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Recommended Themes, Seasons and Activities

Item2 Themes

Natural Scenery:Mountain and Valley, River and Waterfall, Flower and Tree, Stone and Rock


Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter


Cultural Experiences(Boat Ride) / Photograph

See the dragons in the rocks! Take a tour of Tenryukyo

Even in ancient times, the Tenryugawa was widely known as a seasonally rampaging river. In Nagano’s city of Iida, this force of nature sculpted the beautiful scenery of an amazing gorge with cliffs and interesting rock formations. From here, in Tenryu-Okumikawa Quasi-National Park, the Tenryugawa flows down into Lake Suwa. In spring, the surface of the water is luminous with the fresh green of new growth. In the summer, it reflects a deeper green set against the rocky outcrops. It is also a place famous for fall foliage: when autumn comes, the riverside slopes and the waters glow with red and gold.
In 1882, famed calligrapher Meikaku Kusakabe visited the Tenryu Gorge and selected ten rock formations now known as the jussho top ten. Each of these has a name. To give three examples: Suikanki refers to a pole and a line, and the rock formation is fancied to be a hermit fishing; in the name Keikeitan, the bright glow in deep water appears as a huge dragon living under cliff whose shining eyebrows are visible at the bottom of the river; and, on a cliff, suddenly appearing to rise to the heavens, Ryukakuho refers to a rocky spine that looks spiky with dragon horns, an incarnation of the dragon that dwells deep inside the Tenryu River. After looking at the names and descriptions of each the jussho ten, will you see dragons, too?

In the midst of natural beauty, on the stream itself or on the gorge path

You can enjoy the Tenryu Tokachi on Tenryu Line river cruise, a descent that takes about an hour from the wharf at Tenryuko Onsen to arrival at Karakasa. On this trip through the gorge, you can sit back and admire the beauty of rocks patiently sculpted by nature. The scenes go by as the boatman points out landmarks and tells you interesting things from the history of the gorge. You can also witness demonstrations of cast-net fishing and kites swooping from the sky to feed from the hand of the boatman. On a cruise, get close to nature and fully enjoy the best of any season.
It is also possible to take a leisurely stroll down the gorge on a course that takes about one hour. The trail starts at a suspension bridge, a great place for taking photos of the magnificent scenery. As you proceed, enveloped by greenery pressing in from the shores, left and right, the sheer presence of strange rock formations will leave a lasting impression. In spring, the flowering cherries are a delight. After this, the floral pageant continues with mitsuba azalea, and the golden-rayed lilies of summer. The autumn glows with russet leaves, and winter snow scenes complete the year-long variation of gorgeous natural beauty.



4874-1 Kawaji, Iida, Nagano Prefecture


Boat trips depart from Tenryukyo Onsen-ko at 9:20 am, and arrive at Karakasa at 10:10 am
Final cruises depart from Tenryukyo Onsen-ko at 3:20 pm and arrive at Karakasa at 4:10 pm
(♦ During winter, as there are only two daily cruises, reservations are required: please confirm operation schedule.)


Open daily


Varies according to facility


Tenryukyo Onsen Tourism Association 0265-27-2946


On foot from JR Iida Line Tenryukyo Sta., about 3 min

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The Four Shoryudo Routes

Shoryudo Map
Dragon Course Great Nature Course Nostalgic Course Ukiyo-e Course
  • Dragon Course
  • Great Nature Course
  • Nostalgic Course
  • Ukiyo-e Course

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