Yabakei is a gorge formed by Yamakuni River, and is located about 15 to 25 km south of Nakatsu city on the northern coast of Oita Prefecture.
This gorge was formed by eroding the tuff and lave created since 2.5
million years ago.
The rocks are weak, so complex topography has been formed.
There are many rocky cliffs and caves along the river.
At the entrance of the gorge, there is Yabakei Bridge
across Yamakuni River.
It is 116 meters long and is the Japan's longest arch bridge. It has eight arches.
The bridge was built in 1923, and is designated as a prefectural cultural property.
About 0.5 km ahead, there is Ao-no-doumon.
(The meaning is "Blue Tunnel").
It is a tunnel about 342 meters.
This section is very steep, so many passers had fallen into the river.
In 1730, when priest Zenkai visited Rakanji temple, he decided to create a tunnel here for passers.
He accumulated a fund by alms and hired many masons.
They dug the large rock with only chisel and hammer, then the tunnel was completed in 1763, about 30 years later.
It is a moving story, but there is more to it.
Zenkai charged a toll. And he had enjoyed a life of luxury on the income.
As a result, Ao-no-doumon became the Japan's first toll road.
About 3 km southeast of Ao-no-doumon, there is Rakanji temple on the
It is said that it was founded in 645.
In the caves, over 3,700 stone Buddhas are enshrined.
And in Zenkaido temple in the precincts, the chisels and hammers used to construct Ao-no-doumon are displayed.
The main area of Yabakei is to the south of these spots.
In general, Yabakei has 66 nice scenic views including above spots.
They are mountains, rocks, caves, gorges, small temples, and are seen along Yanakuni River and its tributaries.
Hitome-Hakkei is at the most deepest part in Yabakei, and we can see 8
of 66 sceneries on the view there.
It is about 20 km south of Ao-no-doumon.
From Oita, Beppu and Nakatsu
station, the regular tour bus is operated.
It starts at 8:45 in Oita, at 9:10 in Beppu, and at 10:25 in Nakatsu, and tours around main spots in Yabakei.