A short, one-hour plane trip from Tokyo will bring you to the “Kuju Mountain Range” and the “Narukogawa Valley,” located in the Western Oita Prefecture. This accessible wilderness area contains active volcanoes, waterfalls, seasonal foliage variety and the magnificent “Kokonoe Yume Grand Suspension Bridge,” which spans the picturesque valley and is the best location from which to view the many wonders of this natural paradise.
Over 300,000 visitors a year are attracted to the area and cross this grand pedestrian suspension bridge, opened in 2006. “Kokonoe Yume” is the longest and highest pedestrian suspension bridge in Japan and appears to float over the valley and forest. The bridge is 777 meters high, and 390 meters long and visitors can enjoy a 20-minute scenic crossing. The bridge offers a singular view of the “Naruko-kawa” gorge and two massive waterfalls pouring from towering cliffs. At one end of the bridge one can visit “Shirahebi Gosanjo” (White Snake Shrine), one of several, and learn about the legend of the five snake gods who tried to reach the sky—only three made it, and the remaining two turned into a waterfall and became a tree.
The area has year round tourist appeal, gorgeous mountain views that are green and floral in spring, summer, and colorful in autumn and pristine in winter. There are many natural “Onsen,” hot springs, waterfalls, quaint farms and cafe for one to enjoy while strolling through natures paradise. In winter the area is a great ski location. Try this year round day trip, for a quick escape from crowded city life to an accessible, sparsely populated natural location of captivating beauty and serenity.
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