If you are looking for scenic places with fewer people, then head down to Wakayama prefecture, in the southern part of the Kansai region. A lot of beautiful hidden places can be found there. One of these hidden treasures is the scenic and secluded gorge named Doro-kyo.
Doro-kyo refers to a beautiful gorge about 30 km long along the Kitayama River, a tributary of Kumano River. It is known as one of the most beautiful secluded gorges in Japan. Towering cliffs and unique shaped rock formations, high cliffs, and caves are divided by the emerald colored streams of Kitagawa. This gorge, located in Yoshino-Kumano National Park, runs along the eastern part of Wakayama, at the border of Nara and Mie prefectures.
Take the train to Shingu city, then take the bus or taxi from Shingu towards Hongu. Along the way from Shingu to Hongu, you will drive along the banks of the Kumano River, and along the way you will be presented with a superb view of the crystal clear water, winding through the hills of lush green. Every turn in the road will present a surprise amazing sight. Roughly halfway from Shingu to Hongu, stop at Shiko, then take a jet-boat ride, to go deeper into the middle of the beautiful Kumano River, to Doro-kyo (Doro Gorge).
Doro-kyo itself can be reached by a 1-hour jet boat ride from Shiko. When the weather is good, as it approaches Doro-kyo, the boat roof will be opened, so passengers can enjoy fresh air and the beauty of the rock cliffs with their unique shapes. This boat is equipped with an audio guide, which explains the interesting spots along the way.
Up at the farthest point, the boat will stop for a while, allowing passengers to get off and be momentarily immersed in the beauty of Doro-kyo.
Once you have seen the beautiful gorge, you will need to take another 1-hour boat ride to return to Shiko. But don’t rush to leave this place, as the harbor has a view no less beautiful. Sip a glass of green tea at the Shiko boat terminal before leaving this little piece of heaven on earth.