Yabakei Gorge

  • Port

    Beppu, Japan

  • Activity Level

    Strenuous

  • Excursion Type

    Information not currently available.

  • Wheelchair Accessible

    NO

  • Cost

    USD USD USD USD

    Price over $151
  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    5 Hours

  • Meals Included

    No

Nature-lovers will thrill to this journey into Oita Prefecture's scenic northwestern area, where Yabakei Gorge takes center stage. Photo opportunities abound as your motorcoach winds through a picturesque landscape known for rock formations and mountain vistas. Settle back and enjoy the 80-minute panoramic drive.

This is where you'll discover the dramatic Yabakei Gorge -- a fantastic natural formation carved by the Yamakuni River as it ran through a lava plateau, slowly eroding it over thousands of years. The gorge extends more than 22 miles, and its size plus its jagged rock formations, cliffs and caves make for an impressive natural site.

At the entrance of the gorge, you'll find Yabakei Bridge, which has eight arches and is the longest stone arch bridge in Japan. Built in 1923, the bridge boasts the distinction of being a Prefectural Cultural Property and is known for its rustic, photographic beauty.

The most popular attraction along the gorge is an impressive, 1,100-foot-long tunnel called Ao-no-doumon, which translates as 'blue tunnel'. Legend tells of a monk who, when seeing how difficult it was for worshippers to get around this very steep cliff to reach the local shrine, decided to create a tunnel and did so using only a hammer and chisel. It is said that he dug for 30 years and finished in 1763. A slight variation on the story says that the priest created Japan's first toll road.

The Zen temple that worshippers were trying to reach was fantastically built into the cliffs of Mt Rakan. Set on a mountaintop perch, the Rakanji Temple is believed to have been founded in AD 645. Rakanji includes several different caves and is surrounded by more than 3,700 stone Buddha statues and figures. For the very energetic, ancient stone steps take you to the top, but most visitors prefer to use the chairlift that offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding valley. At the pinnacle of this incredible retreat, you are rewarded with a viewing platform, a lovely park and awe-inspiring views.

After exploring this dynamic region, you will return to the pier.

Please note: Wear comfortable walking shoes. The temple on Mt. Rakanji can only be reached by chairlift, so if you have a fear of hights, this might not be the best tour for you. The chairlift keeps moving at a slow but steady pace and does not stop or slow down in order for people to get off. At Rakan temple, it is not allowed to take pictures.