Taking place every year on the the birthday of Showa-Emperor Hirohito, this festival has parades, processions and even a flea market. Forced to spend alternate years in the ancient capital, the Daimyo (local lords) would create grandiose displays to out-do each other, and this festival’s highlight is a reenactment of their return home across the bridge.
A stunning sight on a regular day, the Kintaikyo bridge is an impressive stage for the procession, which features local residents as well as representatives from the local US military base—all in traditional Edo-costume. As they make their way across the bridge, another team of locals in samurai-armour demonstrate a small battle with guns from the times, so there’s plenty to see. There will be plenty of food stalls too, so be sure to try the local speciality of Iwakuni sushi—a pretty, square variety pressed together in a traditional box.
Find out what else makes Iwakuni special.