Totsukawa, the largest village in Japan with a population of about 3200, truly is a hidden gem of Japan. Due to its geographical isolation from major cities, it has been able to establish and maintain it`s traditional original culture and way of life. Here is the information about Totsukawa and some suggestions for ways to enjoy this lovely village.
To get to Totsukawa, you can either drive or take a bus. It takes about 2.5 hours from Osaka and 2 hours from Nara by car and 3.5 hours by bus from Yamato-Yagi station, (the line is the longest local bus line in Japan, between Yamato-Yagi station to Shingu station). The view from the window on the way to Totsukawa is breathtaking and we are sure the place itself will exceed your expectations.
Totsukawa has so many different things to offer; from walking the Tanize suspension bridge - the longest suspension bridge in Japan, to walking the UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage path Kumano Kodo Kohechi, and mingling with locals. Here are some details. Under the Tanize suspension bridge, there are campsites. The view from the campsites is beautiful and in the night you will be able to see the night sky filled with stars.
Totsukawa is also famous for its beautiful water. There are lots of waterfalls and riversides that you can enjoy but one must-see places to visit is Dorokyo gorge. It’s a part of Yoshino Kumano National Park though it’s also a living area for locals. Once you get to Dorokyo gorge, don’t forget to get on the Kawasemi riverboat! You can also jump into the water and swim, or row your own Kayaks! Want to go fishing? Sure! but you need to buy a fishing ticket first.
If you prefer being in the mountains, Totsukawa offers you lots of choices including many hiking trails. To relax in the mountains, visit Kuuchuu no Mura, a village in the air! It’s a net-based forest aerial adventure park where you can enjoy Shinrinyoku using the nets. To hike in the mountains, Kumano Kodo Kohechi and Omine-Okugake trail are part of UNESCO world heritage pilgrimage paths that you’d enjoy hiking and it also has amazing views. In Kohechi, you will find a beautiful settlement called "Hatenashi Settlement". It is a settlement so high up it feels as if it is in the sky and you will feel like you are on the top of the world. The beauty of this settlement is not only the view but also you will see the lifestyle of people in Totsukawa.
To experience the farm-to-table lifestyle of Totsukawa, you can meet locals and learn to cook the local cuisine. They grow their own vegetables, allowing them to keep their sustainable lifestyle. They also hunt for meat in the mountains due to the fact that many wild deer and boars come down to the farms and cause damage. By hunting them but eating the meat they feel that the animals` lives are not wasted.
Another way to meet locals is by visiting onsens (Japanese hot springs). In Totsukawa, there are three onsen areas that you can enjoy and where you can mingle with locals. Kamiyu Onsen is one of them and is open-air and right by a flowing river. The best way to enjoy this onsen is to alternate soaking in the hot bath water and cold river water.
We are waiting for your visit!
I’m Hanako, I’m a "new" local in Totsukawa! I moved here in October 2019, previously having only lived in major cities. The whole village is my playground. Since I moved here, I’ve been enjoying the lifestyle and stunning natural spaces of Totsukawa every day. I even started growing my own vegetables. I love it here because the local people are very warm-hearted and have helped me a lot. I’d love to show you around and introduce you to many lovely locals so if you want to visit Totsukawa, please contact me.