Iya Valley

Iya Valley is Japan's hidden secret, cut deep in an island of gorges, steep sided mountains and untamed rivers. Shikoku is a wild country where modernisation has only taken hold along the industrialised coast of the Inland Sea. This is not an easy place to travel but it is richly rewarding.

Iya Valley Map

“Driving through the winding roads of the Iya valley and standing on the edge of a deep gorge watching the river rush by, you can't help but feel like you've been let in on a well-kept secret.”

Katrina Cordery, Travel Consultant

On the western border of Tokushima Prefecture, the deep gorges that make up the Iya valley are known as one of Japan's "hidden regions" and offer some of Shikoku's best views, especially from the summit of Mount Tsurugi, the second highest peak on the island. It is a great place for hiking and cycling with a variety of routes already mapped out. 

The remote and rural area is famous for its kazurabashi (vine bridges) which were once the only way to cross the river.

The Iya Valley is also home to the Chiiori Project, once an uninhabited thatched roof farmhouse discovered by American writer and art collector Alex Kerr in the 1970's. Over two decades, with the help of many like minded friends, Kerr restored the farmhouse and the project received a great deal of attention both nationally and internationally. It also featured in his award winning book "Lost Japan". Nowadays Chiiori, or "House of the flute", is open to volunteers from all walks of life who wish to taste Japanese country living and keep the project alive.

Recommended Accommodation in Iya Valley

The following are our favourites from among the western-style hotels and Japanese-style inns of Iya Valley.

Experiences in Iya Valley

Iya Valley offers a wealth of exciting experiences that will help you get beneath the surface of Japan's fascinating culture. See below for a few of our favourites

Weather in Iya Valley

The Climate Guide for Iya Valley, Japan is perfect for planning your holiday. Monthly weather averages give the best indication of what the weather is usually like for every month of the year including figures for temperature, rainfall and sunshine.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max Daytime Temperature (°C) 6 7 10 16 20 22 26 27 24 19 14 9
Min Night-time Temperature (°C) -1 -1 2 7 12 16 20 21 17 11 6 1
Hours of Sunshine (Daily) 4 5 5 6 6 5 5 6 5 5 5 5
Hours of Daylight (Daily) 10 11 12 13 14 14 14 13 12 11 10 10
Heat and Humidity Discomfort None None None None None None Low Moderate None None None None
Days with some Rainfall 16 16 18 16 15 19 19 18 18 13 12 14
Monthly Rainfall (mm) 46 77 140 198 221 337 296 234 286 145 94 36
UV Index (Maximum) 3 4 6 8 10 11 11 10 9 6 4 3