Iwakuni, Japan

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Iwakuni, Japan

Region: Yamaguchi prefecture

Geographic Coordinates: 34.166400, 132.219000
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 35.0°C (50°F to 95°F)
Climate: Iwakuni, Japan has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. The area experiences significant rainfall throughout the year, with the wettest months being June and July. Typhoons can also occur during late summer and early autumn.
Population: 128401
Language: Japanese

Iwakuni is a city located in the western part of Japan’s Honshu Island, In Yamaguchi Prefecture. The city is situated on the banks of the Nishiki River and has a population of around 130, 000 people. Iwakuni has a rich history dating back to the feudal period when it was an important castle town. Today, It is known for its stunning natural beauty, Traditional architecture and cultural attractions. One of the most famous landmarks in Iwakuni is Kintai Bridge, Which spans over the Nishiki River.

This wooden bridge was first built in 1673 and has been rebuilt several times since then due to natural disasters such as floods and typhoons. The bridge features five arches that are supported by four stone pillars each and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Another popular attraction in Iwakuni is Iwakuni Castle, Also known as Kintaikyo Castle. This historic castle was built during Japan’s feudal era by Lord Hiroie Kikkawa and served as his residence until it was destroyed during a battle in 1615.

Today, Only ruins remain but visitors can still enjoy panoramic views from its hilltop location. Iwakuni also boasts several temples and shrines that are worth visiting for their architectural beauty and historical significance. One such temple is Ruriko-ji Temple which dates back to 1442 AD and features a five-story pagoda that stands at 31 meters tall making it one of Japan’s tallest pagodas. For nature lovers, There are many parks throughout Iwakuni including Momijidani Park which offers stunning autumn foliage displays with over 20 different types of maple trees lining its paths.

Another popular spot for nature enthusiasts is Mt Shiroyama where visitors can hike up to see panoramic views from its summit or explore nearby caves like Tsuzumigataki Cave. Iwakuni is also home to the US Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni which is located just outside of the city. The base has a significant impact on the local economy and culture as many American families live in Iwakuni and there are various events and festivals that celebrate this unique cultural exchange.

foodies will enjoy Iwakuni’s local cuisine which includes dishes such as Kintai Bridge Soba, A type of soba noodle dish served with tempura shrimp, Or Kawara Soba, Another type of soba noodle dish served on a hot tile. There are also many seafood options available due to its proximity to the sea such as grilled oysters or sashimi. Overall, Iwakuni is a beautiful city that offers something for everyone from history buffs to nature lovers. Its unique blend of traditional Japanese culture and American influence makes it an interesting place to visit for those looking for an authentic Japanese experience.

Important Landmarks

  1. Kintai-kyo Bridge is a historical wooden arch bridge that spans the Nishiki River.
  2. Iwakuni Castle is a reconstructed castle that offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.
  3. White Snake Museum is a museum dedicated to the white snakes that are believed to bring good luck in Japanese folklore.
  4. Iwakuni Art Museum is a modern art museum featuring contemporary Japanese artists.
  5. Ruriko-ji Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple with beautiful gardens and architecture.
  6. Yokoyama Observatory is an observation deck located on top of Mount Yokoyama, offering breathtaking views of the city and Seto Inland Sea.
  7. Kikko Park is a large park with cherry blossom trees, playgrounds, and walking trails.
  8. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni is an American military base open to visitors for tours and events.
  9. Mekata Shrine is a Shinto shrine known for its unique torii gate made from stone slabs instead of wood or metal.
  10. Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art features both local and international art exhibitions as well as workshops for children throughout the year.

Primary Industries

  1. Aerospace and Defense – Iwakuni is home to the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, which employs thousands of people in the aerospace and defense industry.
  2. Manufacturing – The city has a strong manufacturing sector with companies producing electronics, machinery, and automotive parts.
  3. Agriculture – The surrounding area is known for its rice paddies and fruit orchards.
  4. Tourism – With its historic castle, scenic riverfront parks, and popular cherry blossom festival, tourism is an important industry in Iwakuni.
  5. Education – The city has several universities and colleges that contribute to the local economy.
  6. Retail – There are many shopping centers and department stores in Iwakuni that cater to both locals and tourists.
  7. Healthcare – There are several hospitals and medical clinics in the city that provide healthcare services to residents.

Noteable History

  1. The Kintai Bridge, an iconic wooden arch bridge, was built in 1673 and is a symbol of Iwakuni.
  2. Also known as the Kintaikyo Castle, the Iwakuni Castle was constructed by the famous samurai warrior, Kikkawa Hiroie in 1608.
  3. The Battle of Miyajima took place near Miyajima Island in 1555 between the Mori clan and Oda Nobunaga’s forces.
  4. Taira no Kiyomori was a powerful samurai leader who played a significant role in Japanese history; he was born in Iwakuni in 1118.
  5. The Yamaguchi Prefecture Museum of Art houses an impressive collection of contemporary art from Japan and around the world.
  6. Shoko Kanazawa is a famous singer-songwriter from Iwakuni known for her soulful jazz-inspired music.
  7. Tsutomu Yamaguchi lived much of his life in Iwakuni and is recognized by the Japanese government as being the only person to have survived both atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
  8. MCAS Iwakuni is one of America’s largest military bases outside its borders; it has been an important strategic location since World War II.
  9. In 1960, heavy rainfall caused a dam to collapse near Tokuyama City resulting in widespread flooding that killed over 100 people and destroyed many homes – this event became known as Tokuyama Dam Disaster.
  10. Takashi Shimura was born on March 12th,1905 near Iwakuni city limits; he is renowned for his roles in Akira Kurosawa’s films such as Seven Samurai (1954).

Museums and Things To See

  1. Kintai-kyo Bridge is a historic wooden bridge and one of the most iconic landmarks in Iwakuni. It’s a must-visit for anyone visiting the city.
  2. Iwakuni Castle offers stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside, along with exhibits on local history and culture.
  3. The Iwakuni Art Museum showcases contemporary Japanese art, with a focus on works by artists from the Yamaguchi prefecture.
  4. Kikko Park is a beautiful park that features gardens, ponds, walking trails, as well as historical sites such as a samurai residence and traditional tea house.
  5. The Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Aviation Museum is located on the US military base in Iwakuni and features exhibits on aviation history and technology.
  6. Ruriko-ji Temple is one of Japan’s national treasures featuring a five-story pagoda dating back to 1442.
  7. Miyajima Island lies just a short ferry ride from Iwakuni hosting Itsukushima Shrine (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) along with numerous other temples and shrines.
  8. Although not technically located in Iwakuni itself (it’s about an hour away by train), Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum serves as a powerful memorial to the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima making it definitely worth visiting if you have time during your trip to Japan.

Sports Teams

  1. Iwakuni Jets – a semi-professional basketball team that competes in the Japanese Basketball League (JBL) Division 2.
  2. Iwakuni Phoenix – a football (soccer) club that plays in the Yamaguchi Prefecture League.
  3. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni Warriors – a U.S. military base team that participates in various local and regional sports events such as softball, basketball, soccer, volleyball and rugby.
  4. Kintai Judo Club – a judo club founded in 1950 with over 300 members of all ages and levels.
  5. Iwakuni Baseball Club – established in 1927 as one of the oldest baseball teams in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
  6. Kuga Golf Club – an 18-hole golf course located near MCAS Iwakuni that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and sea.
  7. Otake Futsal Club – a futsal (indoor soccer) team based in Otake City near Iwakuni known for its aggressive play style and strong defense tactics.

These are just some examples of sports teams with varying histories based on their establishment dates or notable achievements throughout their existence.

Cultural Events

  1. Iwakuni Kintaikyo Festival is a traditional festival held in April, which features a parade, taiko drumming, and performances.
  2. Iwakuni Castle Cherry Blossom Festival is held in early April when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. This festival features food stalls and live entertainment.
  3. Summer Festa is a summer festival held in August with fireworks, food stalls, and carnival games.
  4. Autumn Festival is held in October with a parade of floats decorated with colorful lanterns.
  5. Christmas Illumination takes place from late November to early January when the Kintaikyo Bridge is illuminated at night with festive lights for the holiday season.
  6. Iwakuni Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Festival) takes place on the first Saturday of August every year at Kintai Bridge Park where thousands gather to watch fireworks display over Nishiki River.
  7. Sake Matsuri (Sake Festival) takes place annually on the third Saturday of October where visitors can sample different kinds of sake from local breweries accompanied by traditional Japanese music performances and dance shows.
  8. Yamaguchi Prefecture Food Fair is hosted annually during Golden Week (late April-early May) showcasing local cuisine from Yamaguchi Prefecture including fresh seafood like oysters and sushi rolls along with other regional dishes like soba noodles or okonomiyaki pancakes among others.

Note: Due to COVID-19 pandemic some events may have been cancelled or postponed so it’s always best to check ahead before planning any visit or attending any event/festival mentioned above.


  • Kaki no Kakiage: A deep-fried dish made with fresh oysters that is a specialty of Iwakuni. It can be found at many local restaurants.
  • Sushi: Iwakuni is known for its fresh seafood, so sushi is a must-try dish. Some popular sushi restaurants include Sushidokoro Hachibei and Sushiya.
  • Okonomiyaki: A savory pancake made with vegetables, meat, and seafood that is a popular street food in Japan. One of the best places to try it in Iwakuni is at Okonomiyaki Hiroshima-ya.
  • Yakitori: Grilled chicken skewers that are a staple of Japanese cuisine. There are many yakitori restaurants in Iwakuni, but one of the most famous is Torikawa Shoten.
  • Ramen: Noodles served in a flavorful broth with various toppings such as pork or egg are very popular among locals and tourists alike. Some recommended ramen shops include Menya Yorozu and Ramen Ichiban.
  • Izakaya: These traditional Japanese pubs offer small plates of food to accompany drinks like sake or beer. Some great izakayas to check out in Iwakuni include Oshoan and Uotami.
  • Tako-yaki: A ball-shaped snack made from batter filled with diced octopus (tako), tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion which can be found at street vendors or specialty stores like Takoyaki Yamachan.

  • Parks and Recreation

    1. Kintaikyo Bridge is a historic bridge that spans the Nishiki River and is a popular spot for scenic walks.
    2. Iwakuni Castle is a reconstructed castle with a museum and observation deck that offers panoramic views of the city.
    3. Iwakuni City Zoo is a small zoo with animals such as lions, tigers, bears, and monkeys.
    4. Kikko Park is a large park with a pond, playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails.
    5. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Beach is a beach located on the military base that is open to the public on weekends during the summer months.
    6. The Kintai Arts Museum is an art museum featuring works by local artists as well as international pieces.
    7. Iwakuni Art Museum is an art museum showcasing contemporary Japanese art and ceramics from around Japan.
    8. Yamaguchi Fruit Land is an orchard where visitors can pick their own fruit such as strawberries, peaches, grapes etc..
    9. Miyajima Island (nearby) – one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations known for its famous Itsukushima Shrine which appears to float on water during high tide.


    Dream, Travel, Repeat.

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