By Cathy Cawood
Shosenkyo Gorge is famous for autumn scenery. I went there in November 2018 and I was not disappointed. The trail is much shorter than at Nishizawa Valley and flat, so it is very easy walking, suitable for all ages and states of fitness. It was a beautiful clear sunny day and the scenery was magnificent.
A paved road of about 6 km runs beside the Arakawa River between Nagatoro Bridge at the lower end and Shosenkyo Village at the upper end. You could easily extend that by visiting Lake Nosen and Arakawa Dam as well. Most of the road is open to one-way car traffic on weekdays, but there was very little traffic the day was there. On weekends between May and November, the road can only be used by walkers and horse-drawn carts!
As we were driving, we started in the middle of the trail, where there is a carpark on the Shosenkyo Green Line Road, but it would’ve been more efficient to start from Nagatoro Bridge at the entrance to the gorge and walk up to the village.
Points of interest
There are several points of interest along the way. There are a number of bridges, including one known as The Bridge of Love. Rakanji Temple is small, but is home to 500 wooden Lu Han statues that are designated important cultural properties. We passed various rocks said to resemble a camel, a tengu and a turtle among other things. The bare, rocky peak of Kakuenpo was an inspiring site. We passed through a rocky gate known as Ishi-mon, and saw a rainbow in the spray of the beautiful 30-meter waterfall named Sengataki.
The village and ropeway
The village is a very interesting place with quite a lot of shops and restaurants and an impressive gemstone museum. There is a shrine with a big stone torii too. Taking the rope-way will give you incredible views of the surrounding scenery, the river gorge, and Mount Fuji.
Take a bus from Kofu Station to Shosenkyo Guchi bust stop which is near Nagatoro Bridge at the gorge entrance (¥590), to Green Line Shosenkyo bus stop which is roughly the middle of the trail (¥820), or to Shosenkyo Taki Ue in the village (¥900)
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I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for one year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for nine years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page has some 40,000 followers. I have been the Regional Partner for Yamanashi Prefecture since 2014. I am enjoying exploring the prefectures around Tokyo (I like to get off the beaten track), and I hope the photos and stories I share will encourage more people to discover this wonderful country.