Take an extraordinary journey through Chugoku area, where includes Hiroshima, the city of full of history. Stone gardens, hideaway hotels, and garden lodges await, with a chance to see Miyajima of the Nihon Sankei (three best views of Japan) and Kintai Bridge, one of Japan’s most celebrated bridges.
The travel itinerary I’ll be introducing today is mostly for adult travelers looking to have a relaxing holiday. It’s perfect for a wedding anniversary or birthday celebration, so be sure to bring along someone special.
Fun to Look At, Difficult to Traverse! The Most Famous Wooden Bridge in Japan
The Kintai Bridge is located in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Its characteristic five-arched figure spans across the Nishikikawa River, with sakura on display in spring, clear water flowing in summer, gorgeous leaves in the fall, and snowy scenery in the winter.
The bridge has a long history, beginning with the construction of Iwakuni Castle by the first daimyo (feudal lord), where many samurai warriors lived. A bridge was needed to connect the castle to the town on the bank across the river. But not just any bridge would do – Nishikikawa River floods regularly, and a normal style bridge would easily be washed away.
A great amount of time was invested in planning and building a bridge that could withstand such a disaster, and the bridge was not completed until the third daimyo took power.
The bridge is 210 meters long measured along its arched top, and 193.3 meters if measured in a straight line. It reaches up to 6.64 meters in height.
It’s quite a sight to see, but walking up and down the curves of the bridge is a real workout. The flood-proof design is totally necessary, but it takes a long time to walk across.
Next Stop: Itsukushima Shrine, the Famous Red Shinto Shrine that "Floats in the Sea"
Itsukushima Shrine’s nearby location in Hiroshima Prefecture makes it easy to see both the bridge and shrine in the same trip.
Both are great places to visit for anyone interested in Japanese history.
Registered as a World Heritage Site, the red torii (shrine gate) of Itsukushima Shrine, which appears to float out of the sea, is one of the most recognizable scenes of Hiroshima.
The temple was built in the 12th century by Japanese shogun (samurai warrior-lord) Kiyomori and fascinates visitors.
After you’ve enjoyed the history and beauty of the first two stops on our tour, it’s time to head for the main event!
Gaze at A Beautiful Japanese Tei-en Landscape Garden from any Room in this Hotel
Often referred to as the Tei-en Lodge by Japanese, each room at this hotel offers guests a window view of its 1,500 square meter garden.
Guests can also view the inlets of Miyajima and step directly out from their rooms into the garden.
Forget life’s troubles as you watch the red sun set over the inlets.
Take Time to Slow Down and Relax
Rock gardens aside, the lodge and grounds are replete with plenty of spots for guests to kick their feet up.
There’s a tea house, gazebos, and gardens, and the owner of the gardens traveled the world in search of wine for the wine cellar. Soak yourself and relax in a wooden bath. There’s enough luxury built into this place to make you feel like a millionaire.
I highly recommend visiting the basement parlor area. Called the Library Terrace, this parlor was built to give visitors a view of the pond outside. It’s furnished with a variety of different chairs.
Spend just ten seconds in one and you’ll get completely sucked in.
Read a book or just gaze out over the pond. Spend your time here in whatever way suits you best.
Something for Each Season
The most exciting part about staying at the lodge is of course the dinner.
It looks like a typical meal that would come out at a Japanese style inn, brought out one at a time, but the timing of the course more closely resembles a French meal, with hors d'oeuvres arriving first.
Pleasing to both the eyes and mouth, the two hour course leaves little to be desired. It’s best to start by taking a thorough look over the menu to get an idea of what ingredients are being used. Guests should take their time with this course.
I hope my introduction of these places piqued your interest. Treat your family to these places, off the beaten path, next time you visit Japan.
Sekitei Hotel Address: 3-5-27 Miyahamaonsen, Hatsukaichi 739-0454, Hiroshima Prefecture TEL: 0829-55-0601 Capacity: 12 Rooms