Located in Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku, Iya is one of Japan’s three top out-of-the-way places.
Surrounded by the second tallest mountain range in Western Japan, the whole area boasts beautiful and fantastic views.
Iya is full of spots that provide unique experiences, including kazura-bashi (suspension bridge made from vines), hot springs on the canyon floor, boat rides down the river, and a yokai-yashiki (monster-infested house). This time, our two top Heisei Car Rentals poster girls report on their travels around Iya. They start their two-day, one-night trip from Heisei Car Rentals Takamatsu Airport Location.
The information on this website is as of when it was last edited, December 2017.
There may be changes to various items including when facilities are open and fees. Check the latest information from any of various sources such as the facilities’ website before visiting the facility. All prices include tax.
Oku-Iya Niju-Kazura-Bashi(Double Vine Bridges) 奥祖谷二重かずら橋
- MAPCODE 497-365-080*67
- 620 Sugeoi, Higashi-iya, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
- tel 0120-404-344 (Miyoshi-shi Tourism Center)
- Open: Sunrise–sunset
Fee: Adult, ¥550; Child, ¥350
This is a suspension bridge made from vines. It is said to have been made by the Taira clan about 800 years ago. As the name implies, the bridge actually consists of two bridges next to each other that hang across the Iya River.
The bridges can be reached by traveling along narrow, winding roads deep into the mountains, about 1 hour by car from the well-known Iya-no-kazura-bashi (Iya vine bridge) discussed below. Next to the bridge is a box-shaped ropeway for pulling oneself across the canyon, providing a thrilling, beautiful view.
It takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to drive there from the Heisei Car Rentals Takamatsu Airport Location. The bridge consists of two bridges—O-bashi and Me-bashi. Let’s cross O-bashi first.
The surface of the bridge is made from wood planks roughly connected by vines. There are wide gaps between the planks, and the bridge may be a bit difficult for people who are not good with heights.
One looks a bit a worried while the other looks happy. The 2 meters wide O-bashi stretches 42 meters long and hangs 12 meters above the water.
Next, we cross Me-bashi. Crossing Me-bashi is easier than O-bashi as it is 1.2 meters wide, 22 meters long, and only 4 meters above the water.
This is the ropeway Yaen (wild monkey), which makes it possible to pull oneself across the canyon.
You move yourself forward by reeling the rope in. It requires quite a lot of arm strength.
Oku-iya Kanko-shuyu Monorail奥祖谷観光周遊モノレール
- MAPCODE 357-117-803*67
- 28 Sugeoi, Higashi-iya, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
- tel 090-7781-5828 (Monorail Station Building) *Reservations not accepted.
- Apr.–Sept. 8:30–16:00
Closed: Wednesdays, winter (Dec.–Mar.)
Fee: Junior high school students and older, ¥2,000; elementary school students, ¥1,000
Enjoy the forest canyon of Oku-iya from this sightseeing monorail, the world’s long such monorail, which takes 65 minutes to complete a loop.
Among sightseeing monorails, this one holds the world record with regard to various aspects, including total length (4,600 meters), change in elevation (590 meters), maximum incline (40°,) and maximum elevation (1,380 meters).
It takes about 20 minutes to drive from the Oku-Iya Niju-Kazura-Bashi to the monorail. Between the two is Kakashi-no-sato (scarecrow village), which boasts numerous life-size scarecrows. It is said that this started with a local resident making them to keep wild animals away.
191 Sugeoi Higashi-iya, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
We arrived. The station building is located on the grounds of the hot-spring hotel Iyashi No Onsenkyo. It may be nice to first grab some lunch in the restaurant located on the grounds.
Iyashi No Onsenkyo
The rhinoceros beetle-shaped monorail cars seat two. Do not forget to bring something warm depending on the season since the monorail travels to high elevations.
Next, we will visit the Higashi-iya Museum of Local History and Folklore, which is located about 30 minutes away by car.
Higashi-iya Museum of Local History and Folklore
14-3 Kyojo, Higashi-iya, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
Closed: Weekends and holidays (Dec.–Feb.), year-end (Dec. 28–Jan. 3)
Entrance fee: Adults, ¥410; Junior high school students, ¥210; elementary school students, ¥100
The museum displays various items that make it possible to envision how villagers and Taira clan warriors defeated in their battle for domination against the Minamoto clan lived in ancient times.
About 7 minutes by car from the museum is Ryugugake Park. The 70 meters high suspension bridge is worth seeing. Unlike Kazura-bashi, this bridge has metal plates for the bridge deck.
96 Tsurui, Higashi-iya, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
Hotel Obokekyo Mannakaホテル 大歩危峡まんなか
- MAPCODE 357-151-613*65
- 1644-1 Nishiu, Yamashiro-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
- tel 0883-84-1216
The hotel is located in the center of Shikoku.
You can enjoy a soak in the hot spring while viewing the beautiful canyon of Oboke. The sightseeing river boat dock is only a 3-minute walk away. If you stay at the hotel, you can leisurely enjoy boat rides down the river, the hot springs, and delicious food.
- Special benefit
- You can receive a 10% discount on sightseeing river boat rides if when checking in you tell the hotel staff that you learned about the hotel from the Heisei Car Rentals website.
Located about 40 minutes by car from Ryugugake Park, the hotel is surrounded by nature.
Several Taiwanese college students worked at the hotel as interns. I am from Taiwan and was presented with a Taiwanese flag during the meal.
After a delicious dinner tonight, we will enjoy the outdoor bath.
Oboke Yuransen(Oboke sightseeing river boat) 大歩危遊覧船
- MAPCODE 357-151-826*14
- 1520 Nishiu, Yamashiro-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
- tel 0883-84-1211
- 9:00–17:00 operates all year long
Tickets: Junior high school students and older, ¥1,080; 3-year old–elementary school students, ¥540
Oboke-hoboke is a canyon that was formed by the strong currents of the Yoshino River over 200 million years.
It looks as if both sides of the river are lined with marble sculptures, providing a beautiful view. You should be sure to do some sightseeing here from the river boat.
The dock is right in front of the Hotel Mannaka.
With fast currents, the river is famous for rafting and kayaking.
The tour lasts 30-minutes, and the boat travels about 4 km down the river.
Iya-no-kazura-bashi(vine suspension bridge) 祖谷のかずら橋
- MAPCODE 357-130-581*20
- 162-2 Zentoku, Nishi-Iyayama-mura, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
- tel 0120-404-344 (Miyoshi-shi Tourism Center)
- Sunrise to sunset, open every day
Fee: Junior high school students and older, ¥550; elementary school students, ¥350
This is the famous Iya-no-kazura-bashi.
Oku-iya Niju-kazura-bashi was discussed at the beginning of this article. The well-known bridge, however, is this bridge in Nishi-iya. It is about a 20-minute drive from the Oboke sightseeing river boat. Iya-no-kazura-bashi, one of the three strangest bridges in Japan, has been designated an important tangible folk-culture asset. It is said to have been made from hardy kiwi vines that weigh about 5 tons.
42 meters long, 2 meters wide, and 14 meters above the water, it is about the same as O-bashi of Oku-iya Niju-kazura-bashi.
One needs to be careful since there are many gaps in the bridge deck.
The waterfall Biwa-no-taki is about a 2-minute walk from Kazura-bashi. Surrounded by greenery, the waterfall is 50 m tall.
Biwa-no-taki (Biwa Waterfall)
Hotel Iya Onsen和の宿 祖谷温泉
- MAPCODE 357-308-162*60
- 367-28 Matsumoto, Matsuo, Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
- tel 0883-75-2311
- Bathing only: 7:30–18:00
Fee: adult ¥1,700, child ¥900 (includes cable car fee. Free for hotel guests)
At this traditional Japanese lodging you can enjoy a hot spring at the bottom of the canyon. Even if you are not staying at the hotel, you can use the baths.
There is an outdoor hot spring accessible by cable car, which travels 170 meters down a 42° slope. Soaking in a hot spring while viewing the beautiful Iya canyon is an experience that you will not forget.
We arrived at Iya Onsen, which lies about 20 minutes by car from Kazura-bashi. We can have a meal at the restaurant.
The cable car ride is about 5 minutes long and descends a steep incline.
You can spend a luxurious time viewing the river flow.
There is a statue of a peeing boy on top of a cliff about 7 minutes away on foot.
Peeing Boy statue of Iya Canyon
It stands about 200 meters above the canyon floor. We hear that the idea behind the statue is a story about a local boy who tested his bravery by doing just that.
If you have the time, you should visit the Heike Clan Traditional House, which is about 20 minutes away by car. The museum displays various materials and artifacts from the Taira clan.
Heike Clan Traditional House
46 Nishioka, Nishi-iyayama-mura, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
9:00–17:00, open everyday
Adult, ¥500; children, ¥300
Roadside Station Oboke (Yokai-yashiki)道の駅 大歩危（妖怪屋敷）
- MAPCODE 357-151-346*88
- 1553-1 Kamimyo, Yamashiro-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
- tel 0883-84-1489
Open every day Mar.–Nov., but closed on Tuesdays Dec.–Feb.
Entrance fee: Adults, ¥500, Elementary and Junior high school students, ¥300
This is a roadside station located in Oboke. It has various facilities including a kiosk, café, and playroom.
The yokai-yashiki (monster-infested house) and museum with a collection of rare rocks is worth seeing.
We are told that the museum was created because the hometown of Konakijijii, a character in the animated TV series GeGeGe No Kitarao, is in the area.
The roadside station is about 25 minutes by car from Iya Onsen.
It is said that about 70 monsters live in the yokai-yashiki. You should look to see what type of monsters you can come across.
This is a rock museum. Various sacred jewels and gemstones are on display.