Shosenkyo Gorge

Shosenkyo by sarah straus Shosenkyo Gorge runs through forested slopes and dramatic rock formations. It is one of the most scenic river valleys in Japan. You can walk along the gorge, on a narrow road that is closed to traffic on Saturdays and Sundays from May 1 to November 30.  Enter this scenic walk from the parking lot located at gps coordinates: 35.72617,138.54987. The paved road is shady and runs at a slight incline along the river.  There are bathrooms about two kilometers in and three pedestrian bridges over the river.  At about four kilometers there are bathrooms again, a great little open air restaurant where you can enjoy the view of waterfalls while you have a snack, and three picnic tables just off the road.  shosenkyo gorge sarah strausFrom the picnic tables climb over the rocks to get a close up view of the falls.  There is a horse drawn carriage ride back to the parking lot that starts here during the weekend every hour from 10am until 5pm.  But don’t stop here!  Continue up the path along the river for the most dramatic rock formations and largest waterfalls, including one huge fall at the top.  This section of the river reminds me of Yosemite!  Climb the long stairway to the top of the largest waterfall and find more places to eat or get ice cream.  Go through the few businesses there and you’ll find yourself in a little town.  From this town there is a ropeway up another portion of the mountain.  I believe that there is parking available in this town if you wanted to do a shorter version of this adventure – parking closer to the largest waterfalls.  The entire path is stroller friendly until the stairs at the end.  Carriage rides cost ¥1500 for adults, ¥500 for children.  Bring you camera!  If you are coming in the fall, see the Yaminashi Grapes entry.  The signs directing visitors to the gorge are all in English.
Shosenkyo gorge sarah strausDIRECTIONS: Exit from Fussa Gate and turn left on Route 16 South to Hachioji. At Hachioji, get on the Chuo Expressway.(Do not take the the Hachioji Bypass.) Once on the expressway two signs will appear; one for Shinjuku and the other for Nagoya. Take the road to Nagoya. Stay on the Chuo until Otsuki. (Toll: ¥1300.) Take the Otsuki exit and that will lead to Highway 20. Turn right and stay on Highway 20. The Yaminashi grapes will be straight ahead; no turns, no confusion.  To get to the gorge, continue along Highway 20 as it passes through the outskirts of Kofu. Soon you’ll see signs for “Shosenkyo.” There are several. All will take you to the right, passing under the Chuo Expressway, to a winding road called Shosenkyo Line. It’ll take you right to the gorge parking lot. Fee: ¥1000. GPS for Shosenkyo Gorge parking:  35.72617,138.54987.
Shosenkyo gorge by Joel straus-001DIRECTIONS UPDATE: When I went to see the gorge, I followed the directions above which are really meant to take you by the Yaminashi Grapes first.  If you are not going to see the grapes, then I suggest you stay on the Chuo much further, getting off in the large city of Kofu.  We followed the directions above to get there (they worked great, just long) and followed the Chuo tollway route suggested by our GPS to get home.  Taking the Chuo most of the way instead of following Highway 20 took approximately 30 minutes off our total drive time, but cost us an extra ¥1100 in tolls.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to get to the Shosenkyo – and it was worth it.  I’d do it again! – Sarah Straus, May 2013. Photos by Sarah Straus and Linda Bell.

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4 Responses to Shosenkyo Gorge

  1. We traveled here earlier this month (May 2013) and throughly enjoyed our visit. We were able to push the stroller the entire “hike” which was convenient for my 2 and 4 year olds – although they spent most of their time running up and down the trails and over the three pedestrian bridges. The path was mainly shaded which will be nice as the weather gets hotter. Bring bug spray as the gnats became somewhat of a nuisance.

  2. Went there yesterday and it was great. However, Apple maps had me routed through Futaba rest stop on the way there which would only let you exit if you had an ETC card. Google maps did the same on the return trip. This bit of confusion added a little over an hour (each way) and about $15 to the trip. I had to use the Chuo exit before Futaba in both cases.

  3. Amanda Martin

    Take exit 15 off the Chuo, then follow the signs. 20 to 25 to 7. Toll each was is 2480 yen. With little kids (1 and 4) I wish we had heeded the advice of the parking attendants and drove up to the upper lot, the walk was lovely but the kids wanted to walk all of it making for hours and hours of hiking. By the time we got up to the waterfall we didn’t have as much energy to explore.

  4. The quickest way to Shosenkyo gorge, from Yokota Air Base, is to take the Chuo Expressway to Futaba Smart Exit. This way you bypass, busy, Kofu City.

    We hiked down this gorge over Veteran’s weekend and the fall colors were amazing. If you’d like to make the Shosekyo gorge walk easier, I suggest parking at this parking spot, with the GPS coordinates, N35.75349 E138.56546, and taking a bus back to your car.

    If you want to avoid A LOT of pedestrians on the Shosenkyo Gorge, en route to this parking spot, you might like to drive via this way point N35.71400 E138.55300. It is a little longer, but more likely to be quicker than dealing with the potentially crowded gorge, not to mention less rude.

    From the parking lot, we walked uphill to cross the bridge and then down the other side to where the Shosenkyo Ropeway/Cablecar was.

    At the end of the hike, turn left at the T junction and you’ll see a bus station – Tenjinmori. The bus departs for the aforementioned parking lot, daily, at 9:40, 10:15, 10:55, 11:30, 12:15, 13:50, 15:15 and 16:50, and it should be the second stop en route. The bus does not run between December 1 and March 31.

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