Guided Tours

Our Guided Tours include one of Iya's top English Speaking Guides who comes along with you and the driver. No doubt, these are the best way to understand and connect with the Iya Valley. These tours go beyond what any driver can do alone, with special walks through villages and out to hidden viewpoints, options for interactive experiences, and insight into the unique local lifestyle.

 

Aside from speaking English and living within the Iya Valley, our guides have also lived and worked abroad, so they understand the interests of foreign visitors and know how best to explain this remarkable place. And while many "guides" in Japan often come across bland and boring, our guides are fun and lively, and are sure to give you a trip you will never forget!

 

*Please Note: A minimum of one week advanced reservation is necessary for any guided tour. Please understand that there are a limited number of guides, so its best to book early. Also, in the winter (December to March), our guided tours may have limited availablity (please ask for details), however our taxi-only tours are available all year (see here).

 

**Also, we show these tours as starting/ending at JR Oboke Station, but they can start or end at any Iya Valley accommodation. Just let us know from where you want to go when you contact us.


Guided Tours with Fixed Routes

The time needed and routes here are fixed. If you would like to alter these routes by adding or removing points, or starting/ending from somewhere that is not in the Iya or Oboke area, please see the custom routes below.

 

** Since our guides live out deep in the Iya Valley, usually with these fixed guided tours the driver will pick you up alone if coming from JR Oboke station or from a hotel in Nishi-Iya, and you will meet the guide at Ryugugake Park (either the first or second stop). 

1. Deep Iya Guided Tour

6 hours

¥39,500 (small taxi up to 3 people)

¥52,800 (jumbo taxi up to 8 people)


For those who want the ultimate Iya Valley tour, then this is it. On this special course one of our English speaking local guides explains every part of Iya including local life, customs, culture, and history. We will take you on special in-depth walks along the original Iya road through Manpu Gorge and its breath-taking footbridge, and upon the ancient paths of Ochiai Village where you'll also have an inside tour of a historic thatched roof farmhouse. You will also go to the insightful local History Museumthrough the hauntingly unique Scarecrow Village, out to the tranquil Double Vine Bridges, and to various viewpoints including Iyakei Gorge's famous Peeing Boy Statue. We will also stop for great lunch at an Iya-style restaurant, that is known for its locally grown vegetables and range of wild game dishes hunted by the owner. For sure, there is not a better or more comprehensive tour of the Iya Valley available anywhere, and you are sure to enjoy! 

- Lunch fee is not included on this tour (about ¥500 to ¥1200 per person)

- Entrance fees are not included for the Museum and Double Vine Bridges (total is ¥960/adult, ¥450/child)

- For this tour, the driver will usually pick you up alone and you will first go to Iyakei Gorge with him, and then meet the guide at the second stop at Ryugugake Park

** To book this tour, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page **

  JR Oboke Station (or hotel) →  Iyakei Gorge (Peeing Boy Statue)  Ryugugake Park & Manpu Gorge Walk → Higashi-Iya History Museum and Lunch  →  Ochiai Village Walking Tour → Ⓕ Nagoro Scarecrow Village Walk  Ⓖ Oku-Iya Double Vine Bridges   Ochiai Village Viewpoint → Ⓘ JR Oboke Station 

2. "Yama Shala" Yoga + Guided Iya Tour

6 hours

¥39,500* (small taxi up to 3 people)

¥52,800* (jumbo taxi up to 4 people)

 *plus ¥1200 per person Activity and Lunch fee


Interested in having a yoga lesson with an awesome view from a secluded Iya kominka farmhouse? Well, one of our English speaking guides is also Iya's skilled yoga teacher, and she will take you to her exclusive "Yama Shala" yoga hideaway for a private lesson. Afterwards she'll serve a homemade macrobiotic lunch here featuring a range of seasonal Iya vegetables along with herbal tea you'll help pick fresh from the garden. After eating, you'll go deeper into Iya for an in-depth walk upon the ancient paths of Ochiai Village where you'll also go into a historic thatched roof farmhouse, as well as through the famed Scarecrow Village, out to the tranquil Double Vine Bridges, and to various viewpoints including Manpu Gorge and its stunning footbridge.

- This tour has an extra Activity and Lunch fee (¥1200 per person)

- Maximum of only 4 people due to limited space at the Yama Shala

- Entrance fees are not included for the Double Vine Bridges (¥550/adult, ¥350/child)

- For this tour, the driver will usually pick you up alone and you will meet the guide at the first stop at Ryugugake Park

** To book this tour, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page **

 

For more info about Iya Valley yoga, please check the Yama Yoga website.

JR Oboke Station (or hotel) →  Ryugugake Park & Manpu Gorge Walk  "Yama Shala" Yoga and Lunch → Ochiai Village Walking Tour  →  Nagoro Scarecrow Village Walk → Ⓕ Oku-Iya Double Vine Bridges  Ⓖ Ochiai Village Viewpoint   JR Oboke Station (or hotel)

3. Soba Making Workshop + Guided Iya Tour

6 hours

¥39,500* (small taxi up to 3 people)

¥52,800* (jumbo taxi up to 8 people)

 *plus ¥3800 per person Activity and Lunch fee


The rugged mountain-side farms of the Iya Valley are famous for growing excellent soba (buckwheat) and Iya's long tradition of hand-make soba noodles is legendary. By far the valley's most renowned artisan is Ms. Tsuzuki, and with her and your guide you will learn to grind the grain with a stone mortar, kneed and roll out the dough, and then hand chop each noodle. After cooking, you will feast on your creation along with a bounty of other local Iya dishes prepared by your teacher. Later, you'll go with your guide deeper into Iya for an in-depth walk upon the ancient paths of Ochiai Village where you'll also tour a historic thatched roof farmhouse, as well as through the bizarre Scarecrow Village, out to the beautiful Double Vine Bridges, and to various viewpoints including Manpu Gorge and its awesome suspension footbridge.

- This tour has an extra Activity and Lunch fee (¥3800 per person)

- Entrance fees are not included for the Double Vine Bridges (¥550/adult, ¥350/child)

- For this tour, the driver will usually pick you up alone and you will meet the guide at the first stop at Ryugugake Park

** To book this tour, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page **

JR Oboke Station (or hotel) →  Ryugugake Park & Manpu Gorge Walk  Tsuzuki Soba Workshop and Lunch → Ochiai Village Walking Tour  →  Nagoro Scarecrow Village Walk → Ⓕ Oku-Iya Double Vine Bridges  Ⓖ Ochiai Village Viewpoint   JR Oboke Station (or hotel)


Custom Guided Tours

Have something special in mind that you don't see here? Our custom guided tours allow you to choose exactly where you want to go. The minimum length for a customized guided tour is 5 hours, with each additional hour an extra ¥4300/hour for a small taxi, (or ¥6500/hour for a jumbo taxi) with an addtional ¥2500/hour for the guide.

 

If you would like a custom taxi tour without a guide (with only a 2 hour minimum), please check the Taxi Touring page. 

 

Let us know where you would like to go and we will figure out the best route to calculate the time needed. We can also arrange custom tour routes to take you to/from points beyond the Iya and Oboke area (such as airports and other cities) while only including the guide for the portion of the tour that is within Iya. Please detail your plans in the contact form at the botom of this page.

 

* To arrange a custom tour, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page *

Want to know more about where to go? Check the IyaTime travel guide for detailed information about all Iya Valley and Oboke area sights, activities, restaurants, and hotels. All you need to know, in English!



Contact for a Guided Tour

Please use this form for a Guided Tour only. If you are looking to contact regarding a taxi-only tour (no guide) or for general inquiry about our services, please use the main contact form here. Thank you!

Note: Please fill out the fields marked with an asterisk.

Regarding all Guided Tours:

  • We will walk on village paths, so appropriate shoes are needed
  • In winter (Dec - March), guide availability may be limited and/or some locations may be closed for the season. Please ask for details.
  • Departure time for these tours must be before 11:00am
  • Entrance fees are not included (History Museum ¥410, Double Vine Bridges ¥550. Children discounted)
  • Lunch fees are not included unless noted
  • Must be reserved at least one week in advance
  • We have a limited number of guides, so please book early! 

**Do note that if there is road construction or bad weather happening then it may be necessary to change the order for where we stop. If there is a construction delay, there will be no extra charge if we go over time a bit due to the delay (but usually, if there is any delay, it will only be a few minutes).

 

Also, in case of rain, we may not be able to do parts of the walking tours (but we will have umbrellas). If walking is not possible, we will extend our time at other locations. 

 

And for people who are physically unable to do the walks, we will do our best to accommodate you and provide a pleasant tour!

 

 

Our Guides

Name: Aki

From: Japan

 

It was while she was living and working in a variety of foreign countries that Aki learned her English. Full of energy, she is also Iya's yoga instructor, dance teacher, and semi-official interpretor. Her specialties include Iya Valley history and legends, local customs, and Iya's food and agriculture. 

Name: Shaun

From: USA

   

Just about everyone in the valley knows Shaun, who has been living in Iya for over 15 years and knows more about life here than probably any non-Japanese person. Aside from guiding, he's a part-time lumberjack, carpenter, trapper, translator, sculptor, and all-around repairman. His specialties include Iya Valley customs, local architecture, and Iya's landscape and geography.