A Beautiful Drive Across Japan’s Biggest Karst Plateau That Used to be an Underwater Coral Reef?!

The Akiyoshi-dai karst plateau in Mine city is the largest of its kind in Japan. And through what once used to be a coral reef covered by the sea goes a single road.

Befitting the area, it’s called “Karst Road”. A drive along this route with its majestic views will make you doubt you’re still in Japan!

This time I drove along the road from north to south (from the upper part to the lower part, as seen on the guide map above)! Right away, as you enter the Karst Road you see Akiyoshi-dai Safari Land! After that, Taishodo Cave, a limestone cave continues along the way. So many temptations so soon… but I keep on driving.

After a while, suddenly, the Akiyoshi-dai plateau opens up before my eyes.

The winding road looks like it continues on forever within the majestic scenery. The speed limit on Karst Road is 40 km/h, which allows you to take your time, enjoy the ride, and admire the scenery. Along the way there are places to stop…

And there are also places where you could just start off on a hike…

If you’re interested in hiking through Chojaga Forest, please check this article (https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/747).

But let’s head straight to the observation deck.

I pass through the vast karst plateau and arrive at the observation deck, which offers views over the whole Akiyoshi-dai plateau! Here is the real reason for my visit to this observation deck.

Every time I visit, I have some delicious soft serve ice cream. After a long drive, the bitter sweet summer orange flavor… it just takes your fatigue away.

After passing the observation deck, you soon reach the entrance of Akiyoshido Cave, which is the end of the Karst Road! If you don’t stop anywhere, the route seems to end quickly, but there are plenty of things to see along the way.

The karst plateau shows a different face every season. I definitely recommend this course for drives that will make you want to visit time and again!


Oidemase! Come to Yamaguchi

Karst Road (Akiyoshi-dai road)
With a total length 13.1km, this sightseeing route goes through Akiyoshi-dai, the largest karst plateau in Japan, and allows visitors to enjoy unique majestic views of a former coral reef!

Location: Akiyoshidai, Shuho-cho, Mine city, Yamaguchi prefecture

http://karusuto.com/html/01-play/ (Japanese)
http://english.karusuto.com/html/tourism/ (English)

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Masafumi Fujimoto

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Masafumi Fujimoto

Masafumi Fujimoto

Masafumi Fujimoto Hi there! My name is Masafumi Fujimoto. Until the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, I was engaged in editing production at an advertising company in Tokyo. However, the earthquake was a turning point in my life and I headed home to Yamaguchi. When I arrived, I was extremely energized and motivated to help revitalize the region, but I had a hard time adjusting to the motivation level of the local people. Around that time I met an elderly lady who said: "It doesn't matter if all the people move away from the island; that's just the nature of things. Someday people will come back again." Lessening the tension I’d been feeling, those few words relieved me hugely, and I was able to finally adjust. Since then, I've been involved in writing and editing magazines, and working in advertisement production, as well as doing a little bit of farming. I also spend time walking around Setouchi searching for the many, many voices out there.


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