Tachikue Gorge is located on the Kando River about 8km south of Izumo City in Shimane Prefecture. It is a National Scenic Spot because of the dramatic cliffs and rock formations sculpted by erosion. There are two pedestrian suspension bridges across the river and several kilometers of footpath.
Before the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the gorge was a retreat for Yamabushi, the "mountain-warriors" of Shugendo, but all that remains now is Reiko-Ji temple with its pair of huge straw sandals (waraji).
The highlight of the gorge are the 1,500 Buddhist statues, many with vermillion caps and bibs, that can be found clustered around the bases of huge cedars, along the foot of the cliff, in small caves in the cliff wall, and in almost every nook and cranny.
There is a recreation area with barbecues, a campsite, and cabins for rent.
There is a Youth Hostel in the gorge, but since storm damage in 2006 it is currently closed. (Tel: 0853-45-0102).
There is a hot spring with rotenburo (outdoor bath) that is open daily from 07:00 to 22:00. The onsen also has accommodation.
Tachikue Gorge is 30 minutes by bus from JR Izumo Station.
© Jake Davies & Japan Visitor.com
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Monday, January 12, 2009