The Kintaikyo Bridge (ÑÑ´, Kintaikyō) has been Iwakuni's most distinguished landmark and a subject of admiration for hundreds of years. The elegant, wooden bridge makes five bold arches onto massive stone pillars as it crosses over the Nishiki River.
Plans for the Kintaikyo were first drawn up when strong currents had once again destroyed a bridge crossing the Nishiki River. A more durable bridge was commissioned by Kikkawa Hiroyoshi, the third feudal lord of Iwakuni, whose statue stands at the entrance to nearby Kikko Park. After the bridge's completion in 1673, it kept standing until 1950, when Iwakuni was struck by a violent typhoon.
With the country still exhausted from the war, the maintenance of cultural properties suffered neglect. For this reason, the bridge that had stood for almost 300 years, collapsed as desperate townspeople looked on and futilely tried to divert the ferocious current. Shortly thereafter, determined residents began constructing a precise reconstruction of their cherished bridge. It was completed in 1953.
In the early 2000s, Kintaikyo underwent its first renovations since its reconstruction. The renovation works were extensive and cost over two billion yen. Rare for a pedestrian bridge, visitors must pay a fee to walk across.