Two great valleys of Ichinoseki, "Genbikei Gulch" and "Geibikei Gulch", spreading their beauty like paintings
In Ichinoseki city located in the southern part of Iwate prefecture, there are two stunning spots, "Genbikei Gulch" and "Geibikei Gulch", each of which you can enjoy a unique valley beauty. Although the names are similar, sceneries and and the way to enjoy them are completely different, so it is recommended to visit both. "Genbikei Gulch" which you can enjoy walking around the landscape with large and small strange rocks and torrents, and "Geibikei Gulch" which you can go in a boat down the calm river surface surrounded by cliffs. The distance between the two spots is about 40 minutes by car and you can incorporated them into a drive course together with a World Heritage, Hiraizumi, adjacent to those two spots.
"Genbikei Gulch", where you can enjoy varied valley beauty and flying Dango
"Genbikei Gulch", where the valley continues for approximately 2 kilometers and is designated as a scenic and natural monument of the country. The rocks deposited by the eruption of Mt. Kurikoma have been scaled down by the water current for over tens of thousands of years, and the natural art like today was completed. It is said that the warring lord, Date Masamune, who was said to have become a model of Darth Vader's armor, praised its beauty and often visited there.
Since Mt. Kurikoma is the source of water and hot springs spring are nearby, the color of the river is beautiful emerald green. The water current flows down like a waterfall splashing splendidly between huge stones of up to 10 to 20 meters in height upstream and changes to a gentle flow as it gets to downstream.
Seasonal landscapes are also very interesting. In the season of cherry blossoms from the middle to the end of April, about 200 cherry blossom trees are lined in pale pink for approximately 2 kilometers along the left bank of the Iwai River. The autumn leaves are at their best in late October to early November. The contrast of the color of the emerald green water current and trees being turned into red and yellow is beautiful, which can be seen from the boardwalk and observatory.
If you visit "Genbikei Gulch", let's challenge the specialty "Kakko Dango" known as "flying Dango". There is a dumpling shop on the opposite side of the mountain stream, and if you put money in the basket and hit the board with the wooden hammer, the basket travels through the cable to the shop located on the opposite side, and dumplings in the basket with tea will be delivered after a while. Please note that it will end as soon as being sold out.
"Geibikei Gulch", where you can go downstream in a boat around a spectacular view like a landscape painting
"Geibikei Gulch", which is counted as one of the 100 Japanese scenery, is a valley formed by erosion of limestone by the flow of the river. A cliff of 100 meters high continues for approximately 2 kilometers, and going downstream in a boat is popular.
The tour of going downstream in a boat takes 1 hour 30 minutes. A boatman manipulates skillfully manipulate a 5 meter pole, which makes a boat advance. You can enjoy various kinds of rocks, such as the one reflecting water like mirror, and the one located across a river like a married couple, and so on, during the trip along the clear stream which fish swim under the river.
When you arrive at the return point, how about luck trying? If you buy "lucky balls" (5 pieces for 100 yen), which are engraved with letters "Happiness (Fuku)" "Fate (En)" "Long life (Kotobuki)" "Love (Ai)" "Wish (Gan)" "Luck (Un)" "Love (Koi)" "Bond (Kizuna)" "Stipend (Roku) " "Fortune (Zai)", and throw them into a small empty hole on the rock surface, it is said that your wishes may come true.
As the climax of the trip is getting closer, the boatman will sing a boat song in front of an audience. The singing voice echoes on the rock surface, which touches the heart of a traveler even further.
You can not miss out the beautiful landscape that changes in the four seasons. In the fresh green season around the end of May every year, wisteria flowers that are entangled with rocks on the course are blooming and a whole rock is dyed vibrant purple.
Also, from December 1 to February, when the area is covered with snowy scenery, a winter version of "Kotatsu boats" are operated. With a covered boat, you can enjoy the scenery like a monochrome ink painting, warming your feet with Kotatsu.