The vista of a secluded area built from strangely-shaped rocks and cliffs
Geibikei is a gorge on the Satetsu River, a tributary of the Kitakami River flowing through Iwate Prefecture. Along the river, limestone cliffs soar more than 50m, many strangely-shaped rocks exist everywhere, a waterfall flows and even limestone grottoes can be seen which all create an unending magical landscape. This secluded area has been designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty and Natural Monument, and has been chosen as one of the 100 Landscapes of Japan. It has had a long history of being an absolutely unexplored region, not even recorded in the Fudoki (ancient geographical records) or in other pictorial records.
The beauty of the four seasons created from the flora
When it comes to Geibikei Gorge, there is the very serene river cruise on the gently flowing and shallow Satetsu River. You will want to savor the scenery while relaxing and listening to the boatman sing “Geibi Oiwake”, a minyo song. During the season of the cherry blossoms, it feels like Shangri-La here, and in the winter, an emotional scene resembling an India-ink painting spreads out. However, at Geibikei, which is beautiful all throughout the year, the loveliest time is from late May to early June when the wisteria blossoms are out. The tassels of violet wisteria blooming on the precipices along the clear stream are pictured in contrast with the fresh green leaves which make for an exceptional beauty.
A very attractive special plan for every season
On the Geibikei river cruises, instead of just sailing on the usual boats, you can enjoy special elaborate rides celebrating the seasons. On the Chaseki (tearoom) cruises limited to the seasons of the fresh leaves of spring and the foliage of autumn, you can enjoy the elegant tea ceremony while cruising down the river, and on the summer Yugure (twilight) cruises, you can savor Geibikei as it is painted in sunset tones from 5 pm. In addition, on the Kotatsu cruises which are in operation from December to February, boats are provided with Japanese kotatsu (low wooden tables) on which you can savor the tastes of Japan through warming fare like hot pot cuisine and rice dishes while fully enjoying the scenery of winter. There are also boats which can be chartered and even onboard weddings can be held so if you are interested, please don’t hesitate to check the website.