Iwakuni Castle (岩国城, Iwakunijō) was built in 1608, at the beginning of the Edo Period. The site of the castle was chosen for its natural defensive advantages on top of Mount Shiroyama and half surrounded by a natural moat, the Nishiki River. The castle keep is four stories high, and looks out onto the city 200 meters below.
Probably a source of considerable frustration for those who built it, the original castle lasted only slightly longer than the time it took to construct it. Being built over the course of five years, the castle was torn down by decree of the shogun a mere seven years after its completion.
The present reconstruction dates from 1962, and has already outlasted the original castle by a considerable factor. It is a ferro-concrete construction and inside displays samurai swords, armor and other items related to the castle's history. There are also displays on Kintaikyo Bridge and other famous bridges across Japan.
A ropeway provides access to Iwakuni Castle. The ropeway's lower station can be reached in a five minute walk from the Kintaikyo Bridge, while the castle is another five minute walk from the ropeway's upper station.
Buses travel from both Iwakuni Station and Shin-Iwakuni Station to Kintaikyo bus stop. The trip takes 20 minutes and costs 300 yen from Iwakuni Station (buses every 5-15 minutes), or 15 minutes and 350 yen from Shin-Iwakuni Station (1-2 buses per hour).
January 14 to February 10, 2020 and July 1 to 15, 2020
560 yen (ropeway round trip)
970 yen (castle, ropeway and Kintaikyo Bridge)