There are beautiful valleys all around Japan. Here are 7 particularly gorgeous ones throughout the country. There are various ways to enjoy them as well, from taking a lovely stroll to riding a trolley nearby.
1. Oirase Gorge (Aomori)
Oirase Gorge is an approximately 14km mountain stream that runs from Lake Towada's Nenokuchi to Mt. Yake. It's designated as a national natural monument.
The scenery around this stream is lively, with the water running through the rocks surrounded by a deep forest. Along the banks are esplanades, streams of various speeds, waterfalls both big and small, steep cliffs...so many different sights to fully satisfy you with their beauty. You can enjoy it all year round, but it's especially beautiful when the verdure is fresh or during the autumn foliage season.
2. Kurobe Gorge (Toyama)
Kurobe Gorge, a deep V-shaped gorge, is a popular scenic area. The view of the cliff and overwhelming nature will make you hold your breath without realizing it. The deep, precipitous valley is a thrilling sight!
One way to enjoy the beauty of the gorge is by taking the Kurobe Gorge Trolley which weaves through the valley. The trolley travels over and through multiple bridges and tunnels, and the route is full of beautiful scenic spots! It takes about an hour and 20 minutes one-way, but you can get off and on freely at any of the stations along the way, so you can spend an entire day there. There are also spots where you can enjoy a footbath or an open-air bath.
3. Takachiho Gorge (Miyazaki)
Takachiho Gorge is a valley that created when the pyroclastic flow that erupted from Mt. Aso suddenly cooled the area. It's a region that has a beautiful, spiritual atmosphere.
The sight to see is the 7km long cliff. It has a maximum height of 100m and an average height of around 80m, and the sight is overwhelming. The Manai no Taki waterfall within the gorge has become a symbol of the region. There are boardwalks installed, but you can rent a boat (2,000 JPY for 30 minutes) to get right up close to the waterfall!
4. Kankakei (Kagawa)
This is a recommended spot on Shodo Island in the Seto Inland Sea. Almost exactly in the center of the island is Kankakei, a scenic spot that is listed as one of Japan's top three most beautiful valleys.
One of the biggest charms of the region is the gorgeous view that includes the valley, full of weirdly shaped and differently sized rocks, the ocean, and the sky. If you take the rope way that goes deep into the valley (1,350 JPY round-trip for an adult) you can see the rocks up close and enjoy a thrilling and emotional ride through the air. There's also a mountain path that takes about an hour (one way), so you can walk up and take the rope way down.
5. Ryujinkyo (Ibaraki)
The thing to check out in this area in Ibaraki is Ryujinotsuri Bridge, a bridge that stretches over a dam that stops a river. It's a pedestrian bridge, and is the longest suspension bridge on Honshu (Japan's biggest island).
You can enjoy the scenery from the bridge all year round, but the best time to go is the autumn. The colorful foliage makes the panorama of the valley an overwhelming sight. Also, every year from mid-April to mid-May, they have the Koi Nobori Matsuri (carp kite festival). During the festival, about 1,000 carp kites are flown over the dam for a majestic sight.
6. Fukuchi Gorge (Hyogo)
Fukuchi Gorge has been chosen as not just one of Kansai's top 100 scenic places, but also as one of Hyogo's top 100 scenic places.
This is a deep gorge with crags on both banks that's blessed with an abundance of water. You can enjoy the dynamic sight of clear streams surrounded by abundant flora crashing into rocks and sending up sprays of water. You can enjoy the beauty all year round, with fresh verdure in spring, cool air in the summer, autumn foliage in the fall, and snow in the winter. There are fishing centers in the area as well, so why not try fishing in the gorge?
7. Sanzunokawa Valley (Akita)
This is a V-shaped valley at the entrance of Mt. Kawarage Jigoku, one of Japan's top 3 most important sacred places.
The sight to see is the Sanzunokawa Bridge that stretches across the valley. It's at a height of about 40m, and the view down into the valley is so scary you might stop walking without realizing it! This gorge is sometimes called "the road to Hades," and you can enjoy a thrilling sight that befits the name. The best season to go is in the fall when the trees are red and yellow.
The clear river, the wild flora, the crisp air...you can refresh both body and soul surrounded by nature! Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and fully enjoy a relaxing time.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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