the preserved temples and buildings at the foot of the hill, provide a glimpse into old Japan. Iwakuni Castle is situated at the top of a small mountain, and can be reached on foot or by cable car. The castle contains a history museum. The castle area also offers a large number of trails for hiking and exercise.

Visitors to Iwakuni may also wish to sample the town's special local version of sushi, which is made in a square mold.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni is an air station of the United States Marine Corps. The goal of MCAS Iwakuni is to create peaceful links of friendship between the visiting nation and the host country.

External links

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