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Kintai-kyō is a wooden arch bridge across the Nishiki river in Iwakuni, Japan, at the foot of Mt.Yokoyama, at the top of which lies Iwakuni Castle. They are the main attractions of Kikkou Park, a popular tourist spot, especially during the cherry blossom festival in the spring. Kikkawa Hiroie was banished to Iwakuni for his support of the defeated shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, who had been installed as Oda Nobunaga's puppet ruler in 1668 when the warlord entered Kyoto immediately after Ashikaga Yoshihide's three-month reign (he died from a contagious disease without ever entering the capital). When Oda secured his own authority, he drove the new shōgunout of Kyoto in 1673. After Kikkawa completed his castle in 1608, a series of wooden bridges was built, but most of them were destroyed by floods. The third daimyo, Kikkawa Hiroyoshi, built a more permanent structure in 1673, and the wooden piers were replaced by stone ones. Though thought to be floodproof, the bridge was destroyed by a flood the next year. As a result, the stone piers were redesigned for greater strength, and a special tax was created to maintain the bridge via periodic rebuildings: the three spans in the middle were replaced every 20 years, and the two end spans every 40 years. The 5-meter-wide bridge is actually five sequential wooden arch bridges built on four stone piers, with two wooden piers at each end. Each middle span is 35.1 meters long, and each end span is 34.8 meters long. The wooden parts were carefully fit together, and the girders were clamped and bound together with metal belts; the main wooden parts were then covered copper sheets for additional durability. The shape and weight of the bridge made it extremely strong at the top, but incredibly weak from underneath, making it particularly vulnerable to floods, so the wooden pathway employs mortise and tenon joints to allow it to float on top of the frame; rising waters may lift the pathway and carry it downstream while leaving the main structure intact. It stayed in place until swept away by typhoon Kijia in 1950, at a time when it was in a weakened state because it had not been maintained during World War II, and in 1949 the American occupational force had dredged the are for gravel in order to expand its Marine runway, thus strengthening the flow of the Nishiki. In 1953, the bridge was reconstructed but with metal nails.
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