“Hetsuri” is a word from the local Aizu dialect meaning a “dangerous cliff”. The towering rock formations, created by a million years of erosion and weathering, are staggering. “To-no-Hetsuri” is the best scenic location in the Okawa Hatori Prefectural Park along the Okawa River and designated a national natural monument.
The uniquely-formed rocks have nicknames including Folding Screen Rock, Elephant Tower Rock and Lion Tower Rock. Views of the cliffs are particularly graceful when the Japanese wisterias are in bloom during summer. Autumnal foliage also creates a beautiful contrast with the white rock faces. While contemplating nature’s million years of creation, the scenery is truly dazzling.
Visitors can observe the dynamic vistas close up by crossing the nearby suspension bridge. At the foot of the cliff there is a small shrine worshipping the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. From the neighbouring observatory visitors can enjoy the panoramic view across To-no-Hetsuri and the suspension bridge.
Restaurants and souvenir shops are available for refreshments and local shopping opportunities.
The gorge is accessible by car and train and is a five-minute walk from To-no-Hetsuri station on the Aizu Railway line. The small railway station is unstaffed but filled with rustic charm and a warm atmosphere!
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