Kitayama Course

Gorge, Rafting, Mountain Roads, Onsen, Flowers


This extension course starting in Kawayu Onsen takes you deeper into the mountains. Ride up to dramatic Doro-kyo Gorge and schedule in a traditional rafting trip down the fast-flowing river. Enjoy a slower pace of life by spending a night at a hot spring hotel in the heart of the mountains.


Experience the gorge from above and below

Peer down into Doro-kyo Gorge from the mountain roads and raft on the water within its steep walls.

Doro-kyo Gorge


Traditional and thrilling river ride

Book a traditional log rafting trip down the Doro-kyo Gorge, and experience Wakayama's white water.

Log rafting trip

Mountain Roads

Ride roads deep into the mountains

Ride the winding mountain roads, often running parallel with Wakayama's rivers.


Relax in therapeutic waters

Stay the night in a hot spring cottage facility and take a dip in the indoor and outdoor baths overlooking the mountains.

Okutoro Onsen


Star-shaped spring blooms

Keep your eyes peeled for the Rhododendron Keiskei, a delicate, star-shaped flower that blooms in spring.

Useful Information

JAL Japan Explorer Pass

Fly to Nanki-Shirahama airport to begin your exploration of Wakayama. Japan Airlines offers affordable domestic fares with the JAL Japan Explorer Pass. The easy-to-use English website makes booking flights very easy.

Nanki-Shirahama Airport

There are three direct flights a day from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Wakayama’s Nanki-Shirahama Airport. Booking flights is easy and flying into the area is a time-efficient and cost-effective option.

1 Kawayu Onsen

Fully refreshed after a night in one of Wakayama's oldest onsen resorts, jump back on the saddle and ride the mountain paths that climb up to Doro-kyo Gorge. The road runs parallel with the Shingu and the Kitayama-gawa rivers. There are limited areas for refreshment along the way, so pack something to eat and drink.

25 km ~

2 Doro-kyo

Doro-kyo Gorge stretches 31 kilometres along the Kitayama-gawa river. When you arrive at the head, take a rest nearby and view the dramatic gorge's deep, turquoise water flanked by jagged, unusual rock formations. Look out for one of the jet boats that transport visitors up and down the gorge.

10 km ~

3 Michi-no-Eki Okutoro (rest stop station)

Follow Route 169 through the mountains. The road runs parallel with the gorge again after around five kilometres, and the final section runs parallel with the Kitayama-gawa River. The rest stop station has a restaurant with a wide range of hearty dishes, a shop selling local products, and restroom facilities. It is also the start point for traditional log rafting.


4 Okutoro Onsen Yama-no-Yado

Okutoro Onsen is a hot spring facility that forms part of the rest stop station. There is an indoor and outdoor bath, both with great views of the surrounding mountains. Basic amenities are provided, and bath towels can be rented for a small fee.


5 Activities in the area

The Okutoro rest stop station is the start point for traditional log rafting. River Runners guide thrill seekers on a trip down the white water of the Doro-kyo Gorge on logs lashed together. To join the scheduled afternoon trip, you must be at the meeting point between 11:30 and 12:40. Late-comers will not be allowed to participate.

Onward journey
The peninsula's train stations are located along the coastline. From Okutoro, the closest stations are Arii and Koshiyama—both around 25 kilometres away. From these smaller stations, links to express trains bound for Nagoya, Osaka, and Kyoto can be made. Consider booking a room at the Okutoro Onsen Yama-no-Yado, and departing for the station the following day.

Explore local Wakayama course

Local food, Coast, Spiritual, Stone Staircases, Flowers

The highlights of Shirahama course

Natural monuments, Wildlife Park, Food, Sunset

The south coast course

Ocean, River, Natural monuments, Michi-no-Eki (rest stop stations), Flowers

The deep mountain course

Local food, Mountain roads, Spiritual, Onsen