Yamanaka's Four Seasons
Kakusenkei Gorge
Yamanaka Onsen District
Area Around the Yamanaka Onsen District
Kakusenkei Gorge
Kakusenkei Gorge, the must-see attraction in Yamanaka Onsen, was once said to have inspired the poet Matsuo Basho to write the poem, "Here / the joy of a good / outdoor walk". The path running parallel to the river stretches for 1.3 km from Kohrogi Bridge to Ayatori Bridge to Kurotani Bridge. Enjoy a leisurely stroll while appreciating the beauty of the waterfalls and the unique rock formations accentuating the deep blue pools of water.
Places to See in Kakusenkei Gorge
Ayatori Bridge
The name of this bridge comes from a traditional Japanese game called "Ayatori" (Cat's Cradle). Designed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, a Japanese film maker and son of the founder of the Sogetsu school of Ikebana, it measures 80 meters in length and its "S" shape mimics the form of a dragon rising into the sky. At night, the bridge is lit up, offering a different yet equally impressive view of the gorge that visitors come back every year to see.
Kurotani Bridge
In the past, this imposing, arched, stone bridge, reminiscent of Taisho Era architecture, served as the gateway into the Yamanaka area.
Sakura Park
Located around the center of Kakusenkei Gorge and around Ayatori Bridge, this is a park famous for its cherry blossoms. Tourists and local residents alike come here to relax and enjoy the picturesque scenery.
Kakusenkei Kawadoko
Close to Ayatori Bridge, this is a popular spot next to the river where you can see with your own eyes the clearness of the river water and the rich colors of the plant life lining the gorge. It is open from April to October and features Japanese sweets created by the Yamanaka-born Japanese Iron Chef, Rokusaburo Michiba.
Basho-do Hut
This hut commemorates the renowned Japanese poet Matsuo Basho for composing the haiku: "Who needs the dew of youth from the chrysanthemum when / You have the restoring waters of / Yamanaka?" He composed this about 320 years ago when he was passing through Yamanaka Onsen on his journey to the deep north. This hut, located close to Kurotani Bridge, contains a small statue of Basho inside.
Winter in Kakusenkei Gorge
From November to February, Yamanaka Onsen becomes quietly covered in a heavy blanket of snow. Kakusenkei Gorge turns into a pristine white while the town becomes enveloped by steam rising from the hot springs. The winter silence swallows even the sound of the flowing river, adding to the mysterious atmosphere of this fantasy-like winter wonderland.
Kohrogi Bridge
The view from this elegant cypress bridge changes dramatically with the passing of the seasons. This is a must-see spot for visitors to Yamanaka Onsen.