The Kami-Taishaku area with highlights such as natural monuments and limestone caves
In the very popular area of Kami-Taishaku which is located within the gorge, there are many tourist spots. On-Bashi Bridge which is a national natural monument is Japan’s No. 1 natural bridge with a total length of 90m which was actually in use up until the Taisho Era in the early 20th century. The 40m-high lower section was formed over centuries through erosion. On-Bashi ranks alongside the Czech Republic’s Pravčice Sandstone Gate and the Natural Bridges Monument in the United States as one of the top 3 great natural bridges in the world. 300m below On-Bashi downstream is Dangyo-kei Valley which is said to have been formed about 300 million years ago, and has rapids so fierce that it is impossible for fish to swim upstream. The 200m-deep Hakuun-do limestone cave is representative of the countless number of such caves and has features such as stalactites to provide that mysterious atmosphere where nature has been perfectly preserved.
Lake Shinryuu, one of the Chugoku region’s predominant areas for autumn foliage
In the area surrounding Lake Shinryuu in Shimo-Taishaku, there are 3 bridges including the scarlet Shinryuu Bridge which has been designated as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property, and also a walking course which will take you around the lake. From the lake, you can view the high cliffs and fantastically-shaped rocks that soar from both shores via excursion boat or amphibious vessel. Also popular is Me-Bashi Bridge which can only be accessed through the kayaking tour. It is said that Taishaku-kyo Gorge as seen from Yatatasu Joushi Park where you can also view Lake Shinryuu below is a superb view.
The Shimo-Taishaku area with its secluded nature spots untouched by Man
Kami-Taishaku with its nature trails and the Lake Shinryuu area are contrasted by the rough nature of Shimo-Taishaku. Shimo-Taishaku Maboroshi Limestone Cave at a total length of 740m is confirmed to be Hiroshima Prefecture’s longest cave of its type. A tour requires prior reservations and a guide, but it is well worth it to view the unusual formations such as a calcite table of which only three can be seen in the world.