The specialty of Kintai-kyo Bridge is a "stone doll" made by insects
Although there are plenty of souvenirs nationwide, I can recommend some of them with confidence as "pretty rare items". That is called a "stone doll" which is a specialty of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi known for Kintai Bridge.
A doll made of pebbles !?
Framed Daimyo procession (small) 5,000 yen (tax included · same as below).
The doll certainly looks like a human figure in the distance. Do you know what this is?
One doll is about 15 mm in height. This looks like something glued together in a shape of a human body, actually... it is made of pebbles.
When you take a closer look at the dolls made of pebbles, they are not so realistic and some of them aren’t very much like a doll ... What on earth are these pebble masses?
Let’s zoom up, look, pebbles stick together and manage to form a human figure.
It wasn’t produced by a human
The interesting thing about the stone doll is "it is not a human" that made this doll. Who made it then? It is a larva of Ningyotobikera living in the Nishiki River where the Kintai Bridge crosses over. This was not originally a doll, but a "nest" used by larvae that collected pebbles and put them together.
This "doll" stuck to stones in the river has been enjoyed as a child's toy for a long time but it became known as a souvenir of the Kintai Bridge in the Edo period. The stone doll which can be collected from the stone wall and cobblestones of the bridge is still very popular.
Seven Lucky Gods in a case (Black Small) 3,500 yen (Please note that the price depends on whether each item has natural stones for its pedestal and so on).
Although Ningyotobikera itself is not a very rare insect and larvae don’t make stone dolls only around the Kintai Bridge, the stone doll is said to be a reincarnation of a young girl who became a pillar to protect the Kintai Bridge from a flood, and be regarded as a Buddha statue and seven lucky gods. In this way, the stone doll has been loved as a lucky mascot and serving as a specialty of the Kintai Bridge and Iwakuni.
Stone doll key ring 300 yen.
For those who think framed ones and figurines are too big, key rings are recommended. Someone who catches sight of a stone doll never fails to ask, "What is that?" It can be an unexpected killer item which brings a lively conversation here and there.