Dense forests, majestic mountains, crystal clear rivers, and spectacular starry skies. Odai is a town surrounded by natural beauty, just two and a half hours from Osaka and Kyoto. Running through the entire area, the Miya River has been chosen as the cleanest river in Japan in each of the last 11 surveys into the water quality of first-class rivers by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. It is said to be one of Japan's truly beautiful rivers. In March 2016, the entire area surrounding Odai was added to the UNESCO Eco Park list, as a treasure trove of precious natural resources.
UNESCO launched Biosphere Reserves under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme in 1976. Whereas the aim of world heritage sites is to protect nature and leave it untouched, the purpose of Biosphere Reserves is to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use (harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development). Including Odai, there are only seven designated sites as Biosphere Reserves in Japan as of January 2017.
The pristine forest is home to countless species of plants and trees,
while the beautiful river flows through a deep gorge.
Experience two different sides of nature's beauty.
Alongside Kurobe Gorge in Toyama and Kiyotsu Gorge in Niigata, Osugidani Gorge is listed as one of Japan's three great gorges. The single hiking route through the gorge winds through the pristine forest and takes in countless beauty spots, including seven waterfalls and eleven suspension bridges (approx. 14.1km, climbing 1,415m). There are two mountain cabins along the route, where hikers can enjoy an overnight stay.
Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Kumano Kodo is an ancient road that connects Kumano Sanzan (a group of three shrines - Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha) in the southern part of the Kii Peninsula to other locations in the Kansai region, including Osaka and Wakayama. Local guides will lead you along this pilgrimage route, which Japanese people have been walking since ancient times on their way to visit Kumano Sanzan, regarded as a symbolic site to worship nature.
SUP is short for "stand up paddle boarding," an activity which involves paddling along while standing on a surfboard. Lake Okuise is formed by a dam across the river, filled with beautiful water flowing down from the mountains. With no waves, it is the ideal location for everyone to enjoy paddle boarding, even beginners. Lessons are available from spring to fall.
River boarding is an exciting sport that involves riding a body-board down the current of river as it cuts through the mountains. With a unique perspective close to the surface of the spectacular Miya River, you are surrounded by the churning waters for a thrill-packed ride. When you get out, submerge yourself in a natural hot spring and have your fill from a BBQ!
Try locally-grown organic ingredients and produce,
straight from the clear waters of the Miya River and the pristine great outdoors.
Odai is proud to have its own brand of rice unique to the local region. The town's crystal clear water and high quality sedimentary soil produces rice that is particularly delicious. The area has differences in temperature and a rainy climate. Along with special bamboo compost, this produces safe, high quality rice that tastes unlike anything else.
Tea from Odai has long been used in offerings at Ise Grand Shrine, and was singled out as a great tea worthy of the Imperial Family in 1975. The unique sunlight that reaches between the mountains combines with the region's misty climate to produce tea of the highest quality. The local tea is renowned in particular for its richness and sweetness, as the body and nutrients in the leaves melt into the tea.
A product of the fresh waters of the Miya River, ayu sweet fish are aromatic and feature a light taste. Fresh ayu is served in town throughout the season, at restaurants such as Seiryu Chaya. Kanro-ni (ayu stewed in soy sauce and sugar) and other processed ayu are available at establishments such as Okuise Odai roadside station.
Ocha sweets are affordable treats made from the clear waters of Odai and the area's high quality tea leaves. Handmade sweets and desserts are available from as little as \130, including candy, cookies, dacquoise cakes and manju cakes.
Yuzukko is a thirst-quenching, refreshing drink made from yuzu citrus fruit grown locally in Okuise. It crams all of the physical and mental restorative qualities of yuzu into a bottle with cute packaging.
Gensaka Syuzou, a brewery founded in 1805 during the Edo Period, uses cold, crystal clear water from the riverbed of the Miya River to produce carefully hand-crafted sake. As well as being loved by local people, the brewery's finest sake was thrust into the spotlight when it was chosen to be served with meals at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in May 2016.
This roadside station sells luxury products made from the finest and freshest local ingredients, including Odai Burgers made from local venison, and has a range of specialty wooden items and other products handmade by local people. The station provides its own quarantine services, making it the ideal location to buy local produce (quarantine restrictions may vary depending on the product).
Accommodation with hot spring and restaurant facilities. Okuise Forestpia has a full a-la-carte lunch menu. In the evening, it serves French cuisine made with local ingredients and seasonal products from the Kumano Sea. There are various accommodation options, including hotel rooms, cottages and glamping.
Experience a wild, exciting day unlike any other tourist destination,
in a town where people live side-by-side with nature.
The breeze off the mountains acts as nature's air conditioning. Relax in a traditional hot tub, "Goemon Buro," over a real fire, try fishing in nearby streams and enjoy a warm welcome from your hosts. Enjoy nature to its fullest, in a lavish environment surrounded by the forest and water. Other fun experiences include making soba noodles, stone-baked pizza and sweets. After enjoying an outdoor dinner in the wild, including mountain vegetables, ayu sweet fish and gibier, you will have the starry skies all to yourself.
With no houses in the surrounding area, all you can hear is the sound of the river, insects chirping and birds tweeting. At night, lie back in a hand-made traditional hot tub and just look up at the stars. In winter, enjoy mulled wine while warming yourself by an open fire. From camping by the river to luxury glamping, the town offers a range of camping experiences for you to enjoy. "What shall we do next time?" There's always something to look forward to!
Farmhouse in the center of town, available for one group per night. Cook produce that you have picked yourself, play in the river, and have your fill of country life. Perhaps the best feature of the annex guest accommodation is a handmade traditional hot tub, heated over a stone fireplace.
Okuise Forestpia Riverside Village offers an environment where you can easily experience the outdoors. You even get to stay in a cute one-pole tent! With heated rugs and table heaters, you will be perfectly comfortable even in the cold winter! Enjoy BBQ or French cuisine for dinner! After eating, wander along to the neighboring Miyagawa Onsen hot spring to relax your body and mind.
Vehicle-accessible camping ground alongside the Uratani River, a tributary of the Miya River. As well as playing in the river and the pool, and watching fireflies, you can even experience hunting if you like (booking required).
A special experience unlike anywhere else,
surrounded by the world-renowned great outdoors in Japan.
Visit Odai for a chance
to create your own
unique treasured memories!