Doro-Hatcho Gorge 瀞八丁
Discover the splendid gorges of Doro-Hatcho
The Doro-Hatcho Gorge is a 1.2 kilometer portion of the Doro-Kyo Gorge, which is among the most beautiful and spectacular in Japan. They stretch for 31 kilometers along the Kumano and Kitayama rivers in Wakayama prefecture (Kansai).
An exceptional natural site
Doro-Kyo Gorge is located in the far east of Wakayama Prefecture and is part of Yoshino-Kumano National Park. The portion called " Doro-Hatcho Gorge " begins at Shingu town and ends at Totsukawa village. The site has even been classified by the Japanese government as a " special place of scenic beauty " and "natural monument", as part of the protection and enhancement of Japanese heritage. This place, sheltered from traditional tourist circuits, is a real hidden natural treasure, much appreciated by the Japanese for its calm.
These gorges, very recognizable, have impressive steep cliffs 40 to 50 meters high . Visitors can also admire megaliths and even caves . Between these wild cliffs, surmounted by dense forests, the deep emerald waters of the river create a bewitching contrast.
To read: The Yabakei Gorge
The Doro-Hatcho gorges can be admired during all seasons , its trees changing faces throughout the year. The gorges are thus very popular in the spring , especially in April to admire the flowering of the cherry trees , but also in the summer for a refreshing boat trip under the azalea flowers. In autumn , especially in November, the promenade is magnificent during kôyô , a period when the leaves of the Japanese maples turn red, accompanied by those of the oaks. In winter too, nature changes its face again and the walk is enchanting under the snow . Note that three onsen are located in the area, for those who wish to take a break.
To discover: Autumn in Japan
The gorges can of course be discovered alone, by canoe or kayak, but the most pleasant and simplest solution to admire this unique landscape is undoubtedly to take a boat trip . The boats are taken from the village of Shiko and go up the Kitayama River. You board a hydrojet, a boat with a water motor that can accommodate 50 people. The circuit allows you to immerse yourself in the heart of the landscape and discover the gorges from a unique point of view . In case of good weather, the roof of the boat opens to allow visitors to enjoy the view of the amazing rock formations.
Once the boat has arrived at the northernmost point of the gorges, it then takes a break of about fifteen minutes which allows you to disembark and enjoy the places, called “valley of the four seasons” . The boat then leaves in the opposite direction to bring the curious back to port. The excursion lasts 2 hours round trip for a price of 3,440 yen (about 26 €).
To read: Descent of the Hozu River
For those who wish to live a more original experience, it is possible to discover the gorges in an inflatable boat, but also to go rafting on a boat made of wooden logs ... The experience, unique in Japan, is of course safe and led by an experienced instructor, who navigates the long boat through the rapids. The departure is from Kitayama for a price ranging from 6,000 to 7,000 yen (45 to 53 €) depending on the season and is offered by Kumano travel . Original !
Address, timetable & access
TimetableJR Shingu Station (Kisei Line), Kumano Kotsu Bus to Hongo, Shiko Stop
PriceAdult: 3,440 yen (26€)Child: 1,720 yen (13€)
AccessAll year round, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.