See more of Okumikawa
Starting from ¥30,000, our full-day custom tours can help you to discover more of the beautiful natural sights and attractions in this quiet but very accessible part of Japan.
We will work with you to organise transport, itineraries, meals, and experiences to create your own special tour, tailored to your interests!
This area is next to the popular Tokaido Shinkansen line, so a full or half-day tour with us is perfect when travelling between Osaka/Kyoto and Tokyo. Looking for something to do out of Nagoya for the day? We're not far away!
Half-day tours are also available from ¥15,000, perfect on check-in or check-out days from accommodation in the Yuyaonsen area.
Below we highlight just some of the sights in the area we can help you to explore. Feel free to contact us and let us know what you'd like to see or ask any questions!
From October to June we can take you along the beautiful and atmospheric hiking trails that this area offers. Our guided hikes can range from easy, wide tracks, to longer hikes along more wild, ancient tracks.
Mt. Horaiji Summit Loop
Above the stone steps and main temple hall of Mt Horaiji, a loop track covers the rocky and rugged parts of the mountain near the summit, and the forest that clings to the ridges.
The loop takes about 2.5-3 hours and includes a number of scenic lookouts as it crosses the unique geology of volcanic rock and ash. Depending on the day, there's also a great place for coffee and an ice cream (or 2).
Mt. Horaiji Stone Steps
A highlight of our area and a key part of many of our tours, these beautiful and historic hand-carved stone steps are over 800 years old. Legend says they were donated to the temple as thanks for keeping an important samurai safe while his family were being hunted (can't kill anything on Mt. Horaiji!).
The steps climb the mountain through mossy and green forest, with the temple's main gate nestled within the trees along the way. We like to take a less-travelled path through the temple grounds full of statues and history that splits from the main steps path.
Tokai Shizen Hodo (Tokai Nature Trail)
The Tokai shizen Hodo is a hiking track from Osaka to Tokyo that conveniently passes through our area! The roughly 30km section of track in this area follows ancient walking routes and is notoriously tough if attempted in 1 or 2 days.
We have a range of custom routes that use parts of the trail in smaller and more relaxed hikes through beautiful scenery and rich forest, with stops for coffee and lunch along the way!
The Chiiwa valley has some amazing sights within a short hike including the famous cat-shaped cave, the "doughnut" natural bridge, and the main pool with crystal-like water. The volcanic ash rock of the area gives it a special atmosphere that contrasts the wild and natural forest.
The rugged track at Chiiwa gives you views of the beautiful creek running between massive boulders, the wide range of plant life, and the cliffs that give the area its name.
Ask us about our cycling route to Chiiwa along the picturesque Ure River!
Our area is famous for its clean mountain water and beautiful waterfalls. Of the waterfalls below, 3/4 are considered 'power spots' by many people - a place where they feel some kind of healing power or energy. True or not, they are very relaxing places to visit, with a special atmosphere.
Some waterfalls are difficult for visitors to reach because of landslides in the past, but on our custom tours you can visit these more difficult-to-see sights.
As part of Japan's top 100 waterfalls, these falls have been protected as an official Place of Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument for nearly 100 years.
The falls have a total height of 62m, with most of this visible from the bottom and a viewing platform that lets you get very close to the highest drop.
A man described as "the Merlin of Japan" discovered and named the falls over 1000 years ago when he came here to meditate.
A famous place for fans of 'power spots,' this waterfall lies right on a major fault line, with a roughly 40m clear drop into a mysterious pool. The falls are so nestled in the forest that it's difficult to capture the size and power in a photo.
Even though the falls are not easy to drive to, this place is very popular, with die-hard fans!
The falls cut down through sharp cliffs that contrast the forest around it, with a crystal clear brook at the bottom.
The beauty and atmosphere of this waterfall+shrine+temple combination is difficult to catch on camera!
Hidden in the forest, this waterfall has 7 rocky falls of crystal clear water, with a unique shrine/temple combination that is a remnant of Japan's spirituality before the Meiji Restoration. It's truly a hidden gem.
The falls at Chiiwa are spread up and down the creek, but the highlight is the beautiful main pool where water bubbles into the crystal-like water. In warmer months, the creek is famous for cooling off by paddling or swimming. We can also organise "Shower Climbing" (like Canyoning) experiences in these warm months!
The standards of people in this area are very high when it comes to restaurants, they expect great service, great value, and high quality food.
On our custom tours we fit in visits to these restaurants where possible to share the charming countryside taste of Okumikawa.
Kadoya Meat-specialist Restaurant
A true gem of the area, this restaurant's friendly owner/chef takes his selection of meat and dishes very seriously. The food at this restaurant is so good it has changed our standards forever.
The chef loves to focus on local ingredients and it really makes each dish special! He also loves to use deer and wild boar in seasonal dishes - a must try.
Horaikan Cafe is like a trip back in time to the 1920's in Japan, where Japanese tradition was starting to blend with Western styles. The staff here wear period-accurate clothes, and the cafe itself is in a 1920's bank building, the first bank in a large area around at the time! The building is like a museum, filled with amazing antiques.
The coffee at Horaikan is their speciality, siphon coffee in a variety of blends and single-origins. The cake is perfect to pair with the coffee, with everything served on incredibly intricate vintage ceramics.
This third-generation, family-run kiosk is a great place for snacks, drinks and ice cream on Mt. Horaiji, not far from the shrine and main temple building.
An icecream during a hike is always nice!
This information centre/local shop/restaurant is a collection of all things local and special to the area. From the kiosk you can try local snacks, and from the restaurant inside you can try more local meals. Mokkullu even serves bear curry using bear meat from Nagano on the border to the North.
While there are many other sights, these are the highlights that we think any visitor to the area should see if they have the time!
The Abandoned Okusa Train Station
Long ago a train line ran through the valleys around Mt. Horaiji, deep into the mountains nearby. Some of the tunnels and train stations from this old train line are still accessible and the atmosphere is incredible! This particular station is picturesque and was featured in the first shot of the first major advertisement for the Ghibli park in Nagoya.
Yuyaonsen (literally 'hot water valley hot spring') is the village next to Mt. Horaiji, with the ancient hot spring discovered by the same hermit monk that started the temple on Mt. Horaiji over 1,300 years ago.
The Yuyaonsen area has hot spring ryokan (inns) along the river, where the crystal clear water cascades down waterfalls and rapids. Looking out at the river from a hot spring is very relaxing!
(Pictured is the amazing view from Damine.)
This reconstructed wooden castle is perched on the side of a plateau on the side of a river valley, with amazing views of the rugged remnants of a volcano from 15 million years ago. The castle features a small museum and a feudal period lookout tower.
On the other side of the small plateau is a temple with a very old collection of kabuki-related artwork, and statues for more gods than you normally see at one temple!
If you're a fan of Japanese history, this area has some important and incredible stories to offer. Being in Central Japan, and in the centre between two major sides during the wars roughly 500 years ago, many important people in Japanese history battled on the mountains and fields around this area.
Nagashino Castle and Battlefield
In 1575, this castle perched where two large rivers meet was the target of a huge siege by 15,000 samurai. One of the most heroic and impressive feats of the Warring States Period came from the defenders trying to save their castle, and in the museum on the site you can see the story and artefacts from the time.
If you're interested in Japanese samurai history, let us take you through the incredible story of our city's hero, Torii Suneemon.
After Nagashino Castle was besieged, the call for help from Torii Suneemon brought the three most important samurai in Japan's history to this battlefield where they decimated a powerful and feared army in the first 'modern' battle in Japan's history, with the use of new tactics.
On the site of the battlefield you can see recreations of the cavalry-blocking fences, and feel the scale of the battle.