Autumn

Kurakake Castle Festivalー Festival of Ancient Warriors in Yamaguchi Prefecture

Sono

Kamata

Writer

Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

 

The Kurakake Castle Festival is a traditional festival held in the historical city of Iwakuni. The main attraction of the festival is the reenactment  of the battle between two powerful “Bushos” – Japanese military commanders during the Sengoku period. The Kurakake Castle Festival is destined to give you a sense of the beauty and high intensity of Japanese culture. From this article you`ll  learn more about this unique festival and see what else you can do around Iwakuni city.


Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

History of the Festival and the City of Iwakuni

Iwakuni is a city rich in history. During the medieval period, the castle “Kurakake Castle” was built in Kuga, a town in Iwakuni, helping the area blossom as a castle town. Every year, to reenact the battle scene that took place in Kuga over 500 years ago. About 40 people dressed in medieval battle wear march through the town holding arrows and spears.

Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

How to get to Iwakuni

• From Hiroshima by train

The one way trip from Hiroshima to Shin-Iwakuni takes 15 minutes and costs 1620 yen for a non-reserved seat or around 3000 yen for a reserved seat

• By direct flight from Tokyo

A one way trip from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport takes approximately 1.5 hours and costs about 37,000 yen

• By direct overnight bus from Tokyo

A one way trip from Tokyo Station to Iwakuni Station takes approximately 11 hours and about 10,500 yen. You can make a reservations by online.

Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Information About Area

Besides the festival, there are many other various attractions in Iwakuni. Iwakuni is a small city with a population of about 150,000. It is the perfect location for travelers who want a taste of Japan’s homely and traditional atmosphere.  Kintai-kyo Bridge  Kintai-kyo Bridge also known as Japan’s most elegant wooden bridge. You can see five bold arches standing on massive stone pillars as it crosses over the Nishiki River. The bridge was built in 1673 when the third feudal lord of Iwakuni ordered a durable bridge.

Access to Kintai-kyo Bridge

Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

There are buses from both Iwakuni Station and Shin-Iwakuni Station to Kintai-kyo bus stop. The trip takes 20 minutes and costs 300 yen from Iwakuni Station (buses run every 5-15 minutes) or 15 minutes and 350 yen from Shin-Iwakuni Station (1-2 buses per hour). Hours and Fees  Kintai-kyo bridge is always open with no closing days except renovation period. Admission fee is 300 yen for a round trip over the bridge and 940 yen for a round trip including Iwakuni Castle, and ropeway ride.

 

Iwakuni Castle  Built in 1608, at the beginning of the Edo Period, Iwakuni castle serves as one of Yamaguchi prefectures’ most distinguished landmarks. The site for the castle is famous for its natural defensive advantages on the top of Mount Shiroyama and half surrounded by a natural moat – the Nishiki River. The castleis four stories high, and it looks onto the city from 200 meters.

Access to Iwakuni Castle

A ropeway provides an access to Iwakuni Castle. The ropeway’s lower station can be reached by walking 5 minutes from the Kintai-kyo Bridge, and the castle is another five minute walk from the ropeway’s upper station. Another way to access the castle is by bus. Travel from both Iwakuni Station and Shin-Iwakuni Station to Kintai-kyo bus stop.

 

The trip takes 20 minutes and costs 300 yen from Iwakuni Station (buses run every 5-15 minutes), or 15 minutes and 350 yen from Shin-Iwakuni Station (1-2 buses per hour).   Hours and Fees The castle is open from 9:00 am to 4:45 pm and last entry is at 4:30 pm. Closed on intermittent days throughout the year. Admission is 260 yen for castle only, 550 yen for a ropeway roundtrip, and 940 yen for castle, ropeway trip and Kintai-kyo bridge roundtrip.

Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Closing Remarks

The Kurakakeyamajou Festival is a great event to get a taste of traditional Japanese culture and receive unforgettable memories. Although often overlooked, Iwakuni is a city rich in history and culture with countless must-see attractions for travelers.

Sono Kamata

I was raised in both America and Japan. Currently I am living in California and hope to spread how fascinating Japanese culture is!

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