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Autumn leaf viewing at the famous “Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge” in Sumatakyo, that you will want to cross before you die! 

The “Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge” in Sumatakyo located in Kawanehon-cho is an 8-meter-high, 90-meter-long suspension bridge over the Oma Dam Lake. The emerald green lake viewed from the bridge and the rich nature of the Southern Alps are beautiful, and the bridge has become a popular spot for taking photos to post on SNS. In 2012, the bridge was selected by TripAdvisor as “One of the best suspension bridges in the world that you should cross before you die”. Today, we will introduce Sumatakyo during the autumn foliage season, but this is a spot where you can enjoy a spectacular view regardless of the season. Please read this as a guide before taking a trip to Sumatakyo.

From Senzu to Sumatakyo

Parking lot at Sumatakyo

It is about 18 km by car from Senzu Station, the last station of the Oigawa Railway, which is famous for its steam locomotives, to Sumatakyo. Some of the roads along the way are so narrow that it is impossible to pass oncoming traffic, so make sure to drive with caution. Buses also run from Senzu Station to Sumatakyo, so you can head there after enjoying the steam locomotives.

Enjoy the retro atmosphere of Sumatakyo Onsen

Quaint inn in the hot spring resort area

From the parking lot of Sumatakyo, head for your destination, Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge. It takes about 30 minutes on foot for adults. As you follow the road from the parking lot, you will see the inn. The Sumatakyo Onsen resort area has always maintained the atmosphere of a traditional hot spring resort in the mountains and aims to be Japan’s most elegant and refined hot spring resorts by observing the three principles of “no geishas or companions”, “no neon signs” and “no signage on the mountain”. The elegant hot spring resort town has a quaint atmosphere that is different from that of the city.


Hot spring water gushing at every turn

Hot spring water gushes out everywhere in the Sumatakyo Onsen resort area, and steam from the hot springs can be seen rising out of the irrigation canals.

Japanese serow monument

When you see this Japanese serow monument, it means that you’ve almost arrived at the gate to the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge.

Signpost showing the destination

Walk along the Sumatakyo Promenade Course

Pass through the gate and continue along on the Sumatakyo Promenade Course (90 minutes) , one of the three available hiking trails. There are three suspension bridges in Sumatakyo that visitors can enjoy at once, including the Sarunami Bridge, Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge and Hiryu Bridge. When you pass through the gate and walk along the stream of the Sumata River on the right, you will see the Sarunami Bridge far below. At 96 meters, this suspension bridge is the longest of the three suspension bridges. Only four people can cross at a time, making it a thrilling experience. The Sarunami Bridge can be reached from Green Shower Road, so if you have time to spare, please visit here as well.

Sarunami Bridge

If you continue on further, you will see a tunnel. This tunnel is called “Tenshi Tunnel”, and in the winter, the wind blows through this tunnel from the upper stream of the Sumata River. The name of this wind is “Ryujin no Kaze” (wind of the dragon god), and there is a legend that touching this wind will bring “sound health and longevity”.

Entrance to Tenshi Tunnel

Once you pass through the tunnel, there is a junction that takes you to either the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge or Hiryu Bridge. To reach the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge, take the right side route. As the caution sign at the junction states, the trail ascends and descends steeply from here. 

If you are not confident in your ability to hike, take the left side route to Hiryu Bridge at this junction to view the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge from above. It takes around 20 minutes from the entrance gate of the Promenade Course to this junction. We are getting closer to the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge!


The fantastic views created by nature and the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge

So far, we have been hiking up a gentle path, but the path ahead from the junction continues downhill. If you continue further along, our destination, the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge, will finally come into view.

Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge

The mystical sight of the suspension bridge surrounded by the beautiful lake and mountain greenery is so spectacular that you will forget that you have walked a long way. 

Due to the limitation of the number of people that can cross the bridge at once, you must take turns when crossing. The bridge has some places where you can pass each other, but it is only about the width of two pairs of adult shoes and you can feel it swaying quite a bit, so cross carefully by holding onto the wires on both sides.

Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge from the front

An emerald green lake spreads out below the suspension bridge, and the mystical color of this lake is due to the “Tyndall effect” caused by the characteristics of light. The lake is so clear and vivid that you can see all the way to the bottom of it. 

Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge

In the middle of the bridge, there is a power spot where it is said that if you make a wish for love, it will come true. The views upstream and downstream from here is also breathtaking.

The view downstream of the Sumata River when looking to the right from the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge
The view upstream of the Sumata River when looking to the left from the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge

Climbing up 300 steps to Hiryu Bridge

After crossing the suspension bridge, climb the steel staircase and walk along the path leading to Hiryu Bridge.

A lot of steel staircases
The occasional spectacular view as seen from the staircase

Soothe your mind with occasional views of the suspension bridge and the emerald green surface of the lake from the steep steel staircase.

Yare Yare Dokoro

We’ve arrived at a rest area named “Yare Yare Dokoro”. After continuing along Yare Yare Dokoro, there is a junction between the observatory and the Hiryu Bridge. If you proceed here toward Hiryu Bridge, and you will soon see Hiryu Bridge.

Distant view of Hiryu Bridge

Hiryu Bridge is 72 meters shorter than Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge, but the height from the riverbed is about 70 meters. Although the bridge is made of reinforced steel and does not sway much, you may feel weak at the knees when looking down.

Hiryu Bridge

Hiryu Bridge is the halfway point of the Sumatakyo Promenade Course. As you walk along the path, you will return to the entrance of the Promenade Course following the point where the Hiryu Bridge and the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge diverge.

Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge as seen from near Hiryu Bridge

During busy times such as the autumn foliage season, there can be a 120-minute wait to cross the suspension bridge, so it would be wise to check the latest information in advance.

Relax your tired body at a traditional Japanese house cafe!

Yume no Tsuribashi cider

In front of the entrance to the Sumatakyo Promenade Course, there is a souvenir shop and a coffee shop where you can enjoy a light meal. We will first item we will introducing is the “Yume no Tsuribashi cider”. It is cold this time of year, but this cider, which can only be enjoyed here, will help refresh your tired body after crossing the suspension bridge.


Kibi zenzai

The kibi zenzai, a sweet red bean paste made from millet sold at Yamaguch-iya is the perfect treat for the winter. Located in the Sumatakyo Onsen resort area, this old traditional Japanese-style house-turned cafe, which was built over 150 years ago in a quaint old onsen ryokan, offers a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. Sit around the fireplace and enjoy dishes such as gohei-mochi (skewered sweet rice cakes served with soy sauce and miso), soba and udon noodles.

Look up at the star-filled sky

Hoshizora resha (starlight train)

Kawanehon-cho, where Sumatakyo is located, has been selected as the “second clearest starry sky in all of Japan”, and we highly recommend stargazing in the coming season when the air is clearer. A hoshizora resha (starlight train) is also in operation for a limited time to allow visitors to observe the star-filled sky. 

The area offers different natural landscapes in each of the four seasons. The rows of cherry trees and retro scenery viewed from the steam locomotives in the spring, the spectacular view of the Yume no Tsuribashi Suspension Bridge over the emerald green lake in the fall and the star-filled night sky in the winter. 

Why don’t you find your favorite landscape in Kawanehon-cho? 

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