the most tranquil view of all - Iya Onsen, Japan

Monday, September 01, 2014

sit, look, think, drink, write
verses we make together
honeymoon happy :)

View from our room - Iya Onsen, Japan
the view from our room - Iya Onsen, Japan

While in Japan earlier this year, hubby and I made a beeline for Shikoku - the smallest of the four main islands of Japan, and in my opinion the most tranquil, natural, traditional and beautiful.

Every time we visit Japan Shikoku is always on our itinerary, and every visit I seem to fall head over heels for this little spot in the world all over again. The pace of life in Shikoku is slower, and there are definitely far less tourists. It's the one place in Japan where the locals really don't know any English at all, and it's up to me to use my limited Japanese to communicate. But oh, the reward.

This visit (on our belated honeymoon) we decided to splash out and stay at the famous Iya Onsen, nestled deep in the dramatic Iya Valley 祖谷渓. The view from our room was just amazing - with floor to ceiling windows that opened right out onto Iya Valley itself...

Iya Valley - Shikoku, Japan
the view from our room - Iya Valley - Shikoku, Japan

... and we spent several relaxing, romantic days here, sunning ourselves in the light and writing haiku poems while looking out over the vivid green, misty hills.

steep emerald hills rise
to meet a misty sky, pop!
honeymoon nector

Iya Onsen - amazing views - Japan

What better way to enjoy a view so stunning than with chocolate covered crisps? (I heart Japan and it's imaginative junk food.)

Chocolate covered crisps - Japan

As well as the breathtaking views of the valley, the best part about staying at Iya Onsen was of course the onsen themselves (Japanese hot springs) - situated at the bottom of Iya Gorge.

Yukata - Iya Onsen, Shikoku Japan
 our 'his and hers' yukata for wearing to and from the onsen

To get to the onsen we took a cable car (attached to the hotel) on a five minute, 170 metre decent to the bottom of the valley, and were spoilt with even more panoramic views of the valley - and the odd monkey spotting!

Many of the green trees you see here are Japanese Maples - so in Autumn the whole valley is awash in red.

Waiting for the cable car - Iya Onsen, Japan
waiting for the cable car

Looking down into Iya Valley from the cable car as we descended
looking down into Iya Valley from the cable car as we descended

The open-air baths (one for men and one for women as there's a 'no clothing policy' in Japanese onsens) sit alongside the Iya River, flowing with natural hot spring water. The perfect way to relax.

Iya Onsen - Shikoku, Japan
Iya Onsen

In the evenings we enjoyed our meals with the same breathtaking view of the valley...

dinner with a view - Iya Onsen
dinner with a view - Iya Onsen

Dinner with a view - Iya Onsen Japan
dessert - jelly spaghetti served with molasses sugar to taste

...and then settled back to take in the night-time views from our room.

Iya Valley early evening - Japan
Iya Valley early evening

And in the mornings we awoke to our beautiful room and, well did it all again - tea, breakfast, onsen, sleep, poetry, view, wine, food, onsen, wine...

View from Iya Onsen, Shikoku Japan

at the crack of dawn
onsen, breakfast, back to bed
way to start the day

Breakfast - Iya Onsen Japan
Japanese breakfast

We weren't the only ones enjoying the view. Just a short stroll from Iya Onsen is the statue of a boy standing on the edge of a cliff posed as if he is peeing off the ledge into the valley below. According to local folklore passing travellers used to climb out to pee off the same rock as a testament to their bravery. Needless to say hubby wasn't given the option!

Peeing boy statue - Iya Valley, Shikoku Japan

Thanks to Emma and friends for this fine 'room with a view' travel blog link up.

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30 comments

  1. Those views are amazing! Like our own tree house!

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    1. A fabulous tree-house in the mountains. Best holiday ever!

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  2. Wow I would love to stay there in the fall. It is already stunning and with the fall colors may be even more stunning.

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    1. Me too, and in winter when it snows I think the view would be incredible....

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  3. This looks so incredible. It's almost like staying in a tree house overlooking everything.

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    1. My favourite view ever :) It was like a dream

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  4. Oh my goodness, this looks incredible! You look so relaxed and who wouldn't be; I can see why you return to that little spot on every visit x

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    1. Thanks Kelly. We were on holiday, so I left my sad London face in the UK ;) Shikoku is just gorgeous.

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  5. Wow - what amazing views! I can see why you go back again and again :). It looks like one of those places that would be stunning whatever the weather or season. Hope you really enjoyed your belated honeymoon!

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    1. Thanks Molly. It was wonderful :) Can't wait for our next trip back to Japan already!

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  6. Oh my gosh this does look like the most peaceful view ever! And because of the way the balcony is set it looks like you're just alone. It must be amazing!

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    1. It was pretty quiet actually. Iya onsen only has half a dozen rooms so it's a very quiet tranquil spot. Very romantic.

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  7. I can feel the peace, just through your photos alone, wonderful!

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  8. What a beautiful spot. Japan is truely underrated.

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    1. Best country for travelling in the world!

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  9. Huh - and you said I won!! Not at all by the looks of it. This is simply breathtaking. It always amazes me that places like this exist!

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    1. Thanks Holly :) It was just super relaxing and beautiful. I thoroughly recommend visiting Shikoku if you ever get the chance.

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  10. I'm sold. Japan just keeps climbing up the travel list. Looks so peaceful and lovely!

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    1. Yay! Let me know if you need any Japan tips.

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  11. Wow - that looks like an incredible place to stay - stunning, I know so little about Japan as a tourist destination

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    1. Well let me know if you ever want some recommendations... happy to share my favourite spots with you :)

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  12. I love love love Japan, but have yet to go back and try an onsen.

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    1. Oh, onsens are a very cool experience. I recommend visiting in winter if you're after the perfect onsen experience. I visited some amazing outdoor onsens several years ago during ski season. So relaxing being surrounded by snow!

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  13. WOW! This place looks incredible. I can't believe that was the view from your hotel room! It all seems so magical and serene. I bet it's even more breathtaking in the fall when the leaves turn red! Now you have an excuse to go back ;)

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    1. Yes indeed!! I definitely hope that I'll go back again one day :)

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  14. This looks so lush and green - what an incredible view and it all sounds so romantic writing haikus, eating great food and looking out over that every day! Amazing!

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    1. It was amazing... such a beautiful spot in the world.

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  15. I've always wanted to go to Japan. This looks just amazing, such beautiful photographs. My only doubt would be jelly spaghetti pudding - WHAAT?!

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    1. Thanks Rachel. And yes, the jelly was strange, but really fun to make. Not my favourite thing on the menu for taste though.

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