Iya in Tokushima prefecture is one of Japan's 3 most secluded areas. Though the natural environment remains untouched, it offers a variety of activities and rural gourmet! In addition, there are plenty of spots labeled "government designated important cultural property" or "Japan's most OO "!
Swinging and swaying… those of you looking for the suspension bridge ‘affect’, next summer, the place to go is the almost too wild Iya!
1. The secret of suspension bridge “Iya”
As well as being one of the main hot spring areas in Japan, here you can also find a famous suspension bridge. Designated a ‘Nationally Important Tangible Folk Cultural Property’, the famous “Kazurabashi” suspension bridge is 45m long, 2m wide, and 14m above the surface of Iyagawa river.
This suspension bridge is made from a plant called Hardy Kiwi. It can actually be crossed in the daytime, but please be careful, it swings quite wildly!
As the space between each bridge plate under your feet is wide, every time you take a step it rocks – it’s full of thrills!
At the food stands, you can eat grilled freshwater fish, Iya noodles, and “Deko mawashi”, a local delicacy (grilled tofu and yam cake with Miso paste on a stick).
Though you would expect Hardy Kiwi to be really durable, apparently that might not be the case… (!!!!)
There’s a bit of long story as to why the bridge was built. If you’re interested, click the link below:
Dedicated article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/343/
2. Okuiya Niju Kazura Bridge (Double Vine Bridge) & Yaen, a Human-Powered Ropeway!
Though only 3 remain, there were once 13 suspension bridges in Iya. One of them was introduced above, and the other two are located further back in the nether regions, in an area called Okuiya.
They are the Okuiya Niju Kazura Bridges (Double Vine Bridges).
"Yaen", probably the main attraction for visitors, is located next to Mebashi Bridge. "Yaen" is a human-powered ropeway that propels you over a beautiful river, but you have to pull the rope yourself. Though it’s great fun for adults and children alike, it’s quite tiring!
If you're not too sure about your stamina, be careful not to over-exert yourself.
Here’s another thrill… How about seeing how well you work together for the first time?
The nearby camping area offers many opportunities to show how manly and reliable you are! You just have to invite that certain someone!
Dedicated article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/663
3. Get on the Cable ‘Hut’ & Head for the Open Bath in the Sky!
Kazurabashi Hotel (an onsen hot spring hotel) has a "Ghibli” air to it somehow. While the hotel itself is already in the middle of the mountains, the open-air ‘bath in the sky’ is even further up a mountain.
Though there is a cable car that connects the hotel and the bath, if you want, you can reach it on foot!
It's so wonderfully rural!
You can enjoy local cuisine in rooms with sunken fireplaces… Try "dekomawashi" (river fish and dengaku).
While hot springs are made for traveling to, just another trip to just another hot spring may not sound so interesting.
This hot spring has an open air bath in the sky, the "Ghibli element" that ladies just love!
I can't think of any reason not to go!
Dedicated article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/387
4. Secluded Clifftop Hotel & Cable Car to the Secret Bath at the Bottom of the Valley!!
The best feature of the hotel is its open-air bath whose waters flow freely from the source. It's not just any open-air bath… This secret hot spring is located 170 meters below the hotel, far down at the bottom of the valley.
Rather than trying to describe the descent to the bottom of the valley, it's easier to show you a photograph:
That's right. To go down the cliff with a 42-degree decline, you ride a cable car for around 5-minutes. Seeing the view from the cable car is a part of the fun. When you reach the bottom of the valley, after a few steps you’ll see the open-air bath with an amazing view of the magnificent valley right in front of your eyes.
With their champagne-like bubbles, the waters of these ‘baths for beauties’, will even meet with the approval of those particular about water quality.
The hotel can also offer an added taste of luxury; rooms that have their own private baths.
Dedicated article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/381
5. The World's Best Forest-Bathing Via the World's No.1 Sightseeing Monorail
It's… It's so cute!!!
This is actually the sightseeing monorail that runs around Okuiya's natural landscape. Of particular note is its length, it's an astounding 4,600 meters long!!
With a high point of 1,380 meters above sea level, a height variation of 590 meters, and a maximum slope angle of 40 degrees, it is the world’s No.1 sightseeing monorail.
The starting point is 790 meters above sea level.
Getting on the rhinoceros beetle style monorail car for two, you depart on a 65-minute journey.
The first half is spent climbing steadily along the slanted mountain surface, heading towards the mountaintop.
You take a refreshing forest-bath while gazing at the great variety of trees and shrubs.
If you're lucky, you may even see wild deer! Their heart-shaped bottoms are very cute!
These cute rides will bring a smile to any girl's face! Even those with weak legs can fully enjoy the experience.
Dedicated article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/371
6. Café Kimura at a 300+ Year-old Traditional Japanese House – An Important Cultural Property!
Nestled away in one Japan's 3 most ‘hidden’ areas, there is a traditional Japanese-style house in Iya, Miyoshi city that has been designated as an important Japanese cultural property.
Built in 1699, Kimura-ke jyutaku ('Kimura family residence') is the oldest among the Japanese-style houses that still stand in Iya.
As it’s terribly rare for a house built over 300 years ago to still exist, in recent years it attracts many tourists. This is also the reason why a café has been opened on the premises.
The menu is simple:
A set including a homemade sweet dumpling and a drink costs JPY700. You can choose coffee, matcha (green tea) or wild herb tea.
Like many countryside shops, opening hours are "from morning until evening"! It's better to call before you visit, just to make sure. As it is also possible to stay overnight at the house, if you would like to experience country life, this is the ideal place for it.
You can enjoy delicacies such as suiton (flour dumplings) hot pot, and fried fish, among others, prepared in the sunken fireplace.
Dedicated article: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/446
To think that you can stay overnight at such a place! Lifetime memories are surely made here! And if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a fairy-tale-like sea of clouds.
How did you like our selection? As many of you may have already visited Okinawa or Kyoto,
a trip to such a secluded area might seem like a fun, refreshing idea!
Why not come for a visit before everyone else??
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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