Off-the-beaten-track in Tokushima

Locating between Honshu (the main island of Japan) and Kyushu, Shikoku is an island famous for udon, the whirlpool and the Shikoku 88 pilgrimage route. Recently, with more direct flights to Shikoku, it has become a more popular travel destination.

Shikoku is filled with wonderful nature
The beautiful Seto Inlsand Sea, art islands, nice beaches, spectacular mountains, and clean river. One of the off-the-beaten tracks is the amazing mountainous valley called Iya-Obuke in Tokushima.

Legend has it that a defeated Heike Clan retreated there during a civil war in the 12th Century. The deep valley and mountainous deep forest area made it a great hide-away. The ancient vine bridges have become iconic tourist attraction of the area.

Scenic Spots in Iya-Obuke
There are several scenic spots around the mountain area, including a Michelin 2-Star Green scenic spot U-shape gorge, the peeing boy statue, vine bridges, the scarecrows village and the 400-year-old Ochiai Village built on a hillside. Depending on your schedule, a day trip will not be able to cover the entire area, particular if you also want to take a walk, visit historic houses and enjoy the local food. The region is also famous for onsen (hot spring) so it is better to stay over in one of the onsen hotels/inns and spend 2 days to explore in leisure.

Kazurabashi (Vine bridge) 祖谷蔓橋
The longest vine bridge was in Iya area and two others are in Oku-Iya area, the Eastern part of the valley.
Ochiai Village 落合聚落
Visit the Ochiai Village built in the middle of the Edo Period (circa 1700) and scarecrows village the Easten region.
monorail 奧祖谷周遊單軌車
This monorail beetle car ride is one of the popular tourist activities in Iya-Obuke area. Please note that it is a 65-minute ride with no stop in the middle!
Obuke Station 大步危站
Public access: 1) Take train to Obuke Station, there are regular buses that go to various tourist spots in Iya but not Iya-Obuke (Eastern area). You may hire a taxi which is more flexible.
2) Bus Tour from Awa-Ikeda Station and recently Takamatsu as well. However, the bus tours do not go to the Eastern area.

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