Started 2014 with a bang! (literally)

On the first day of 2014, I visited the town of Iwakuni (about 45 mins by train from Hiroshima). Iwakuni’s claim to fame is the Kintai Bridge.

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I arrived to hear loud “booms” ringing through the air. On approaching the Nishiki River, I saw a row of people dressed in period armor firing antique matchlock rifles. Apparently it’s an annual new year event in Iwakuni to kick start the new year.

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After the event, everyone had a chance to take a closer look at the rifles. This man was explaining the firing mechanism of the rifle to curious observers.

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As for us shutterbugs, we continued doing what we love most – taking more photographs. This young lady was kind enough to pose for us.

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After the event, the “army” marched across the river on the Kintai Bridge. You can see Iwakuni Castle up on the hill in the background. I included it in the composition to give it a victory march sort of vibe.

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Now that there are no more distractions, I finally had the chance to take a closer look at the Kintai Bridge. Supposedly constructed entirely by wood without the use of any nails, it’s a pretty damn impressive feat of engineering.

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There’s a 300 yen fee to cross the bridge. However, if you’re not willing to pay there’s a normal bridge about 10 mins walk down the river.

Finally, here’s a shot of the bridge at sunset. I stacked a pile of rocks to use as a makeshift tripod to get this shot.

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And this concludes my week long adventure in Hiroshima during the 2013 year end holidays. Now to get started on my 2014 backlog of photos to edit…

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7 thoughts on “Started 2014 with a bang! (literally)

    • Thank you for your comment Eden. That last one is my personal favorite too. I’m a sucker for shots taken at dusk πŸ™‚

      Looking forward to seeing more of your images on your blog.

  1. Wow! That’s soooo cool!

    Matchlock rifles are a huge collectible item, and Japanese ones even more so! There’s not a lot of them left in the world – flintlock rifles (the next generation to the fire-lit matchlock) and muskets already commands a good price, this vintage matchlock would be worth a fortune to antique firearms collectors.

    I wonder if they’re the real thing or replicas? Do they have a chrysanthemum logo symbolizing the Japanese Royal Family on them?

    I heard all rifles are supposed to have it, and during WWII, Japanese soldiers would destroy their weapons or scratch off the chrysanthemum mark for cultural reasons before it falls into enemy hands.

    Lovely photos as always Vincent! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you HB! πŸ™‚

      I looked through most of my other photos and did not see the chrysanthemum logo. I’m guessing these are replicas. Would be a real waste to continue using an actual antique rifle and subjecting it to continuous wear and tear.

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