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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Nature

Okuoi 奥大井

Roam through a rich natural preserve of virgin forests, lakes and onsen

The Okuoi region is outback territory that urbanization will never touch—a pristine prefectural national park guarded by mountains up to 2,000 meters high in the northern part of Shizuoka. The Oi River, which flows into Suruga Bay, runs through here. Lake Ikawa and Lake Hatanagi draw visitors, especially during the peak autumn season, and there are several onsen areas tucked into the valleys.

Ikawa Dam, which dams the upper section of the Oi River, and Nagashima Dam offer parks and walking trails galore. The Sesso Valley and its virgin forests run for about 13 kilometers along the river as it winds its way downstream through precipitous cliffs.

Don't Miss

  • Riding the steam locomotive from Kanaya Station to Senzu, entrance to the Okuoi area
  • The castle town of Kakegawa with its authentic Edo atmosphere
  • Hiking through Okuoi's gorges over the Sumata Valley suspension bridge

How to Get There

You can reach the Okuoi region by train, including the main leg on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen or Tokaido Main Line.

The JR Tokaido Shinkansen takes an hour to get to JR Shizuoka Station from Tokyo. From there, it's another 30 minutes to Kanaya Station by the JR Tokaido Line, and 1 hour and 10 minutes from Kanaya to Senzu Station via the Oigawa Line. By comparison, getting from JR Shin-Osaka Station to JR Shizuoka Station takes two hours by Shinkansen. You can use your Japan Rail Pass for the JR legs.

Quick Facts

Kakegawa was both a post station and castle town on the old Tokaido route

The Ikawa Line is Japan's only alternate biting tooth rail system

The Alps Sesso great suspension bridge is the start of a hiking course called “Love Romance Road”

Onsen bathing in lush surroundings

The valleys here boast some great onsen bathing, including Sesso-kyo Onsen between the Ikawa Dam and Nagashima Dam and Sumata-kyo Onsen in the Sumata Valley. Sumata-kyo's waters are famed for their beautifying properties.

Riding the rails through breathtaking scenery

You can enjoy Okuoi's beauty riding the Ikawa Line, which is the only alternate biting tooth rail system in the country. The line takes you through the mountains and across the Sekinosawa Bridge.

The Oigawa Railway—the only steam locomotive operating every day in Japan—allows you to relax and enjoy the view as it puffs through tea fields and other natural scenic delights. This train connects JR Kanaya Station and Senzu, a ride that takes about 70 minutes.

Hiking in Okuoi

Okuoi is a paradise for hiking.

The "Love Romance Road," despite its name, is more challenging than it sounds. While you start the hike at Sessokyo Onsen Station, the main hike begins at the Minami Alps Sesso Great Suspension Bridge, a great bridge 240 meters long and suspended 31 meters above the water's surface. It is the biggest of eight suspension bridges along this trail.

The trail mostly follows the Oi River going upstream, crossing eight bridges. You might want to stop at Wakagaeri-no-Yu, a spa where you can soak for a rejuvenation—it's name means fountain of youth. The trail ends in the village of Umeji, where you can catch a train (the last train departs at 4:30 p.m.) back to Senzu Station.

Castle town and post town, restored to Edo style

Kakegawa was both a post station on the old Tokaido route and a castle town surrounding Kakegawa Castle. The castle has been restored to how it looked during the Edo period (1603-1867), and you can take rickshaw rides around the castle area.

You can hike around Awagatake, a small mountain east of Kakegawa. In spring, the city's iris garden boasts more than a million irises in bloom.

A historic mansion and an art museum

The castle has more to offer in the form of the Ninomaru lord's mansion, which is designated an important cultural asset, and one of only four still standing.

The striking and atmospheric Ninomaru Museum of Art has exhibitions featuring the possessions of feudal lords as well as works from well-known Japanese painters such as Yokoyama Taikan.

Sports, hotels, restaurants and more in a single resort complex

If you want to move halfway back to civilization, Tsumagoi is a 170-hectare resort area that offers a golf course, tennis courts, music facilities, event halls, restaurants, hotels, and more. Enjoy various outdoor and indoor sports such as archery, horse-riding, motorsports, cycling, fishing, and swimming in an indoor pool and a water park.

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