In all of Japan there is no lovelier bridge than the Kintai bridge across the Nishiki River in the town of Iwakuni. Just forty kilometers southwest from Hiroshima, the bridge is five meters wide and two hundred and ten meters long. Its five wooden arches seem to bound across the expanse as weightless as sashes of cloth tossed across the riverway. Kintai is well-named, for it means gold brocade sash, an ornate version of the traditional obi worn to hold a kimono in place.
Kintai-kyo bridge was originally built in 1674 by the feudal lord daimyo Kikkawa Hiroyoshi. After a number of unsuccessful efforts, the final success culminated a long and astounding feat of engineering. It is made entirely without nails using only metal straps, wires, and clamps as fasteners for the wooden beams. Samurai and other aristocracy were once were the only persons allowed to use the bridge while common folk were left to cross the river by ferry. It stood for 276 years until it was swept away by Typhoon Kezia in 1950, but was almost identically reconstructed in 1953.
Kintai-kyo is a one of the most important tourist destinations in Japan, a great spot for viewing the cherry blossoms in the spring, cormorant fishing in the summer, and changing leaves in the autumn. The Japanese Postal Ministry issued the Kintai Bridge postage stamp (Scott #366) on November 22, 1946 printed by lithography.
Image Size: 4" x 5"
Paper Size: 10" x 13"
Paper Type: Legion Mulberry
Inks Used: Water Soluble Demco Ink / Black:White 1:4
Date cut: 10-25-2001
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