Tanada (rice terraces) are rice fields that line the mountain slopes like steps in a staircase. The tanada found resting high and low in the mountains of the Matsuno-yama and Matsudai areas of Tokamachi City are some of the most impressive in all of Japan. Their appearance transitions with the seasons, producing vibrantly different expressions as the year progresses. In spring and autumn, each field shines like a mirror as it reflects the setting sun – and in the winter, a snowy blanket is cast across the landscape, creating a serene, white winterscape. Tokamachi’s rice terraces attract thousands of photographers and tourists throughout the year; they are truly a sight to be seen!
Visit the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces!
There are many rice terraces in Tokamachi City. If you only have time to see one, we recommend the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces. Go the extra mile and catch either the sunrise for the most spectacular scenery! Check the information below on how to access them.
|Access||The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces are a 20 minute drive from Matsudai Station, and a 40 minute drive from Tokamachi Station. These times may be longer in the winter.
[Car] If you have your own car, you can drive all the way to the Hoshitoge viewing point.
[Taxi] You can book a taxi for an hour period at Matsudai Station (accessed by the Hokuhoku Line from Tokamachi Station).
|Car Parking||There is car parking available at the Hoshitoge viewing point.|
|Address||1513 Touge, Tokamachi-shi, Niigata
|Winter Season||Due to heavy snowfall in the region, the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces will be inaccessible for a period in the winter. Please inquire before visiting regarding the road conditions to avoid disappointment.|
We kindly ask for your understanding and cooperation with the following:
1. Please do not leave any garbage behind.
2. Please be considerate of other drivers when you park your car; do not block the passage of other vehicles.
3. Please refrain from entering the rice fields when taking photographs. Also, please watch your step when walking on old footpaths as they may collapse.
4. Please refrain from picking any wild plants, cultivated vegetables, wild grass, or flowers.
5. Please be friendly to local residents. Feel free to say hello and ask for directions if you get lost.
Tokamachi’s beautiful nature belongs to us all. Thank you for observing these good manners.
The tall, slender beech trees of the Bijinbayashi Forest have been growing for about 100 years. They extend across the Matsuguchi hills in the Matsunoyama region of Tokamachi City. The local people gave it the name Bijinbayashi which means “forest of beauties” because the trees stand tall and gracefully like the silhouettes of beautiful women. The forest is a frame for millions of pictures, each unique in their own way. It is also protected as a habitat for numerous species of wild birds, and attracts photographers and visitors from all over Japan.
The tall, slender beech trees of the Bijinbayashi Forest have been growing for about 90 years now. They extend across the Matsuguchi hills in the Matsunoyama region of Tokamachi City. The local people gave it the name Bijinbayashi which means “forest of beauties” because the trees stand tall and gracefully like the silhouettes of beautiful women. The forest is a frame for millions of pictures, each unique in their own way. It is also protected as a habitat for numerous species of wild birds, and attracts photographers and visitors from all over Japan.
A Forest Which Presents Different Scenery in Each Season
New leaves budding in the lingering snow signal the coming of spring. In the summer,
a cool breeze blows through the fresh greenery, cooling the air in the forest to 2℃
lower than the surrounding area. Then, in the autumn, the leaves fall and the ground
of the forest becomes a carpet of red beneath a golden canopy. But it’s not long before these colours fade and Bijin-bayashi becomes a wintery world of white and silver.
|Address||1712-2 Matsuguchi, Matsunoyama, Tokamachi City, Niigata Prefecture, JAPAN|
|Access||[Public Transport] Take a train to Matsudai Station (まつだい駅), and then transfer to the bus heading toward Matsunoyama Onsen (松之山温泉). Get off the bus at the Sakaimatsu bus stop (堺松). Bijinbayashi is a 20 minute walk from here.
※ Please note that this bus service only runs 7 times a day.
[Car] Exit at either the Shiozawa Ishiuchi Interchange or the Echigo-Kawaguchi Interchange on the Kan-Etsu Expressway. It takes around 60 minutes by car from both of these exits. We recommend using the phone number for Kyororo in your car’s GPS to find the Bijinbayashi Forest (025-595-8311). Please look at the image below for more information.
|Parking||There are 30 spaces available. ※ During the winter, please feel free to use the free parking area at Kyororo.|
|Notice||There are public toilets in the Bijinbayashi Forest parking lot.|
Notice of temporary closure of Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel
Due to the heavy snow and the risk of avalanche, Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel is closed from Dec 22, 2020 and will be closed for the time being.
For the latest update, please check Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel Twitter.@kiyotsu_10machi
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Thank you very much for your understanding and cooperation.
Kiyotsu Gorge is known as one of Japan’s 3 Most Beautiful Gorges; it’s a definite must see when you come to Tokamachi! Its steep, rocky walls cut a V-shape through the mountains, while the river which flows between is so clear that you can see even the smallest rocks that line the riverbed. No matter what time of year, the rugged vertical columnar joints of the rock face combined with the clear blue river offer an unforgettable sight.
A Beautiful and Natural Showcase of the 4 Seasons
As winter draws to an end, the greenery scattered around the cliffs begin to bud producing an aura of revitalization. In the summer, the Kiyotsu River becomes the perfect place to play and cool down. Soon after, the gorge is overtaken by autumn colors, creating a crisp contrast with the river’s deep blue hue. Finally in the winter, the snow rests atop the rock face,
resulting in a tranquil and wondrous scene.
The Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel
In 2018 the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel was updated for the 7th
Echigo-Tsumari Art Trienniale by a group of Chinese
architects known as “Ma Yansong / MAD Architects.” It was
reborn as “Tunnel of Light” and reopened as part of the
Art Trienniale. The further you proceed through the
cavern-like entrance, you can see nature from a different
perspective, such as viewing the rocky surface of the
canyon up close, a path for light direction, and
an open space where distorted mirrors line the walls.
The most scenic spot of this tunnel is at the very back where
the panorama station waits. The walls in this area are made
of stainless steel and the floor is a clear pool of shallow
water that projects a perfect reflection of the gorge on its
surface.Just before the tunnel’s entrance is a building
containing a café on the first floor and a free foot spa on
the second floor, allowing visitors to feel refreshed.
※ A discount of 50 yen/person is available to groups of more than 20 people.
|Hours of Operation||8:30～17：00(Varies depending on season)|
*If you have GPS, you can search for our location using
the phone number 025-763-4800.*
The Kiyotsu Gorge is located on route 389 which can be
accessed from route 353 . If you are coming from
the Kanto Region, please take the Kan-Etsu Expressway
and exit at the Shiozawa Ishiuchi I.C. Then exit for route
17 before changing to route 353. The Kiyotsu Gorge is
roughly 12 kilometers from the Shiozawa Ishiuchi I.C..
Take the local bus from Echigo-Yuzawa Station (east exit)
toward Morimiya no Hara Station and get off at the Kiyo-
tsukyo Iriguchi bus stop. From there, it is about a 30
minute walk to the Kiyotsu Gorge.
※Please note this bus service runs only 4 times a day.
|Required time||Approximately 25 minutes.|
|Additional fee per item of large baggage||￥100|
|Bus Timetable||Click here|
|From Tokamachi Station||about ￥7,000|
|From Echigo-Yuzawa Station||about ￥6,000|
|From Echigo-Tazawa Station||about ￥4,000|