Kami-no-iwahashi Suspension Bridge
Kami-no-iwahashi, or the “Rock Bridge of the Gods,” was completed in 1926, making it the oldest suspension bridge in Akita Prefecture. Located just past Dakigaeri Shrine at the trailhead of the Dakigaeri Valley hiking trail, the 80-meter-long suspension bridge with striking vermillion balustrades was once part of a forest railway. Now, the bridge serves as the gateway to the lush valley.
The bridge gives a perfect bird’s-eye view of the Dakigaeri Valley. Natural primary forests cover the V-shaped valley and grow thickly across the hills along both sides of the trail, while the blue Tamagawa River wends its way through the valley from the Jindai Dam and Jindai Reservoir located upstream.
The bridge’s historical value and views combine to make Kami-no-iwahashi a popular landmark throughout the seasons.
Mikaeri-no-taki Waterfall, one of the area’s most famous scenic spots, is a 30-meter cascade over a cliffside of the Dakigaeri Valley. Located 30 minutes from the trailhead and just beyond a tunnel, the walking trail culminates at the falls. Upon seeing Mikaeri-no-taki Waterfall, you will understand the meaning of its Japanese name: “to turn around for another look.” Visitors heading back simply can’t resist turning their heads for one last glance at the sheet of falling water.
Some say they can see the graceful shape of a woman wearing a kimono in the water against the rocks, but visitors are encouraged to find their own interpretation.
Mikaeri-no-taki Waterfall also presents a different face each season, depending on the state of the surrounding foliage. Autumn is a particularly popular time to tour the Dakigaeri Valley and visit the falls, as the valley’s foliage is ablaze in reds, oranges, and yellows. In spring and summer, the waterfall is splendid against the backdrop of the green valley. During the winter the final portion of the path to the falls is closed due to snow.
The Allure of the Dakigaeri Valley
Approximately 10 kilometers of forest encompass the Dakigaeri Valley, stretching from Jindai Dam to Dakigaeri Shrine. The area boasts numerous waterfalls cascading into the sometimes turquoise, sometimes green Tamagawa River.
The river valley’s majestic scenery stretching downstream from the dam draws nature lovers from across Japan to revel in its seasonal transformations, from summer’s vivid green foliage to autumn’s rich show of color.
The steep banks of the valley account for its unusual name. In the past the trails were so narrow and steep that if two people met going in opposite directions, in order to pass, they would have to “dakigaeri,” meaning embrace and turn around.
Wending through part of the valley is a hiking course that leads through the valley’s forest, with spots here and there for viewing the Tamagawa River and several waterfalls. Mikaeri-no-taki Waterfall, with its thick veil of water plunging down the rockface framed by lush leafage, is one of the highlights of the valley.
The hiking trail through the valley is closed from late November until late April.
- Hirokunai, Kakunodate
- Contact Info
- Semboku City Tourism Information Center "Kakunodate Ekimae-Gura": 0187-54-2700
- Traffic access
- 7 minutes by taxi from JR Jindai Station
10 minutes by taxi from JR Kakunodate Station