Minggu, 19 September 2010

岩国 (Iwakuni)

It's nearly a month since my last post. Last month was one hell-hectic month, so here I am, having my holiday now. And as u know, holiday often makes us lazy. Haha..
I finished my internship presentation at company X on September 10, so before having lots of things to do in the coming semester, I decided to go for a trip! YEAH! Because I had low budget, so I decided not to go to a place too far, so I decided to go tooo: IWAKUNI!!

Iwakuni is located in Yamaguchi Prefecture. As u can see in the map above, my current place, Saijo is marked with yellow circle, Hiroshima is marked with blue circle, and Iwakuni is marked with red circle. I went there on September 17, and it took 1,5 hour (and 1280 Yen) to go there from Saijo by local train.
When you search "Iwakuni" in the internet, you will find the famous Kintaikyo Bridge. So, after reached Iwakuni station, I checked the bus schedule from station to the bridge at the bus stop next to the station.Because I still got time until the next bus, so I decided to go sightseeing around the station.

Wall of Iwakuni post office

A rare western-style building in Japan in my opinion

Actually, before heading to Kintaikyo, I wanted to have my lunch in a restaurant recommended by Wikitravel. Too bad it was closed. So I decided to have lunch in some restaurant near the bridge.
And, the bus came. It was a special bus for carrying the tourists who want to go to Kintaikyo bridge. The body of the bus is made from wood, and also the interior. You can see the pic of interior of that bus below. Sorry I didnt take the pic of the bus from outside thou.

The interior of the bus that took me to Kintaikyo bridge.

Okaaaayy!! Then, here we are!! The great Kintaikyo Bridge!!! Here are some pics that I took:

food stalls on the riverbank, beside the bridge

Kintaikyo bridge

The river is very clear!!! WOW!

The great blue sky above the bridge

Nisshiki River

After crossing the bridge, there is a park named Kikko Park just 100 metres ahead, so I went there. The park was, as expected, so so. Hehe..
Here are some pics of the park:

Talking about Iwakuni, we have to include ICE CREAM!!! Yea, I scream for the ice creaaaamm!! Iwakuni is well known for its 100 flavors of Ice cream. There are many shops of ice cream in the area of Kintaikyo Bridge and Kikko Park. Here's the pic of one shop:

I know that its not up to a hundred, but still there are lots lots of flavors, no?

I really wanted to buy the ice cream, but since I had not had my lunch, I decided to have lunch first, then have the ice cream. So I went to a restaurant that is located just on the 2nd floor in the same building as the ice cream shop.

Tadaaaa... I was surprised because apparently, Iwakuni has its own kind of sushi. I dont know the name, thou. So I ordered a set that contains sushi, soup, tea, and pickles (it was 780 Yen if I'm not mistaken). Here's the picture of my my lunch:

The sushi was okay, but the soup was reeeaaaalllyy delicious!! It contains somekind of mushroom and is very different compared to misoshiru.
After finishing my lunch, then I went downstairs to buy the ice cream!

I asked the shop clerk for her recommendation, and she recommended me to have this yellow-color flavor (I dont know the name, but the raw material of this flavor should be from Japan/not a common flavor like orange, straberry, etc). How was it? The ice cream was reaaallyy soft, but I should have chosen "matcha" (green tea+milk) flavor. T_T
Oh, and it was 200 something Yen by the way.

Another thing that is famous in Iwakuni is this white snake. There is a museum of white snake inside complex of Kikko park. The admission fee is 100 Yen. Inside the museum, there were preserved and dried snake skins, preserved white snakes and snake's eggs, the history of white snakes in Iwakuni (why do they even explain the history for snakes?), and of course, live snakes.

Besides restaurants and white snakes museum, there is also, so typical Japan, shrine in the area of Kikko park. Here are the pics:

Yes, the water was green. Eeeeewwwww...

Besides Kintaikyo bridge and Kikko park, there is also Iwakuni castle, located on top of the mountain next to Kikko park. We can get there by cable car. Next to the cable car station in Kikko park, there is Iwakuni Museum of Art. But, because of the entrance fee was 800 Yen, I did not enter the museum, just took its picture from outside. Hehe..

Charcoal Engine Car parked outside the museum.

Then I went to cable car station and bought the round trip ticket. It was also very expensive, 800 Yen, but by buying that ticket I can enter the castle for free.
The castle was not located next to the cable car station on top of the mountain, but we need to take a walk around 10 minutes to get to the castle from the station. Here are the pics.

"Iwakuni Castle"

So, here we are!! Finally reached the castle. I was suddenly disappointed. The castle was waaaaayyy much smaller than Osaka castle. It's okay, I had to enter the castle because I had paid for the tickets anyway. Hehe.
I tell you that every castle in Japan is a museum. So is Iwakuni castle. Here are some pics of things inside the castle.

Poster of famous bridges in Japan. Of course Kintaikyo is included. ;D

Miniature of the bridge

Japanese armor


Katanas (samurai's sword)

Another picture of miniature of the bridge

Japanese traditional music instrument

View of Iwakuni city from the top of the castle. Stunning.

After that, before going home, I want to buy souvenir from Iwakuni for myself and my mom. Look what I found:

Yup, Kitkat special edition, just sold in Chugoku and Shikoku area of Japan. Of course I bought that! Haha. It's good, but I prefer the old style Kitkat chocolate. :|

After buying souvenirs (and Kitkat), then I went back home to Saijo. But, because on the way home I still have to cross Kintaikyo bridge, I took pictures again and again of this great bridge. Anyway, we have to pay 300 Yen for two times crossing the bridge.

So, these are (another) pics of Kintaikyo bridge.

So, That's all about my trip to Iwakuni.

My recommendation: Iwakuni is a good place to see, but do not stay overnight there. You'll get bored. You can go there and spend the night in Hiroshima. Its just 45 minutes by train.

Anyway, it took time for me to edit all the photos, so I can only publish this post now.

Bye, then. See you in the next post. :D :D :D