Geibikei Gorge in Autumn

You are bound to fall in love with Japan in Autumn — if you haven’t already; well, I guess you haven’t yet paid a visit to Geibikei Gorge!

Geibikei Gorge located in Ichinoseki, Iwate prefecture. It has been named as one of the ‘100 landscapes’ of Japan, owing to its beautiful scenery. The crystal clear waters of the Satetsu River run through the gorge framed by 50m high limestone cliffs. The name Geibikei (猊鼻渓) means ‘lion’s nose’ as the rock formations protruding from the limestone cliff at the very end of the gorge resembles the shape of lion’s nose.  Geibikei Gorge is easily accessed by just a 15 minute walk from JR Geibikei Station.

When you arrive at Geibikei Station you will see small shrine, Kumano Shrine, right in front of the station building. It has a small row of cute red lanterns (灯籠; tōrō).

Geibikei Gorge is a Moslem-friendly tourism spot. The area is equipped with a praying space and halal food is served on the boat (minimum 15 orders, reserved 2 weeks before the visiting date). They have a boat trip (90 minutes for a round trip) where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the surrounding gorge. The return trip will cost you 1,600 yen and an additional 100 yen for a handful of pellets to feed the fish and birds.

The boat trips are scheduled around once every hour and can accommodate about 45 people. You will need to take off your shoes before sitting on the boat. After a calming boat ride to the end of the river, passengers will get out and take a short walk to the end of the cliff-face. Here you will find a small hole in the middle of the cliff-face and a small stand on the shore selling ‘undama’ (fortune stones) engraved with various auspicious characters like ‘love’, ‘wealth’, ‘health’, ‘wisdom’ etc. You can purchase 5 stones for 200 yen and attempt to throw them across the water and into the hole on the opposite side of the cliff. If you make one in, it is said that your wish will be granted! My friend tried it for fun, but failed in every attempt! I still hope the Gods will grant his wish, anyway!

Don’t forget to take commemorative picture at the end of the boat trip

(Photo credit: Mirzadelya Devanastya)


If you understand Japanese (or even if you don’t!), you will enjoy the funny stories of the boatman along the trip. I don’t speak Japanese but I still really enjoy it, especially the haunting folk song he sang for us on the way back to the river-port.

The boatman

(Photo credit: Mirzadelya Devanastya)

Geibikei Gorge offers magnificent views all year round. Enjoy beautiful Wisteria in mid-May, pretty Autumn foliage in early-November, and a majestic white winter that gives you a taste of Narnia in January. The boat trips are operated everyday, except in bad weather.

1,600 JPY for boat trip and 100 JPY for fish pellets

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Article written by Annisa Noorhidayati (Indonesia)



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