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Where in the World are You?: Irohazaka Slope, City of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan


Irohazaka Slope. City of Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

What you are looking at is a road, no really it is, bear with me as I begin to tell you the story and stay focused or you’ll get lost, trust me. This road, route 120, is actually a two road system for access to a high alpine lake, one route going up and the other coming down.

The city in which this road starts is approximately 90 miles north of the nation’s capital, and climbs 1,300ft from the city to aforementioned lake which lies at the base of a sacred volcano. During modern times the route is primarily used for tourism purposes but in ancient times the route was traveled for religious purposes, as there was an ancient religious temple at the end of it. Several temples honoring the regions dominate religions are found within the city or in close proximity to it, due to the fact that the city has been the center of religion in the area. The city that acts as the beginning and the terminus of this road is the third largest city in the country, by area not population.

This is where it gets exciting, not really confusing is more like it, the road has forty-eight curves that coincide with forty-eight characters of the native alphabet, no really it does. When the road was improved in the mid-1950’s, the number of curves was reduced to thirty but after the second road was added nine years later, the number increased to fifty. During the same construction period, two of the curves were straightened, returning the number to forty-eight, again matching the number of characters in the native alphabet.

Another highlight awaits you at the top of the road, a waterfall in excess of 250ft for your viewing pleasure. So again the question is…Where in the World are you?

The pictured location is the Irohazaka Slope in between the City of Nikko and Lake Chuzenji in Tochigi Prefecture in Japan. Lake Chuzenji can be found at the base of Mt. Nantai, a sacred extinct volcano, the waterfall that can be seen from this route is the Ryuzu Falls. As one travels up one route and then down the other, there are signs at each curve that display each letter of the ancient Japanese alphabet.

Copyright© 2014 rlb; all rights reserved.


Roberta on March 26, 2018:

This photo is breathtaking! I'm planning to head to Nikko in June, would you be able to tell the exact location/point where exactly this was shot? I just want to sit down wherever this was taken and stare at this wonderful view!

rlbert00 (author) from USA on March 15, 2012:

I had a rather harrowing incident while driving the narrow and winding city streets of Valparaiso, Chile a few years back that could have quite easily been the end. Fortunately for the people of Japan, they now have two roads on this slope, one going up and one coming down otherwise I imagine that would be quite dangerous. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

tapasrecipe from Spanish tapas land on March 15, 2012:

what a fantastic road, i thought it was terraced rice fields before zooming in. least it has barriers though, but meeting a larger vehicle coming the other way, brings to mind the original "Italian job" film

rlbert00 (author) from USA on March 10, 2012:

Thank you for the compliments and your continued support.

mours sshields from Elwood, Indiana on March 10, 2012:

What a beautiful view!Interesting.

rlbert00 (author) from USA on March 10, 2012:

This particular road, and several like it, I would find quite terrifying. If it were not a one way I think it would be far worse, but with the increasing popularity of the automobile the locals decided it was a good idea to build a second road, one going up and one coming down, wise decision I think. Thank you again for reading and commenting.

Dianna Mendez on March 10, 2012:

What a beautiful view! I would have some apprehension in climbing that high on such a narrow road but it would be worth the trip to see the waterfall and the mountains. Enjoyed reading your hub and learned something ne today!

rlbert00 (author) from USA on March 10, 2012:

Right again. Nicely done.

point2make on March 09, 2012:

This is a photo of the "Iroha slope" a little ways outside Nikko Japan. This has been a very famous tourist destination for a long time now.

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