To-no-hetsuri Crags

To-no-hetsuri Crags

A national natural monument, To-no-hetsuri Crags consists of tower-shaped cliffs overlooking Okawa River. Hetsuri is an Aizu word meaning "a cliff overlooking a river" or "a steep slope" in the local dialect. These strange-shaped cliffs are thought to be made of various types of rocks formed around 28 million years ago and feature deep cracks along the vertical joints. Thanks to trees growing between the white multi-layered rocks the view in autumn is quite spectacular. In spring and summer, the lush greens create a beautiful carpet down the rocks; in winter, the heavy snows make To-no-hetsuri Crags look otherworldly.

The 200-meter long, natural cliff formation has alternating types of rocks that also include a relatively soft strata, which have been eroded by rain and wind, resulting in distinctive and eye-catching dips and curves in the rock face that resemble a forest of towers. Each of these tower-like rocks has its own name: Eagle Tower, Hawk Tower, Lion Tower, House Tower, Turret Tower, Nine-Ring Tower, Elephant Tower, Goma (fire ritual) Tower, Eboshi (tall hat worn by male aristocrats in the Heian Period) Rock, Folding Screen Rock, Stage Rock, and Sumo Arena Rock.

Visitors to the area of To-no-hetsuri Crags can best enjoy the dynamic scenery by crossing the nearby suspension bridge. The suspension bridge offers a breathtaking sight of the river and cliff sides. At the foot of the cliff there is also a small shrine dedicated to the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. Another great way to enjoy To-no-hetsuri Crags is from the observatory neighboring the area where guests can view a panoramic scene of Okawa River, To-no-hetsuri Crags, and the suspension bridge. After enjoying the beautiful sight, head over to the local shopping area for restaurants and souvenirs.

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttp://shimogo.jp/sightseeing/tonohetsuri/(Japanese)
Contact

Shimogo Town Tourism Association

(+81) 241-69-1144

kankou_01@town.shimogo.fukushima.jp

Best Season
  • Autumn
  • Winter
ParkingAvailable (Paid parking lot)
Entrance FeeFree
Accommodation details

Pets: Allowed

Access Details
AccessOishi 1000, Shiono, Shimogo Town, Fukushima Pref. 969-5345
View directions
Getting there

By Car:

  • 1 hour from Shirakawa I.C. exit off the Tohoku Expressway
  • 15 min drive from Ouchi-juku

By Train:

  • 5 min walk from To-no-Hetsuri Station on the Aizu Railway line

Related trips

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    Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip

    This trip highlights some of the best Fukushima has to offer and is perfect for those looking to get the most out of the prefecture in a limited time. Take in castles, nature, traditional villages, and more as you treat yourself to local styles of soba and ramen along the way. Renting a car is a must if you want to hit all the spots on this tour. You can take it slow and complete this trip over three days, or skip out an overnight stay in Urabandai area, and do it in two days. Start the day from Fukushima Station with a scenic drive to the the beautiful Urabandai region. We recommend taking the Bandai-Azuma Skyline road so that you can enjoy a mountain drive and check out the great sights at Mt. Azuma-Kofuji. From there, take the stunning sightseeing road Azuma-Bandai Lake Line into Urabandai. Explore the Urabandai area, have lunch, go on a walk around the five-colored ponds of Goshiki-numa, and maybe even take a dip in a hot spring or two. Choose whether take it slow and stay the night in Urabandai area, or whether to press on to Aizu-Wakamatsu City.  Later that day - or the next morning, depending on your schedule - head into the castle town of Aizu-Wakamatsu City where samurai culture is prevalent. The majestic Tsurugajo Castle offers beautiful views of the surroundings from the keep. Check out the nearby Tsurugajo Kaikan to paint an akabeko or two and maybe have some lunch. Then explore the mysterious Sazaedo Temple and the surrounding Mt. Iimoriyama area. From here, we suggest staying overnight in the city. There are plenty of budget hotels in Aizu-Wakamatsu, but if you are looking for something traditionally Japanese, we recommend looking into lodging at the nearby Higashiyama Onsen hot springs town just east of the city. On the next day prepare to jump into the past with a trip to the Ouchi-juku mountain village. You can spend hours here shopping and eating local foods while walking up and down the street lined with traditional thatched-roof houses. Lastly, head to the To-no-Hetsuri Crags, a natural monument filled with towering cliffs overlooking the Okawa River. Cross the nearby suspension bridge which offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. After getting fully refreshed head back to Shin-Shirakawa station by car, drop off your rental car, and connect back to Tokyo or the next stop on your journey!

    Ultimate Fukushima Prefecture Road Trip
    1. Driving

      Autumn Colors of Fukushima

      Spend a couple of beautiful days admiring the colors of autumn in Fukushima from the comfort of your car. You will love zooming around the prefecture and seeing all that autumn has to offer. With some of the best autumn vistas in the prefecture right outside your window, be sure to have your camera at the ready. Rent a car at Fukushima Station, and make your way down the picturesque Bandai-Azuma Skyline where you’ll see trees and mountainous views on either side. The colors of autumn will surround you like a cozy blanket and you will definitely want to take it slow to enjoy these brilliant leaves. Drive the mountain road down to the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line and admire the reflections of the autumnal trees on the surface of the beautiful waters. Take in the panorama of colors and nature in this tranquil setting before moving on to the next amazing site. Visit the fascinating Goshiki-numa Ponds that change color throughout the day; admire the various shades of these volcano-created ponds. Finish your crimson leaf tour of Fukushima at To-no-hetsuri Crags where you can drink up the gorgeous vista of trees against the stony edifice before heading back to Shin-Shirakawa Station and ending your trip.  

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      1. Adventure

        Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)

        Have you ever wanted to take a cross-prefecture tour of Japan, from Tokyo to the impeccable countryside of Fukushima? Well, now is your chance to travel from the international hub of Tokyo and see what else Japan and—especially—Fukushima have to offer. Enjoy this cross-country tour of Japan any time of the year, over the span of a few days so that you can enjoy things at your pace. You’ll find life outside of Tokyo goes at a much slower pace. Start your trip from Tokyo Station and ride a short distance to Asakusa. See one of the busiest shrine-and-temple locations in Tokyo. You’ll love the bustling atmosphere and the street stalls with their many trinkets and souvenirs. Once you’ve finished in Asakusa, head out of the city and make your way for Tochigi Prefecture’s Nikko. Nikko is perhaps most famous for the three monkey statues that people equate with “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”. You’ll see these wonderful statues and more while you stop over in Nikko. From there, travel north to Higashiyama Onsen and enjoy the sights form the train along the way. Higashiyama Onsen is Fukushima’s home to some truly great hot springs and Japanese-style inns. Soak up the hot waters and relax your tired muscles. At Tsuruga-jo Castle, you can walk the pristine gardens and enjoy the castle grounds. Be sure to make note of the red-roof tiles of the castle as well, this is the only castle in Japan that boasts having these deep-red tiles. Inside the castle keep, discover the history of the Aizu samurai through the many exhibits and displayed artifacts. Make your way to Nanokamachi-dori Street and admire the local architecture, which is quite different than that from the rest of the area. Search out local hidden gems along the narrow streets and find the perfect souvenir to take home. Enjoy your time in Tokyo, Tochigi, and Fukushima like never before with this route.  

        Diamond Route (4 days 3 nights)

Nearby

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Mt. Bandai Eruption Memorial Museum

This museum introduces the eruption of Mt. Bandai, and uses large sized models and "body sonic" facilities to give a simulated experience of the eruption in 1888 of Mt. Bandai. The plants and animals that live around Mt. Bandai are introduced using a diorama, and nature observation meetings are held several times a year. This museum has wheelchair access and bathroom facilities. The museum is across the road from Mt. Bandai 3D World, and a combined entrance ticket is available for the two facilities.

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Hot Springs

Oze Hinoemata Onsen

Oze Hinoemata Onsen has hot springs fed to every household, as well as bathing facilities run by the village for day visits. Aruza Oze no Sato, Hiuchi no Yu, Koma no Yu are all names of hot spring establishments in the town. Hinoemata area is also famous for Kabuki, a form of traditional performing art in Japan. Traditional Kabuki performances with a rich history dating from the Edo Period are still performed to this day on Hinoemata's kabuki stage, which is over 250 years old. There are three performances per year (May 12, August 18, and the first Saturday of September). Explore historical and cultural treasures such as the kabuki stage, the unique shrine featuring a stone statue of Hashiba-no-Banba, itakura (wooden storehouses), the six jizo statues, and the Hinoemata Folk Village by foot. Make sure to try Hinoemata area's 'Yamodo Cuisine': a characteristic cuisine centered on 100% buckwheat noodles, which features dishes such as 'Hatto soba' and rice cakes. Visitors can also enjoy walking and fishing at Hinoemata Mini Oze Park, a spacious park which comes to life with bright colours throughout the year as various flowers take turns to bloom. Oze Hinoemata Onsen is at the gateway to Oze National Park, making it as a base for hiking around Ozegahara Marsh, and for climbing mountains such as Mt. Hiuchigatake, Aizu Komagatake, Teishakuzen, and Tashiroyama.

The World Glassware Hall
Hot Springs

Tokusa Onsen

Tokusa Onsen derives its name from the tokusa (common horsetail plant) which is abundant in the region. It was discovered as a hot spring source approximately 1000 years ago, and has long been known as "Aizu's hidden hot spring". In the public stone outdoor bath, where the hot spring rises directly from the riverbed, you can heal your heart and body while listening to the soft murmuring of the clear stream, which has been unchanged for ages. There are more than 16 ryokan inns and pensions dispersed throughout the Tokusa Onsen region, and it is widely known as the "hamlet of the hidden hot spring". You can take a tip in the stone public bath 24 hours a day, but please be mindful that onsen use is not segregated by gender, nor is it shut off from public view! Not for the faint of heart.

The World Glassware Hall
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Isasumi Shrine

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