Goukei, a place where strangely shaped rocks and cliffs backdrop a clear stream…
Located in central Okayama prefecture, the valley has been designated as one of Japan’s places of scenic beauty.
The base point for walks in the valley, this is the rest area near the valley entrance. It has restrooms and a gazebo.
*There’s also a parking area next to it, but as there is only space for a couple of vehicles and as the road is narrow, we recommend using the wider parking area located on the south side, especially on weekends and national holidays when the area is likely to be particularly crowded.
From the rest area there are numerous paths that lead down to the stream.
The current in the area is calm, and you can enjoy some refreshing forest-bathing while listening to the cozy murmuring of the stream.
The fresh green leaves of a Japanese maple tree hang down close to the surface of the river.
As well as being a popular summer resort area that offers refreshing walks by the riverside, Gokei is also well known for its beautiful autumn foliage.
I let my inner child out and climb onto the large rock standing in the river!
The air is delicious, and you can get the fullest out of walking by the mountain stream!
Another one of Gokei’s charms is its precipitous cliffs and groups of strangely shaped rocks standing on both sides of the river.
Try walking for a while along the road from the resting area mentioned a moment ago!
Looking up at the cliffs, you see strangely shaped, mysterious rocks starting with the highest peak, Tenchuzan (330m above sea level) to Kenhou and Unteihou among others that point up at the sky.
If you take a good look, you’ll see that an observation deck has been set up on the hillside!
Seen from the top of these steep cliffs, the view down the valley must be a wonderful sight, too!
(Currently, as there is a risk of falling rocks, climbing the mountain is unfortunately prohibited.)
This is nearby Mikaeri Bridge. If you take a look back from here, you can see a strangely shaped boulder with a hole on it!
It is said that Gokei was created in ancient times as the river rapids eroded the granite plateau. With a total length of about 600m along the clear stream, this course is an easy walk.
Built during late Edo period, a temple called Goukei-ji is situated at the valley entrance. At one time, access ways were built with chains and ladders up to one area of Tenchuzan, the highest peak, which was used for practicing Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism).
Currently, the area is known as a place where you can enjoy forest-bathing in the summer and colorful autumn foliage in the fall.
How about a walk in a beautiful valley while listening to the sounds of a softly murmuring stream?
Location: 2761 Makidani, Soja city, Okayama prefecture
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
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Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
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