new to iwakuni
About Iwakuni City
Iwakuni, which translates to “rock country,” is a sprawling city that encompasses 337 square miles of beaches, small bays, countryside and clusters of small mountains. The American population, much of it living aboard the Air Station, and the 140,000+ locals, comprise Iwakuni’s unique cultural diversity. Whatever Japanese experience you are looking for, Iwakuni will show it to you.
The city belongs to Yamaguchi prefecture that makes up the Western end of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. Being stationed in Iwakuni is ideal for traveling as Kyushu and Shikoku islands are feasible day trips by car. And getting in and out of town is ultra convenient with Iwakuni Kintaikyo airport located right outside the gate! The Shinkansen bullet train stops at Shin Iwakuni Station, making travel throughout Japan a breeze.
One of Iwakuni City’s primary borders is the Seto Inland Sea. A drive or bike ride along the roads hugging the coastline make for scenic day trips. On clear days, many nearby islands are visible. Most tourists make a day trip from nearby Hiroshima or Miyajima via train to see the Kintai Bridge and Iwakuni Castle, but locals know that there is so much more to do here.
It’s true that there is a strong industrial presence within central Iwakuni comprised of paper, refined oil, and textile manufacturers. But much of the city is scenic waterfront, uncountable rivers and streams, Lotus and rice paddies and forests. There are beaches and hiking trails that are reachable by train or bus. A quick drive can transport you to another island, a bamboo forest, temples, world heritage sights or several large cities.
MCAS Iwakuni occupies a delta comprised of land that was reclaimed by a feudal lord roughly four hundred years ago. The Japanese government commissioned a base here in 1940, and it became a training and defense air station as well as housing Etajima Naval Academy. After being occupied by multiple countries, it became a US Military Base in 1952. Currently, the base population is comprised of roughly 5,500 active duty, family members and civilian employees.