A manually dug old tunnel. A gorge completely filled with strange-shaped rocks and stones of various sizes.
Yabakei Gorge, situated in a northwestern part of Oita, is a grand gorge created through a lava plateau of the largest scale in Japan by the flow of Yamakuni-gawa River. Extending 36 km east and west and 32 km north and south, this huge gorge full of strange-shape rocks and stones is a spectacular sight.
According to a legend, a monk who witnessed travelers have much difficulty in walking on a precarious path on the side of a steep cliff dug an approximately 185 m-long tunnel known as "Ao-no-domon" with only a chisel and a hammer. It said that it took him more than 30 years to complete the tunnel.
Among the tourist spots of Shin-yabakei is a view spot called "Hitome Hakkei" commanding a view of eight huge rocks including Kaibo-ho, Sennin-iwa, Gun'en-zan, Meoto-iwa and Kan'non-iwa. There are many more sights to see -- Keisekien, a garden about 20,000 square-meter in area constructed in commemoration of the completion of the Yabakei Dam, the Rakan-ji Temple where more than 3,700 stone figures of the Buddha stand and Kyoshuho, a major sightseeing spot in Yabakei which is reputed for its beautiful red and yellow tree leaves in autumn. Tourists in Yabakei will never get weary of its numerous fine spots to see.
[Air] An hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Airport to Oita Airport. About an hour from Osaka Airport. 1.5 hour by bus from Oita Airport to Nakatsu Station. Thirty-minutes by bus from Nakatsu Station to Ao-no-domon. Change at Kakisaka, 50 minutes from there to Shin-yabakei.