Oboke Canyon is one of the most photographed sites in Tokushima Prefecture. Tokushima is located in Shikoku, southwestern Japan, and it has a reputation for being adventure ready, with a handful of hikes, many of these offering incredible views of mountainous land. Here’s a guide to what you should do and see at the Oboke Canyon.
Oboke Canyon is situated near the Yoshino River that runs downstream through Shikoku. The outstanding beauties of the valley are gigantic, odd shaped rocks and cliffs eroded by the raging torrent of the Yoshino River.
Oboke Pleasure Boat
With its dramatic landscapes, Oboke Canyon is the best for outdoor adventures, such as whitewater rafting and canoeing. I preferred a much more laid back way of seeing the outdoors, so we took a pleasure boat gently down the river which departed and returned to a dock a short way away from Oboke Station.
Iya Vine Suspension Bridge
Iya River is one of the tributaries of the Yoshino River and a 30 minute drive from Oboke Canyon leads you to Iya vine suspension bridge. The bridge itself spans 45 meters, swaying over the Iya River at 14 meters height and leading mythically to a beautiful green woods. People used to build many of these vine bridges using vines that grew wild in the mountains, but only a few remain today. The bridge is rebuilt every three years and these days it has steel cables within the vines for safety.
Oku-Iya Double Vine Suspension Bridges
Oku-Iya Double vine suspension bridges are by far the most beautiful bridge over the Iya River. You’ll get an amazing view of the Iya River as you walk along the river bank at the foot of the bridge. One of the legends says that the bridges were constructed by warrior refugees hiding in the area as a means of quickly cutting off access to the valley.
Wild Monkey Bridge
The Wild Monkey Bridge includes a wooden cart to transport goods and people. You can try to ride the wooden cart and pull the rope across the river.
Manneken Pis Statue in Iya Valley
Before venturing toward the Iya River, I made my way north to visit Manneken Pis statue. This small pis statue has become a major symbol of the Iya River with its unique location standing on top of a 200 meter high cliff. You can see a spectacular view of Iya precipitous cliffs.
Ochiai is a traditional folk village, located approximately 15 kilometers from Iya vine suspension bridge and is one of Japan’s remotest towns. Nestled in a steep sloping area, the height difference from sea level is 390 meters. There are centuries-old thatched-roof farmhouses, stone-walled terrace gardens and small fields and together these help to create breathtaking mountain scenery. Oboke Iya Hot Spring Village is a great place for a mountain onsen break. There are a number of luxury hot spring hotels in the area so you won’t struggle for choice. For more local and authentic experiences, there are also old Japanese-style inns in Ochiai Village.