Chiiwa Gorge (乳岩峡) is a beautiful valley hike along Chiiwa river with some cool rocks and caves to climb at the end. It's accessible year-round but best visited in spring or fall before it gets too hot. This hike is great as a quick escape from the city like Nagoya or Hamamatsu.
Elevation Gain: 302m
Take the train to Mikawa-Kawai Station and walk about 30min to the trailhead.
While google shows that you can still drive to the trailhead, that's not possible anymore and it's been closed for cars for a while.
If the free parking lot is full, there are a couple more spots 10min up the road towards the dam.
The first part of the hike to the trailhead is on a paved road. Trailhead has toilets.
From the trailhead its another 15min along the chiiwa river, until you get to some signposts. Here you need to turn right and go up the hill. If you continue straight you can climb some of the peaks behind the valley and do a full dayhike (8-10h).
After the signs it gets steeper and you'll have to climb some stairs and ladders while looping around the big chiiwa rock. You'll pass a big arch and a cave with some buddah statues. Then you get back to the river trail and head back the same way you came.
In summer this mountain range has a lot of mountain leeches supposedly. I've only ever been there in spring, so I've never seen them myself. But something to keep in mind. Maybe bring salt just in case, as these things are fast.
Elevation Profile & Map
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