Where to Go in Kinugawa Onsen
Thanks to the stunning natural gifts of the area and the hard work and dedication of its local residents maintaining the beauty the town, Kinugawa Onsen is overflowing with things to see and explore. Dotted throughout the lush mountainous area sit raging streams, peaceful onsen baths, bubbling hot springs and incredible views of the neighbouring mountains that have to be seen to be believed. It doesn’t matter whether you’re staying for a day or for a month, Kinugawa Onsen has the magic ability to surprise and fascinate day in and day out. These are just some of the many sights you can’t miss when you’re in the area.
The Kinu-Tateiwa Otsuribashi is a 140-meter-long suspension bridge that connects the local and iconic Kinugawa hot spring resort to the equally iconic massive 70 meter rock formation known to locals as Tateiwa. The name Tateiwa means “Shield Rock”, and it was named as such because it actually looks like a medieval shield. Stretching over the Kinugawa river, the bridge sits at an astonishing forty meters above the roaring river, offering visitors some of the most incredible views in the area. No matter what time of year you visit the suspension bridge you’ll be floored by the astonishing ever changing beauty of the area.
Located just a stone’s throw from the bridge sits one of Kinugawa’s Furukama-no-taki. In Japanese Furukama-no-taki means "Old Cauldron Falls". Stroll along the foliage-filled pathways that follow Kinu-Tateiwa Otsuribashi and you’ll stumble upon the humble and tranquil series of small waterfalls. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend in the area, don’t worry as it’s not too far a journey to trek, and it's well connected meaning that even the novice hiker can master the trip without much hassle at all.
With the peaceful sightseeing done now it’s time for adventure and tearing through the town of Kinugawa Onsen is the Kinugawa River. Flowing from the north to the south 176.7 kms down the massive Kanto plain, and finally merging with Tone River, it’s home to some of the area’s best and most heart racing activities. One of the most popular ways to explore the river is by hopping on a locally run river cruise with well trained oarsmen guiding the way, but an alternative for the more adventurous is to jump in an inflatable dinghy and rafting along the river, while immersing yourself in the incredibly scenic valley. While you’re cruising keep an eye out for the kingfishers and ayu fish swimming in warmer summer months or witness the surrounding foliage transform into fiery shades of gold and red during the cooler autumn months.
Nestled in a remote valley behind the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture sits Okukinu Onsen, a rustic onsen town that houses a collection of traditional style onsens. Secluded outdoor ryokans offer arguably the most atmospheric onsen experience you can have in Tochigi prefecture. A little hidden away, the best way to get there is by catching a bus to Meotobuchi Onsen which sits at the entrance to the Okukinu area. Once there, guests can arrange to get picked up by their ryokan by van. Though a visit takes a little more planning, once you arrive you’ll agree that it’s worth the effort. If you plan on spending some time in the area book a ryokan to fully experience everything this stunning pocket of Tochigi has to offer.
Finally before you leave the area, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t take the chance to witness the area’s stunning rolling mountain ranges one last time. Located on the edge of town toward Tobu, is the Tateiwa Viewpoint, near Kinu-Tateiwa Otsuribashi. Take a moment get out the camera and soak up the visual delights that are Nikko’s towering cliff faces and mountain slopes encompassing Kinugawa Onsen.
- Facility Name
- Kinu-Tateiwa Otsuribashi Suspension Bridge
- Tochigi Pref. Nikkoushi Kinugawaonsenohara
- This is a 140-meter-long pedestrian suspension bridge which connects the Kinugawa hot spring resort to the Place of Scenic Beauty, “Tateiwa” (lit. Shield Rock). Below the bridge which has a height of about 40 meters, you can see the Kinugawa River, and you can enjoy the mountains which are dyed crimson and yellow during the season of autumn colors. Standing near to the suspension bridge, “Tateiwa” as its name suggests resembles the shape of a shield. It is also known as the “marriage bridge” as it connects the two, both the manly “Tateiwa” which rises up opposite the bridge and the feminine Kinugawa River which leisurely flows past.
- Information Sources:
- NAVITIME JAPAN