Friday, January 24, 2014

Korankei Valley

Ask anyone living in Nagoya, "What is the best place around Nagoya to visit during Autumn ?" and the first name you are likely to hear is KORANKEI. 

Only a 40 minute drive away from Nagoya city, Korankei is undoubtedly the place to visit to view Autumn foliage. Korankei gorge is located in Toyota city's Asuke district . 

Korankei is a scenic gorge through which the Tomoe River flows. It is said that the maple trees in Korankei were first planted in 1634 by Sanei-osho, the 11th priest of the Koujaku-ji temple located closeby. In the 20th century, the local residents planted more maple trees and there are around 4000 maple trees now. Little needs to be said about the spectacular sight when 4000 maple trees change colour in autumn.

 At night, the trees are also illuminated and this event attracts crowds from near and far. 

All roads leading to Korankei in Autumn are crowded and reaching the place can take hours, thanks to the traffic. 

The red Taigetsukyo Bridge across the Tomoe river adds to the beauty of the gorge. 

In the hot and humid Nagoya summers, Korankei is a pleasant place to visit. The cool waters of the Tomoe River and the surrounding greenery provide some respite from the pricking heat. There are nice spots for Barbecues and picnics along the river. On weekends, many families and groups of friends can be seen enjoying along the river banks. 
The  walking trails around the Mt Iimori are nice and enjoyable. 

Koujaku-ji is a temple belonging to the Soto School of Buddhism and was established in 1427.The maple trees in Korankei were first planted by the temple's 11th priest Sanei-Osho in 1634. 

Sanshu Asuke Yashiki is a traditional Japanese farming village where the rustic Japanese life is exhibited. It contains a farm house, warehouse, water mill and a stable among other exhibits. (Entrance : Yen 500. Time- 9:00am-5:00pm) 

Address: Korankei, 36 Iimori, Asuke Cho, Toyota Shi, Aichi Prefecture
Phone: 0565-62-1272 
Peak period to view Autumn Foliage : Mid to end November. 
Website : (Japanese)
Access: Take Meitetsu Line train from Nagoya to Higashi Okazaki station and a 70 minute bus ride to Korankei/Asuke. Driving down is faster and more convenient. Ample Paid Parking available. 

On a hill close to the gorge is the Asuke Castle which was built sometime in the early 16th century.

The current building is a recent reconstruction based on original. (Entrance 300 yen)

In the Edo period, Asuke prospered as an important post town on the Shio-no-michi or Chuma-kaido on the salt trade route. The salt produced along the  shores of Mikawa bay were transported to Shinsu, now part of Nagano prefecture. 
The row houses in Asuke town retain their rustic charm and remind one of the town's historical past. 
The Hachiman-gu Shrine complex in Asuke comprises of 2 shrines standing adjacent to each other. The larger shrine is the main Hachiman gu shrine which dates back to 652 AD while the smaller shrine is Asuke shrine that dates back to 1902. The enshrined dieties are old feudal lords who ruled over the area. Asuke town has been associated with archery and has a military past. A large statue of a horse in the shrine signifies this.

 Various festivals are held in the Asuke shrine attracting many visitors. 
Asuke Shrine -Miyadaira, Asuke-cho, Toyota-shi, Aichi 444-2424, Japan.
Phone: 0565-62-0516 

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