Sekokyo Gorge extends about 1 km to the west from the Deaibashi Bridge, which is thrown over the point where the Nekko River and the Hontani River flow into the Kano River. Located in the southwestern end of Yugashima Hot Springs, the gorge is visited by a lot of tourists who come to enjoy beautiful scenery of tender green in spring and crimson foliage in fall. Its beautiful flow of bubbly water has been highly acclaimed.
The promenade set out from the central part of Yugashima hot spring town to Sekokyo Gorge is called “Yumichi (the Hot Water Road),” which local people used to take when they went to the public bathhouse in the old days. Yumichi is also known as the path of literature, for there are many stone monuments concerning poets and novelists such as Akiko Yosano, Yasushi Inoue, Motojiro Kajii and Bokusui Wakayama.
Choshikei Gorge extends along the upstream of the Denpo River running through Shodoshima Island. Shodoshima Skyline (Prefectural Road 27) connects it with Kankakei Gorge, which is counted as one of Japan’s Three Fine Gorges. Shodoshima Island is famous for wild monkeys, and Choshikei Gorge is also a home to hundreds of monkeys. You could visit Choshikei Monkey Park at the foot of Mt. Sentakubo, where the mode of life of wild monkeys can be observed nearby. Some of them are friendly to human beings because of the food handouts.
Following the trail up the mountain, you will pass by Onote-hime Shrine, a tiny shrine, which enshrines Princess Onote, the founder of Shodoshima Island. At the top of the mountain is the observatory, where you can have a calm and peaceful moment, viewing the panoramic landscape of the Seto Inland Sea.
In fall, trees with crimson foliage beautifully add colors to the clear stream of the gorge.
Takatsudo Gorge (Midori City, Gunma Prefecture) extends along the Watarase River, which flows out of a mountain in Nikko. Referred to as “Yabakei in Kanto,” There are many monstrous or oddly-shaped rocks such as Gorilla Rock, Skelton Rock and Pot Hole Rock and deep pools including Isegafuchi Pool.
The Hanetaki (Splashing Waterfall) Bridge is a footbridge, which looks triangular either seen from the front or from the side. As water splashing over the bridge looks like a waterfall, it was named so. 120 tiles with pictures of birds, fish and flowers were dedicated from all over the country and set in the bridge.
As the promenade is arranged along the river, a lot of hikers visit the gorge on weekends and enjoy its exquisite scenery. Tender green and autumn foliage are especially splendid.
Sanbaseki Gorge in the border of Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture and Kamikawa-machi, Kodama-gun, Saitama Prefecture is nationally designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty and a Natural Monument. Surrounded by steep cliffs, the 1.5 km riverbed of the Kannagawa River is dotted with 48 huge or monstrous-shaped rocks. As early as in the Edo period (1603-1868), names were given to each of these oddly-shaped stones, which were collectively called “the 48 Fine Stones” and the gorge was a popular scenic spot visited by a lot of sightseers.
The gorge is considered to be a geologically precious zone, where green crystalline schist crops out on the ground. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), Kofuji Bunjiro, the founder of Japanese geology, discovered crystalline schist in the area around the Sanba River and named it Sanbagawa crystalline schist, from which the name “the Sanbagawa metamorphic complex” derived later.
With yellow and white stripes on the green stone surface, Sanbagawa crystalline schist, or popularly called Sanba Stone, creates mysterious and wonderful scenery in each season.
Kurodani Gorge is located in the upstream of the Danto River, which flows into Lake Okuyahagi and join the Yahagi River. The gorge is about 2 km in length and filled with mysterious atmosphere.
The gorge is bustled with anglers in summer when the Ayu fishing tournament is held. They enjoy fishing in the brilliance of tender green reflected on the surface of the river. However, the most impressive is the gorge ablaze with autumn leaves. You will feel refreshed by the exquisite view of the clear stream.
A camping site and bungalows are provided in the vicinity, where you can stay and enjoy bountiful nature to your heart’s content.
Kaore Gorge is a 0.5 km gorge along the Kaore Kaido road and the Otogawa River in the northern part of Sakuragata Town in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. It is a scenic spot where you can enjoy seasonal changes in the scenery including cherry blossoms in early spring, Koinobori (carp streamers) in May, tender green in summer and crimson foliage in fall.
Especially beautiful is the cherry blossom season, when the entire gorge is colored pale pink by about 80 Somei Yoshino cherry trees. From April through May, about 200 carp streamers are set out over the upstream of the river, which create a wonderful landscape. In summer, you can enjoy forest bathing in brilliant fresh green together with refreshing sound of clear water and fresh air. The best hiking season is from the middle of November to early December, when the gorge is surrounded with beautiful autumn leaves.
Kamikoshi Gorge is a 7 km scenic spot in the eastern part of Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. Contrary to Korankei Gorge down the river, which is always bustled with tourists, this gorge is a quiet place with few visitors. Only the sounds of wind blowing through the valley and water running in the stream can be heard.
There is a fishing zone built in a part of the river, where various natural land features including huge rocks, deep pools, rapids and gentle pools are utilized to create an ideal fishing zone for fanciers of mountain stream fishing.
Satsuki azaleas bloom along the river from the middle of May to early June. When Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) takes root on one of the huge rocks on rare occasions, its beautiful flowers attract attention of the visitors.
Clear stream flows between the continuing huge and oddly-shaped rocks with splashes of water. The deep pools are filled with emerald green water. The water of the stream is so cold that you can’t bathe for a long time even in summer.
Kawadai Gorge is a 2 km rhyolite gorge located in the down stream of Kurikoma Dam to the south of Mt. Karekidachiyama in Kurihara City in the northern end of Miyagi Prefecture. The scenery in the seasons of tender green and autumn leaves is especially beautiful.
The gorge has several legends concerning Minamoto no Yoshitsune. The statue of Gofukin Fudoson placed by Yoshitsune remains on a rock and a small hall looking like an oratory stands by the stream. Near the hall is a waterfall named “Tsukuri-daki.” Legend has it that Benkei, the retainer of Yoshitsune, rolled rocks with a light hand and created the waterfall, saying, “There must be a waterfall by the Fudo Hall.”
With several places of interest such as Saruwatari (Monkey’s Path), the gorge is suitable for pleasant hiking. From late October through early November, branches with colorful leaves protrude over the stream to form a blazing tunnel, which looks breathtakingly beautiful.