Iya Valley (祖谷渓, Iyakei), located in western Tokushima Prefecture and centralized on Shikoku Island, is a grand expanse of secluded nature known for its steep mountain slopes, rocky gorges, traditional farmhouses, and historic vine bridges. The remote environment is the epitome of Japanese rural culture and for outdoorsy types, is abundant in hiking spots, ziplining, rafting, and boating.
Test your wits by crossing the area’s famous vine bridge or leisurely boat along the gorge’s emerald blue waters, which are surrounded by foliage-filled mountainsides. The area shines in all seasons, and is particularly stunning in autumn when the treetops turn red, yellow, and orange. Complementing the valley’s natural beauty is the rustic community of thatch-roofed farmhouses. The charming village transports you to the past with an old-time atmosphere that will forever change your perspective on life. Feel time slow as you adventure through the town or unwind in one of the valley’s hot springs. With Iya Valley’s ubiquitous mysticism, it is hard not to feel inspired.
Admire the thatched roof houses of Ochiai Village (落合集落, ochiai-shuraku) that adorn the steep slopes of Iya Valley's mountains, scaling 400 meters. The settlement is a Nationally Important Preservation District.
The Kazurabashi bridge is made from kiwi vines wihch are replaced every 3 years. It is one of the most famous attractions that Iya Valley is known for. It stands 15 meters above the Iya river, spanning over a distance of about 45 meters.
High above the Iya River, Tokushima has its own version of the Manneken Pis bronze statue found in Brussels. The Peeing Boy of Iya Gorge was said to be built here at Nana Magari—one of the most dangerous spots in the valley—to commemorate travellers who themselves would urinate off the edge.
Oboke Gorge is a narrow, steep-sided gorge close to the Iya Valley entrance known for its emerald blue waters. Both riverboat tours and whitewater rafting are offered here.
By Plane: Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports have flights to Takamatsu Airport on Shikoku. From the airport, there are buses that go directly to Iya Valley
By Bus: Shikoku’s Awa Ikeda and Oboke Stations are well connected to the western part of the valley with buses that run a few times per day.
By Train: From Tokyo Station, visitors can take a 5-hour train journey to Tokushima's Oboke Station, changing at Okayama.
By Rental Car: To travel to the more secluded parts of the valley, we recommend renting a car. It is important to note that car travel can be hazardous due to the winding and narrow mountain roads. So, please drive slowly and cautiously.