The Iya Valley is one of the top travel destinations for any Japan traveler looking for both adventurous activities and beautiful sights. Visitors can enjoy this area in the summer season (especially August), when the landscape is covered with a fresh green color. The average temperature is between 25 and 34 ° C, perfect weather for anyone who wants to spend a day in the sun. This article will give you a detailed insight into the exciting activities and sights of the Iya Valley, followed by some local transportation tips in the region.
Iya Valley – Directions
The easiest and cheapest way to get to the Iya Valley is to rent a car (レ ン タ カ). Deep in the heart of Shikoku Island, the Iya Valley does not have such a complex public transport system as the larger cities. Marugame, the nearest neighbor town, is home to several car rental companies. If this location is not on your route, it is best to ask your local guesthouse or hotel to find a car rental company. Some accommodations operate a small car rental, so you do not have to go far.
If you can not rent a car, there is a bus company that drives through the valley. Here you can find a timetable to know the operating times, tariffs and bus stops (as of August 2017).
The Iya Valley is known for its beautiful rivers and mountainsides. We can find two beautiful suspension bridges made of vines that cross the river, such as the Kazurabashi Bridge. From the bus stop, walk five minutes to Kazurabashi Bridge. Just follow the main road until you see this sign, turn right and descend the stairs.
After you have reached the bottom of the stairs, a small ticket booth is waiting for you. The price for crossing this bridge is 550 yen. At the other end of the bridge there is a beautiful waterfall , as well as a riverbed from which you can get even closer to the water. Give your feet a quick refreshment in the cold river water.
After a short trip to the historic suspension bridge, make a stop at the bus station “Oboke-Kyo-Bus Station”. For 1,000 yen there are boat tours over the Oboke River. The boat tours start every 10-20 minutes and provide clear rivers and interesting rock formations during the 30-minute drive. The boat tours are not in English.
Outdoor activities – Iya Valley
Through the Iya Valley runs one of the three largest rivers in Japan, the Yoshino River. It is known for its crystal clear waters and rapids, making it ideal for whitewater rafting. This gives you a completely different perspective of the river and at the same time has a lot of fun. The rafting tours are offered by many agencies that have their stalls scattered along the river. Prices for the one-day packages usually vary between 9,000 and 10,000 yen per person. During the five- to six-hour rides, local guides will show you the pitfalls of the river and its rapids. The routes for the rafting tours change depending on the current weather conditions. The map below shows two major local providers.
In addition to the large river and its small foothills, the Iya Valley captivates through its beautiful mountain landscape. There are dozens of trails along the mountain ranges, but most are signposted only in Japanese. It is therefore best to inform yourself in advance which trail you would like to walk. In addition, other activities are offered in the mountains, including the so-called “zip-lining”. You glide on long cable cars through the mountains. If you are not afraid of heights then you should definitely try the climbing park in the mountains by going from tree to tree. More can be found on the Internet address of Forest Adventure (also in English).
The area around the Iya Valley offers a variety of recreational activities for everyone to experience all aspects of the unique Japanese nature.