5 Best Hotels in Iya Valley and Oboke-Koboke Gorges, Shikoku

Chiiori House

$$$$ | 209 Tsurui, Miyoshi City, 778-0602, Japan Fodor's Choice

If a search for absolute serenity is what brought you to Iya, head straight for Chiiori House. This restored Iya farmhouse, managed by the Chiiori Trust, is available for private overnight stays. The recently renovated facilities are a lot more comfortable than what residents from past centuries were used to, especially the swanky kitchen and cedar bathtub, but the breeze through the cedar trees and the morning mist over the valley are timeless. You can prepare your own food in the kitchen or arrange for a local cook to prepare an Iya-style dinner for an additional fee per person. Can sleep up to 10 people, with the per-person rate becoming smaller as the number of guests increases.

Pros

  • Breathtaking views
  • Unforgettable atmosphere
  • Adding dinner is possible

Cons

  • Bring your own breakfast
  • Access is by winding mountain road
  • Can be cold in winter
209 Tsurui, Miyoshi City, 778-0602, Japan
0883-88–5290
hotel Details
Rate Includes: 1 house, No Meals

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Iya Bijin

$$$$ | 9-3 Zentoku, Miyoshi City, 778-0102, Japan

The private onsen bathtubs on each room's balcony here have breathtaking views of the unspoiled valley below. The Japanese-style rooms are luxurious. Follow Route 45 as it curves right and transforms back into the old Route 32; make a left just after the decrepit pink Kazurabashi Hotel, and the lush Iya Bijin will come up on your right.

Pros

  • Unbeatable views
  • In-room onsen baths

Cons

  • Minimal English assistance
9-3 Zentoku, Miyoshi City, 778-0102, Japan
088-387–2009
hotel Details
9 rooms
Rate Includes: Free Breakfast

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Iya no Yado Kazuraya

$$$$ | 78 Kantei, Miyoshi City, 778-0102, Japan

This traditional inn just up the road from Kazura-bashi has spacious rooms, an outdoor hot-spring bath, and unobstructed views of the valley, but the home-style feast you're served at dinner and breakfast are what you'll write home about. Two meals are included in most rates, but breakfast-only and dinner-only options are also available at a much lower rate.

Pros

  • Traditional cooking
  • Family hospitality
  • Rustic setting

Cons

  • Limited English spoken
  • Nothing to do nearby after dark
  • Limited facilities beyond the ryokan basics
78 Kantei, Miyoshi City, 778-0102, Japan
0883-87–2831
hotel Details
18 rooms
Rate Includes: All-Inclusive

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Iya Onsen

$$$$ | 367--28 Matsuo Matsumoto, Miyoshi-shi, 778-0165, Japan Fodor's Choice

Perched on the edge of a steep ravine above the Iya River, this upscale hot-springs inn provides absolute luxury in the middle of nowhere. Iya Onsen is one of Japan's three "secret" baths (if you ask locals where the other two are, nobody seems to know). Reasons to stay here include the sweeping views from most guest rooms, the lavish meals, and the riverside hot-spring bath accessed by cable car. When the mist rises from the valley in the early morning, it really does feel like you're in a hidden world. If you're not staying here, there are lunch-and-bath options starting at ¥4,000 per person. A hotel bus picks up overnight guests from Oboke Station at 4:10 pm.

Pros

  • Can book online in English
  • Traditional cuisine
  • Stunning outdoor riverside bath

Cons

  • Not much sightseeing nearby
  • Not a great option for kids
  • Quite formal
367--28 Matsuo Matsumoto, Miyoshi-shi, 778-0165, Japan
0883-75–2311
hotel Details
20 rooms
Rate Includes: All-Inclusive

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Togenkyo Iya Farmhouses

$$$$ | 96--3 Wada, Miyoshi City, 778-0206, Japan Fodor's Choice

Staying at this group of eight farmhouses in the mountains of eastern Iya is the perfect way to experience traditional life here. The Chiiori Trust renovated them, retaining their rustic aesthetic with thatched roofs, thick wood floorboards, and sliding shoji doors. Present-day comforts like soaker tubs and wireless Internet access have been tastefully incorporated. Fusho House has a stunning view of the mountainside village across the valley. Make your meals yourself, or for an extra fee ask the Chiiori Trust to bring in a local cook.

Pros

  • Traditional architecture
  • Tasteful facilities
  • Lots of privacy

Cons

  • Access by winding mountain lane can be a challenge
  • Extra effort to arrange meals
  • Will need to bring drinks and snacks
96--3 Wada, Miyoshi City, 778-0206, Japan
0883-88–2540
hotel Details
Rate Includes: 8 houses

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