Iya Valley

Shikoku’s hideout

Iya Valley, part of Miyoshi City, is located in the western part of Shikoku Island’s Tokushima prefecture. Every year, an increasing number of tourists dive into the mountainous forests, searching for a glimpse of undisturbed nature, especially the last suspended vine bridges above rapid streams.

In Iya, visitors can discover another side of Japan: a magical, rural place far from Tokyo and the country’s other big cities. At night, tanuki and boars frequently cross local roads.

Western Iya (Nishi-Iya) is quite easy to reach, and although the Eastern Iya (Higashi-Iya or Oku-Iya) is a little further, it is still worth the detour.

Kazurabashi Bridges

There were initially 13 bridges throughout Iya Valley, but only 3 remain today. They are suspended from cedar trees by steel cables covered with vine. They used to be only made by mountain vines (kazurabashi) but have been reinforced due to increased tourist traffic.

The most famous and easy-to-access bridge is Iya-Kazurabashi. It is 45 meters long and is suspended 14 meters above the river. Crossing the bridge is not advisable for people with a fear of heights, as our pictures below will show. Moreover, Husband Bridge (Ottonohashi) and Wife Bridge (Tsumanohashi), located in Oku-Iya (Niju-Kazurabashi), are 44 and 22 meters long, respectively.

A little farther out, visitors will also find Wild Monkey Bridge, a suspended cart formerly used to transport supplies. This bridge offers a perfect crossing opportunity for couples!

Nearby in Oku-Iya and Nishi-Iya, rivers and waterfalls refresh visitors during the summer.

Ochiai Village

Ochiai is a part of Iya Valley and features traditional houses, fields and numerous historical paths. The remote village is built directly on the mountainside on 8 levels. It is possible to sleep there to enjoy a fantastic view in the morning. The atmosphere is quite exceptional.

Therefore, many travelers like to come in Ochiai to spend the night in one of these traditional houses. In winter, they also like to taste a delicious boar meat hot pot (botan nabe) to warm up after a day of excursions in the prefecture.

Manikin Peeing Boy Statue

Who does not know Brussels’ Manneken-Pis? Iya Valley also has its own. In terms of location and landscape, Iya’s is superior, as it is perched atop a 200-meter cliff above the river!

This visit article has been written after a tour organized and sponsored by the Tourist Information Center of Tokushima Prefecture. Kanpai has been invited and guided but keeps a total freedom of editorial content.
Review this place
5/5 (2 votes)
Kanpai's opinion

Iya Valley photo gallery

  • Oku-Iya Kazurabashi Bridge
  • Iya-Kazurabashi Bridge
  • Iya-Kazurabashi Bridge 2
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island)
  • Iya-Kazurabashi Bridge 3
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island) 2
  • Iya-Kazurabashi Bridge 4
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island) 3
  • Manikin Peeing Boy Statue in Iya Valley
  • Ochiai Village in Iya Valley
  • Ochiai Village in Iya Valley 2
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island) 4
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island) 5
  • Oku-Iya Kazurabashi Bridge 2
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island) 6
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island) 7
  • Iya Valley (Shikoku Island) 8
  • Oku-Iya Kazurabashi Bridge 3
  • Wild Monkey Bridge in Iya Valley
  • Wild Monkey Bridge in Iya Valley 2

Information

Use Google Maps
Enlarge map
View the whole map of Japan

How to get to Iya Valley

By bus -- Local bus lines (2 to 8 per day depending on the weekday and the season):

  • from Awa-Ikeda Station (70 minutes) and Oboke Station (20 minutes) to Kazurabashi
  • far fewer bus frequency to Oku-Iya / Niju-Kazurabashi; alternatively, a rental car is recommended
  • journey from ¥500 (~US$ 4.60) to ¥2,000 (~US$ 18.40) depending on the distance

Location unreachable with the JR Pass

Get there with a rental car

Admission

Kazurabashi Bridges:

  • Adults: ¥550 (~US$ 5.10)
  • Children: ¥350 (~US$ 3.20)

Get your Japanese Yens free of charge

Opening hours

Iya Kazurabashi:

  • open daily from sunrise to sunset (at least from 8am to 5pm)
  • light-up from 7pm to 9:30pm

Oku-Iya Kazurabashi:

  • open daily from 8am to 5pm (from 7:30am to 6pm during summer) 
  • annual closure from December to March

How long / when to visit

Allow one to two days

Best season in autumn

In Japanese

祖谷渓 (Iya-kei)

Other name(s)

祖谷かずら橋 (Iya Kazurabashi)

奥祖谷二重かずら橋 (Oku-Iya Niju Kazurabashi) 

Connexion internet

Stay connected with a Pocket Wifi in Japan

Insurance

Stay protected under any circumstance

Related topics

Resources

Official Oboke Iya Tourist Website (in English)

Q&A

Kotaete

Ask a question

Travel Companions

Isshoni

Search for companions

Day trips from Iya Valley (Shikoku)