Tojocho Taishakumido, Shobara, Hiroshima 729-5244.
|Classification:||Gorge Caves Used as Road Tunnels|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Taishaku Gorge, Tojocho Taishakumido, Shobara, Hiroshima 729-5244.
Taishaku Gorge Mahoroba-no-Sato Jiyūkan, Archaeological museum, 1909 Tojocho Taishakumido, Shobara, Hiroshima 729-5244, Tel: +81-8477-6-0161.
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帝釈峡 (Taishaku Gorge) is an 18 km long valley in the center of the Chugoku Mountains. It is part of the Hiba-Dogo-Taishaku Quasi-National Park and listed as a national place of scenic beauty. The area is partly limestone which is karstified and the gorge is riddled with caves and natural bridges.
When starting from the town Shobara, a single lane road leads up the gorge. There are various sights a long the way, like Hakuun Cave, Ohashi Natural Bridge, Demon Memorial Tower, and Oni Karamon. Hakuun-do is a show cave with electric light and the only cave in the gorge which is open to the public.
The 雄橋 (Ohashi or Onbashi Bridge) is the largest natural bridge in Japan with a length of 90 m, a width of 19 m and a height of 40 m. It is also called Kami-no Hashi (Bridge of God). As there is a road through the gorge which was actually connecting Miwa and Uyama, used once by normal traffic, and goeing through this natural bridge, this is one of the rare Caves Used as Road Tunnel.
The 鬼の供養塔 (Oni no kuyō-tō, Demon Memorial Tower) is a huge limestone pillar which is 10 m high and 2 m wide.
鬼の唐門 (Oni Karamon, Demon Gate) is another natural bridge or cave ruin. It is about 8 m high and if the water is low enough it is possible to walk through in the river bed.
Right beneath the gorge, on a hill overlooking the gorge, the 帝釈峡まほろばの里時悠館 (Taishaku Gorge Mahoroba-no-Sato Jiyūkan), the archaeological museum was erected. It contains the findings of excavations in the caves and shelters of the gorge. Many of those remains were excavated at (Yosekura Rock Shelter), which is located only 100 m from the parking lot on the left side of the gorge. It is freely accessible and there are explanatory signs. Many relics from the early to late Jomon period, the finings became the standard for Jomon pottery chronology in the Chugoku-Shikoku region. Also, some 50 human bones have been excavated.