Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I will tell you about my Harley touring trip to Ryujinkyo Gorge in Ibaraki Prefecture. Ryujin Gorge is a V-shaped valley located in Okukuji Prefectural Natural Park, and is a beautiful scenic spot that is also called the Yabakei of Kanto. Downstream is the Ryujin Suspension Bridge, one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in Japan. This time, we arrived at Ryujinkyo in about two and a half hours using the Joban Expressway from central Tokyo. Afterwards, we crossed the Ryujin Suspension Bridge and climbed Mt. Akeyama, then returned to Hitachiota city via Prefectural Route 33. Although the distance was about 200km, I was impressed by the comfortable riding of the Harley and the magnificent nature of Ryujin Gorge. Below, we will introduce the route and highlights in detail.
What is Ryujinkyo?
Ryujin Gorge is a V-shaped gorge created by the erosion of the Ryujin River, a tributary of the Yamada River, over a long period of time. It is approximately 12km long, and as you walk along the clear stream flowing through the steep rocky area, you can see many waterfalls, pools, and rapids. Its stunning scenery has earned it the nickname “Kanto’s Yabakei” and is said to resemble Kurobe Gorge. The sound of flowing water and the virgin forest where ancient vegetation remains is a valuable natural heritage that conveys the charm and splendor of nature to this day.
At Ryujinkyo, you can enjoy the scenery in all seasons, but spring and autumn are especially recommended. In the spring, cherry blossoms and azaleas are in full bloom, and in the fall, the valley is decorated with autumn leaves. In winter, you can also see snowy landscapes and icicles. Ryujinkyo Gorge also offers activities such as nature walks and bird watching.
Route to Ryujinkyo
This time, I took the Joban Expressway from central Tokyo to Ryujin Gorge. The starting point was Nihonbashi Hakozakicho. I entered Hakozaki IC from Hakozaki Minatobashi Street and took the Shuto Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line. I entered the Tohoku Expressway at Horikiri JCT and transferred to the Joban Expressway at Misato JCT. I drove about 113km on the Joban Expressway and got off at Naka IC. From there, I took Prefectural Route 65 towards Tokai.
From Prefectural Route 65, I entered Prefectural Route 31, then via Prefectural Route 104, I entered Prefectural Route 62. From Prefectural Route 62, I entered Prefectural Route 61, then via Prefectural Route 166, I entered Prefectural Route 29. I entered Prefectural Route 33 from Prefectural Route 29 and turned left at the Ryujin Suspension Bridge entrance information board. Ryujinkyo No. 1 parking lot was about 1.4km from there. Arrival time was around 10am.
Highlights of Ryujinkyo
The main attraction of Ryujin Gorge is the Ryujin Suspension Bridge. Ryujin Suspension Bridge is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in Japan, with a total length of 446m, a center span of 375m, and a height of 100m. Pictures of dragons are painted on the walls on both sides of the bridge, and the bridge is reminiscent of a dragon soaring through its natural surroundings.
When crossing the bridge, be careful of wind and swaying. From the top of the bridge, you can enjoy a panoramic view of nature throughout the four seasons. The autumn leaves are especially spectacular. You can experience the thrill of looking 100 meters above the lake surface through the three peepholes installed on the bridge. After crossing the bridge, there is a carillon facility called “Mokusei no Kane” on the opposite bank. Three clear tones of love, hope, and happiness echo through Ryujinkyo Gorge. The Bell of Love is popular among couples because two people must press the button.
After crossing the Ryujin Suspension Bridge, I climbed Mt.Akiyama. Akiyama is a mountain with an altitude of 1006m, located on the border between Hitachiota City and Hitachiomiya City. The trailhead is a route up Mitsuha Pass from the road along the Ryujin River. It is approximately 2km from Mitsuha Pass to Akiyama, and there are observation decks and evacuation huts along the way. At the top of Akiyama, there is Akiyama Shrine and an observation deck. Meiyama Shrine is a shrine that has been the object of mountain worship since ancient times, and is dedicated to the god Ryujin Daigongen. From the observation deck, you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view, and if the weather is clear, you can even see distant mountains such as Mt. Tsukuba and Mt. Nikko Shirane. The climb took about an hour and a half, and the descent took about an hour.
After descending from Akiyama, we crossed the Ryujin Suspension Bridge again and returned to the parking lot. Afterwards, we headed towards Hitachiota city via Prefectural Route 33. Prefectural Route 33 is a road called the Green Furusato Line that runs along Ryujin Gorge. There are many famous spots and attractions in Ryujinkyo along the road. For example, from Ryujinkyo 2nd parking lot, you can walk to the waterfall viewing platform at the deepest part of Ryujinkyo. From the waterfall viewing platform, you can see a 30m high waterfall and the cliffs of the valley. Also, from Ryujinkyo Parking Lot 3, you can walk to Suifu Dam located in the middle of Ryujinkyo. Suifu Dam is a multipurpose dam built on the Ryujin River, and plays the role of hydroelectric power generation and flood control. The dam lake shines in an emerald green color and is in harmony with the surrounding nature.
Ryujinkyo motorcycle parking lot
There are several motorcycle parking lots in Ryujinkyo. The Ryujinkyo Parking Lot 1, which I used this time, is a free motorcycle parking lot. However, we recommend arriving early as space is limited. There is also a free motorcycle parking lot near the entrance of Ryujin Suspension Bridge. You also need to be careful as there is little free space here.
This time, I told you about my Harley touring trip to Ryujin Gorge in Ibaraki Prefecture. Although the distance was about 200km, I was impressed by the comfortable riding of the Harley and the magnificent nature of Ryujin Gorge. The Ryujin Suspension Bridge in particular was a thrilling combination of height, shaking, and scenery. I’m glad I climbed Mt. Akiyama as well. The view from the top was spectacular. Ryujinkyo is a wonderful place where you can enjoy the scenery of each season. All Harley riders are welcome to come and visit us. See you again on the next Harley Touring.
Ryujin Gorge: Ryujin Gorge