Friday, September 2, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Kazurabashi かずら橋, Oboke Iya Regular Sightseeing Tour Bus 大歩危・祖谷定期観光バス

Visited 18.11.2014 (Tue)

Designated national cultural asset. Miyoshi-shi is a mountainous countryside area, where Mount Tsurugi (Tsurugi-san 剣山) , the second highest mountain on the island of Shikoku, is located in. Kazurabashi is a suspension bridge made from the vines of Actinidia auguta (a hardy kiwifruit) and is reconstructed every three years. Origin of this vine bridge can be traced back to close to a millennium ago, when the Heike Clan lost the Geppei war with Minamoto Clan, fled from Kyoto and settled down in this secluded region. Kazurabashi is about 45 m long, 2 m wide, weighs approximately 5 tons and is suspended 15 m above water. Bridge was constructed to facilitate movement across the gorge in this remote area by the Heike Clan and could be cut off anytime to protect themselves from enemies. Apart from the legend behind this bridge, the gorgeous natural backdrop of wilderness that Kazurabashi is set against to is what make this place so fascinating to many visitors. 

Cross with caution. Experienced for myself how people crossed this daunting looking bridge in the old days. Despite the bridge being relatively wide, one way traffic is only allowed here. The gap between the wooden planks is actually wide enough to put a foot through, therefore I had give up photo taking to hold both hands on the side and literally took baby steps to complete the traverse across the gorge. After crossing the bridge, we were welcomed by the sight of Biwa no taki (琵琶の滝), a 50 m high waterfall, whose name came from a Japanese lute played by Heike Clan as they reminisced the good old days by this natural water feature. Was given ample time to capture and soak myself into the picturesque scenery of Kazurabashi, Iya river and autumn foliage, couldn't help but awe at this mysteriously beautiful landscape right in front of my eyes.

Biwa no taki.

Kazurabashi かずら橋
Operating hours: Sunrise to sunset, open throughout the year
Admission fee = 550 yen

How to get there? 

(1) Local buses
From Oboke JR Station:
- Shikoku Kotsu Bus (四国交通バス), Iya line (祖谷線)
Bus schedule:
* Note that additional buses are operated only on weekends & public holidays between Apr and Nov.
- Miyoshi-shien Bus 三好市営バス, Kazurabashi/Oboke line (かずら橋・大歩危線)
Bus schedule:

From Awa Ikeda JR Station:
- Shikoku Kotsu Bus (四国交通バス), Iya line (祖谷線).

(2) Oboke Iya Regular Sightseeing Tour Bus 大歩危・祖谷定期観光バス
One of the best (and fastest) way to cover most of the attractions in Miyoshi, is to sign up for this 1 day sightseeing tour bus service offered by Shikoku Kotsu. Sale of tickets starts 3 months before excursion date and reservation can be made through either email or phone. The price of the entire sightseeing bus tour includes lunch, admission fees to Kazurabashi [550 yen] and Heike Yashiki Museum of Folklore [500 yen], and Oboke sightseeing boat cruise ticket [1,080 yen]. Bus departs from Awa Ikeda JR Station at 1045 hrs and returns to the same train station at around 1620 hrs. For my trip, since we were staying in Iya Onsen for the night, I requested the staff from Shikoku Kotsu (through the help of the tourist information center at Tokushima JR Station) to liaise with the ryokan Iya Onsen Wanoyado) to pick us up from Oboke sightseeing boat cruise center, the last place of interest on the itinerary, instead of returning to the train station with the rest on the sightseeing bus.

Price = 7,500 yen (adults); 7,000 yen (child)
Period of operation: Daily in May, August, October and November; Weekends and public holidays in March, April, June, July and September.
Itinerary: Awa Ikeda JR Station > Iya Valley and statue of pissing boy > Lunch > Kazurabashi > Heike Yashiki Museum of Folklore > Michi no eki Oboke > Oboke sightseeing boat cruise > Awa Ikeda JR Station

Email to make seat reservation:
Check seats availability:


Video: Scroll to 42:30 for 爱玩志's feature on Kazurabashi.

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