Kiyotsu Gorge which is the three-great gorge in Japan, despite being unexplored region, why men and women of all ages can visit there easily?
Kiyotsu Gorge is a great gorge of about 13 km in length, formed by Kiyotsu River which is a tributary of Shinano River in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture. It is located in Joshinetsu-kogen National Park, and together with Kurobe Gorge (Toyama prefecture) and Osugi Canyon (Mie prefecture), Kiyotsu Gorge, it is one of the three great gorges in Japan. It is also designated as a scenic spot and a natural monument of Japan. Kiyotsu Gorge has the magnificent beauty of gorge, huge quay walls beside Kiyotsu River formed V-shaped gorge, and its rock surface of columnar joints are beautifully cracked. Also, it is also scientifically invaluable.
At the entrance to the Kiyotsu Gorge, there is spa town called Kiyotsu Gorge Onsen Resort. It quietly stands in the mountain and you can feel atmosphere of a land of mystery in the air. You can enjoy the seasonal view such as greenery in spring, clear stream in summer, red leaves in autumn and snow in winter, but especially the season for red leaves in autumn is very popular.
“Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel” which total length of 750m (1500m for a round-trip) for walker is developed in the gorge. The entrance of the tunnel shaped like “columnar joints” which is the characteristic of Kiyotsu Gorge. The inside of the tunnel is barrier-free and you can use a wheel chair and a stroller. You can watch the beauty of gorge from 3 observation spots on the way and a panorama station at the end of the tunnel. In the past, enjoying view from a promenade along Kiyotsu River from Kiyotsu Gorge Onsen to Yagisawa was common, however, it was closed by a rockslide accident. In 1996, the construction of Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel was completed in a total construction cost of 2 billion yen. The promenade along the river is still closed, but a mountain trail is arranged for experts of climbing mountains.
The inside of the rocky mountain is dug along Kiyotsu River into the tunnel, and some caves (observation spot) are set and you can enjoy beauty of Kiyotsu Gorge from those observation spots. The washroom located at the 2nd observation spot has one-way mirror and you can also enjoy the scenery of gorge from inside of the washroom.
At the panorama station in the end of the tunnel, the floor is covered with thin water and you can see the reflection of Kiyotsu Gorge in the water. Also, all ceilings and side walls are covered with stainless plates, the flow of the river reflect on it and it seems like you are just straying into a mysterious space.
By the way, the water covers floor in the panorama station is the water from gorge, and you can take off your shoes and go into the water.
The biggest highlight of Kiyotsu Gorge is “Great beauty of V-shaped sheer quay walls beside Kiyotsu River” viewing from the panorama station. The rock surface which is shaped like hexagonal pencils bundled, is called “columnar joint” that made by magma. When magma got cold, it turned into hard, shrunk and become columnar joint. Those rocky cliffs and emerald green color cold stream of Kiyotsu River give great impression to visitors.
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