Navigate the remote secluded valley of Iya
Tucked away the remote, mountainous area of rural Shikoku Island in western Tokushima Prefecture, the Iya Valley is one of Japan’s Three Hidden Valleys that is perfect for some off-the-beaten track outdoor activities. Due to its remoteness, the valley now becomes an increasingly popular tourist destination, known for its dramatic natural environment, thatched roof farmhouses, and a few vestiges of old world Japan. The most famous attraction of Iya is the historic vine bridges constructed of mountain vines and traditionally served as one of the main ways to cross the Iya River. In the past, 13 suspension bridges once spanned the valley, but only three survive today which are the largest Iya Kazurabashi and the twin Oku-Iya Kazurabashi. Though they are reinforced with hidden steel cables for safety, crossing the vine bridges is still an adrenaline-pumping experience. Another place to visit is the Manikin Peeing Boy Statue, located at the edge of a high cliff overlooking the steep surrounding mountains and the turquoise Iya river. If you want to experience Japan’s traditional, rural culture, spend time at Ochiai Village, where you see many historical farm houses dating back to the mid-Edo era as well as witness the rural lifestyle and traditions of the welcoming locals.