Region
Tohoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Morioka
Population
1,416,198

Genbikei Gorge

Discover the tradition of flying dango!

A delightfully scenic spot in the often-times skipped over prefecture of Iwate, Genbikei Gorge is where you can leisurely spend a couple hours with nature and some flying dango — the tradition of Japanese sweet sticky rice balls that arrive in style.

But before the dango comes a nice hike. Genbikei Gorge is located in southern Iwate in Ichinoseki, the second largest city in the prefecture. While getting to the best photo spot may require some careful jaunting on big rocks, there is a designated walking path suitable for visitors of all ages.

Photo by: かがみ~ The Genbikei Brdige: Take a panoramic shot of the gorge on these bridges.

The walking path begins near the parking lot and covers both sides of the 2-kilometer-long canyon, taking about 30 minutes to finish. You will be surrounded by trees along the way and cross a few bridges over the marble-blue Iwai River that flows through the gorge. The lego-looking rocks along the gorge vary in shape and size. Sometimes, they pile up on top of each other and create beautiful mini waterfalls.

Flying dango

At one of the most popular viewpoints of the gorge at the beginning of the path, you will see a rope and a basket hanging from it near a pavilion. The long rope is connected to a dango shop called Kakkoya located on the other side of the gorge.

The flying dango works like a paper cup phone, but instead of voice, you will have sweets delivered to you in a basket, through a rope. A little confusing to the untrained eye at first, but yes, the basket is where you can place your order for some chewy dango! Simply place ¥400 in the basket, hit the gong to let the shop know you’ve paid, and a staff will start pulling the rope to receive the basket.

Very shortly after, your order will fly to you in the same bucket. As thoughtful as Japanese hospitality is, you will also get green tea with your order of dango. The Japanese dessert comes in three different flavors: sesame, sweet soy sauce and red bean paste. You can also visit the shop itself and eat in—it is only a five-to-10 minute walk away.

Nearby…

Photo by: Yoshihide Urushihara Find world-class glass products here!

Get a feel of Venetian glassmaking at the Sahara Glass Park right next to Genbikei Gorge. Not only can you observe professional craftsmen blow glass in the studio, but also can you get your hands on trying to do the same thing.

At the park’s huge store, you will find more than 100,000 glassware from all over the world that are available for sale. While most glassware is tableware, you will also find small but elaborate accessories and home decorations. It is easy to get lost in the myriad of colors and elegance there.

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Things To Know

Hours

Sahara Glass Park is open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Genbikei Gorge can be accessed anytime, for free, except during winter, when the facility is closed.

Kakkoya

Address: Iwate Pref.  Ichinosekishi Gembichou Takinoue 211; Hours: 9 a.m. -4 p.m. or sold out. Open daily except in December through February. Tel: 0191292031

How To Get There

Address

Takinoue-289-3 Genbichō, Ichinoseki-shi, Iwate-ken 021-0101, Japan

By train

Ride the JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Ichinoseki Station. It takes around 130-150 minutes.

By bus

From the west exit of Ichinoseki station, hop on a 20-minute route bus to Genbikei.

By car

Get off at Ichinoseki Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway. Then, merge onto route 342 and continue driving for about five kilometers.

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Ichinoseki Inter
  • Akogi Azatsurumaki 33-1 Ichinoseki-Shi, Iwate 021-0041
  • 7.8/10
  • 5.0 km
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Chisun Inn Iwate Ichinoseki IC
  • Akoogi-aza Tsukimachi 188-2 Ichinoseki-Shi, Iwate 021-0041
  • 8/10
  • 5.0 km
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Shizukatei
  • Aza Nagakura 10-5 Nishiiwai-Gun Hiraizumi-Cho, Iwate 029-4102
  • 8.2/10
  • 5.3 km
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Bellino Hotel Ichinoseki
  • Yamanome Santanda 179 Ichinoseki-Shi, Iwate 021-0051
  • 8.1/10
  • 6.3 km
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