Let’s go back to our Japanese roadtrip on our way to the Oboke Gorges and Iya Valley for one day of adventure!
After leaving Awaji toward Kōchi, where we stayed 2 nights, we left Kōchi for a 1-day visit of the valley, but as I was saying beforehand, it would have been smarter to stop by the Iya valley one night before going to Kōchi (cf. map). Our organization was a bit random this time but at least you’ll be know when you’ll organise your own trip.
Trains and buses stop by this place (Oboke station) but I have to admit that the car was very convenient to optimize our day, we stopped wherever we wanted and we didn’t have to wait for the next bus/train. A true freedom in this wilder area… still with tourists though!
Actually there is quite a lot of things to see/do in this Iya valley if you like nature. As for us we couldn’t spend too long considering our short trip in Japan but I could have stayed a whole week to enjoy hiking, onsen and local food specialities…
Boat trip on the Yoshino river
The weather that day was absolutely perfect to admire the Oboke Gorges. We decided to take a boat to see the Gorges from another angle. Very pleasant this boat trip on the Yoshino river, even though a bit short.
The rafting might be more interesting and spectacular: to choose depending on the time you have and/or your will of sensation. Don’t hesitate to stop by the office of tourism in Miyoshi or to ask around what could be interesting to do: that’s the way we usually do.
We had the chance to admire the Oboke Gorges with flying Koi carps (= “Koinobori”), leftover after the 5th of May, the day celebrating kids.
The autumnal season might also be a nice timing to visit the Gorges with the red leaves sublimating the place.
The Kazurabashi bridge
This hanging bridge might be a nightmare for everyone afraid of the high but, if you can fight your fear, it worth the detour… to be crossed!
This 15m high bridge made of vine is 45m long and 2m large and it crosses the Iya river. This plant material was used to be easily destroyed in case of an enemy attack: reassuring isn’t it?… Just so you know, this bridge has been consolidated with wire cables. (Feel better?)
We went there in the middle of the afternoon: it wasn’t really the tourist season (end of May) but it might be a better idea to go there in the morning. We mostly met old Japanese people who surprised me with their motivation and courage!
I took a few shots at personal risk (or better say my phone’s risk!) to get nice memories of this bridge coming straight out from an episode of Indiana Jones… Let’s say that I was not walking in a very confident way!
Other points of interest
Here is the list of places to visit around if you have the chance to stay longer:
–Book one night (or more) in a hotel with onsen and a view overlooking the valley (Nanoyado Iya onsen, Kenmi Onsen, Sunriver Oboke…).
-Hike to the top of Mont Tsuruji.
-Visit the traditional village of Ochiai (and even stay one night for an authentic experience).
-Take a tour on the “Oku-Iya” monorail located in Sugeoi.
-Cross another bridge Oku-Iya Niju Kazurabashi if you enjoyed the first one. Possibility to cross on a wooden box/tyrolean for the adventurers.
A few yummy addresses
Here are a few addresses to discover the local food specialities (I only quickly tried the first one (=they were about to close but accepted to serve us as last customers!)… but the other addresses seem to have some potential too!).
Tarai udon Nimiya (たらいうどん 新見屋) (100-1 Kanbata, Miyagawauchi, Donari-cho, Awa city) : Udon to dip in a sauce with a nce river view
Tarai udon with a view
Iya soba Momijitei 祖谷そばもみじ亭 (1468-1 Yamashirocho Nishiu, Miyoshi) : soba noodles made with buckwheat in a traditional 200 years old house.
Obokeyo Mannaka (1520 Yamashirocho Nishiu, Miyoshi) : try a menu dedicated to the legendary monsters of the region: the “yokai” made of ramen, soba, ice…
I hope you liked this stop in the valley of Iya: as always it’s a pleasure for me to share this trip with you. I have this feeling to be back there, which is very pleasant! Next time we will continue and go back to the civilization in the city of Kōchi! See you soon! (English translation by Quiterie)