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Sumatakyo Gorge: Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge
Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge across the Sumatakyo Gorge is Japan's most beautiful suspension bridge and was named one of Trip Advisor's Top 10 Walking Suspension Bridges in the World to Cross Before You Die.
Reaching this suspension bridge requires a long drive on highways and poorly maintained mountain roads or a very long ride on several local trains and buses (although the local train trip is quite fun). Nevertheless, the suspension bridge attracts many tourists, and during the holiday season, visitors occasionally have to wait more than three hours to cross the bridge.
Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge lies in Kawane Honmachi in Shizuoka Prefecture. Kawane Honmachi is a beautiful mountainous area that belongs to the Most Beautiful Village in Japan association. Read below for three ways to enjoy a one-day visit to Kawane Honmachi focusing on Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge.
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Cross the Sunmatakyo Gorge on the Most Beautiful Suspension Bridge in Japan
Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge
The hike from the parking lot to Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge takes around 30 minutes. With no steep inclines, this area is perfect for a walk.
Walk a bit and pass through the tunnel in the middle of the course. Here the scenery opens up, giving a view of the deep emerald-green surface of the lake and the suspension bridge below.
The suspension bridge spans 90 meters. Surrounded by the lovely hues of the forest and lake, the sight of the suspension bridge stretching straight to the opposite shore is breathtaking.
The number of people allowed to cross the suspension bridge is limited to 10 at a time, and the spectacular view will go viral on social media. Expect heavy traffic on sunny holidays and during the fall foliage season. If you want to take photos in a more laid-back setting, we recommend that you visit early hours on weekdays.
Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge is one-way (subject to change due to construction). There is no turning back once you cross the suspension bridge, and you will have to climb 300 steep steps and cross another bridge called Hiryu-Bashi Bridge to return to Sumatakyo Onsen. Wear suitable walking shoes for the return trip, which will take about an hour.
*Due to Typhoon No. 15 on September 23, 2022, Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge still cannot be crossed as of October 5, 2022. You will have to limit yourself to looking at the suspension bridge and the beautiful water surface from the boardwalk.
Handmade store Sato
Near the start of the hiking trail leading to the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge, there is a well-established gift shop called Handmade Shop Sato that has been in business since 1962. The store's facade and interior have a very nostalgic feel to them. It is open from early in the morning, making it a convenient place to stop by when strolling along the suspension bridge.
Wasabi Soba, Sansai (wild veggies) Soba, and Sato's original Imo Mochi are other popular dishes. When requested, they are served hot off the fryer. Locally produced items like Yamame no Kanroni (sweetened cooked fish) and Yume no Tsuribashi Cider are also available.
There is a row of quaint hot spring inns near the Sumatakyo Onsen parking lot, used when traveling to the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge. Sumatakyo Onsen is known for its high-quality hot springs, which make your skin smooth and silky.
Each ryokan provides day-use hot springs and lunch options in addition to overnight stays. If you have time, go for a soak.
Take a trolley train for a superb view of an unexplored region
Let's head for another picturesque location after the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge: Okuōikojō Station on the Oigawa Railway. The Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge is accessible by car, but if you park at Senzu Station and board the charming trolley train, you can also take in the breathtaking view from the train windows.
Oigawa Railway, Senzu Station
It takes about 30 minutes by car from the Sumatakyo Onsen parking lot to Senzu Station on the Oigawa Railway.
Oigawa Railway has two lines: the Oigawa Main Line connecting Kanaya and Senzu stations and the Igawa Line connecting Senzu and Igawa stations. The Igawa Line, also known as the Southern Alps Abt Line, is well known for little, adorable cars using the Abt system to climb steep hills. The Oigawa Main Line is famous as the line on which the steam locomotive operates (the steam locomotive may be temporarily out of service for maintenance).
The distance from Senzu Station to Okuōikojō Station is not very far, but because the train moves slowly, it takes longer than an hour. Take a moment to unwind and take the scenery in while you travel by train.
An electric locomotive is connected to the back of the train to drive the carriages up the steep incline between Abt Ichishiro Station and Nagashima Dam Station. You can see the unique operation of coupling the electric locomotive to the train at the Abt Ichishiro Station.
Oigawa Railway, Okuōikojō Station
The railway will soon pass Lake Sessoko, a lake formed by the construction of the Nagashima Dam. Okuōikojō Station is in the middle of the bridge that crosses the lake.
When you get off the train, you are directly above the lake. Climbing the station's stairs will lead you to a cottage that serves as a place of rest and leisure. A limited-time cafe is also open on weekends.
Two red iron bridges, 195 and 286 meters long are on both sides of the station, and it is possible to walk through one of the bridges to reach the other side of the station. Climb the steep stairs and go around the lake to find an observation point where you can see the whole view of Oku Oi Lake Station.
From the observation deck, the view is breathtaking. This view is the real payoff for coming all the way here.
There are no stores or restaurants around Oku Oi Kouge Station, except for the station café, which is open for a short period. So if you want to have lunch, you must go to the next station at Precipice Hot Springs Station. It is about 2 kilometers away, or a 40-minute walk, so it is a good idea to hike directly from the observation station.
Although a quiet hot spring resort, Sessokyou Hotsprings is a favorite among locals because of the quality of the water. You can take a day trip to the hot spring baths and wash away the sweat of your hike in the hot spring.
You can also have a meal at Sessokyou Hotsprings Hall. In addition to regular dishes such as roast beef from Kakegawa and curry with beef tendon, cold noodles are also available in summer. Softserve ice cream using Kawane tea, a specialty of Kawane Honmachi, is also very well known.
Taste Japan's finest tea, Kawane-cha, on the terrace
After enjoying the two spectacular views of the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge and Oku Oi Lake Station, how about taking an elegant tea break on the terrace surrounded by tea fields? Of all the teas produced in Shizuoka Prefecture, known for its famous Japanese tea, Kawane-cha, made in Kawane-Honmachi, is considered the best quality high-grade tea in Japan and has received the highest evaluation at both domestic and international tea fairs.
Excluding the busy harvest season, some farms offer tours of their tea fields and tea you can drink in traditional homes, terraces, and other unique settings.
On this day, we visited Aitoen and Tsuchiya Farm. Both farms have won many awards and are leading tea growers in Kawane Honmachi.
At Aitoen, the owner, Mr. Aito, personally serves tea in a renovated, stylish old private house. The new riverbed terrace with a view of the Oigawa River flowing in front of you and the Oigawa Railway's steam locomotive ( ¥1,000 per person for the tea experience plan) offers even more ways to enjoy the tea experience.
Tsuchiya Farm is located in an area of Kawane Honmachi at a high altitude and is called the Tea Garden in the Sky. A terrace is up on a hill overlooking the tea fields, where visitors can enjoy tea while gazing at the mountains of the Southern Alps and listening to the sounds of deer (tea experience on the terrace costs ¥3,000 per person).
The attraction of a tea farm tour in Kawane Honmachi comes from the tea farmers themselves, who offer their pride and joy directly to visitors in the best way possible. This tour is for visitors who want to experience authentic Japanese tea culture while communicating with farmers and taking pictures of the spectacular location.
Getting to the Suspension Bridge from Nagoya
It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive from the Nagoya IC to the Shinada-Kanaya IC of the Shin-Tomei Expressway. After getting off the highway at the Shimada-Kanaya Interchange, it takes about one hour to get to the Senzu Station and then another 30 minutes on a narrow mountain road to the parking lot of the Sunmatakyo Onsen. After getting off the highway, there is no need to worry about getting lost as the road is straight but be careful when passing oncoming cars as the narrow mountain road from Senzu Station to the Sunmatakyo Onsen continues.
By public transportation, take the Tokaido Shinkansen Kodama from Nagoya Station to Kakegawa Station (about 1 hour), and from Kakegawa Station, transfer to the JR Tokaido Main Line to Kanaya Station (about 15 minutes). At Kanaya Station, transfer to Oigawa Railway's Oigawa Main Line to reach Senkashira Station (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes). From Senzu Station, take a bus to the Sunmatakyo Onsen Iriguchi bus stop (approx. 40 minutes).
As of October 5, National Route 473 from Kanaya, Shimada City, to Ieyama, Kawane Town, Shimada City, is closed to traffic due to Typhoon No. 15.
Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular photo spots in the Central Japan and Tokai areas. It is one of Japan's unexplored regions, and although it is difficult to reach, the spectacular views are well worth the time and effort. Be sure to visit along with a train trip on the Igawa Line of the Oigawa Railway and a tour of the tea farm terraces to enjoy Kawane tea.
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