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Irohazaka Winding Road

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Irohazaka Winding Road

Irohazaka Winding Road

Irohazaka Winding Road consists of a pair of roads that both have exactly 48 hairpin turns. These roads go through the mountainous range of the Okunikko region. The 48 represents the ancient Japanese alphabet that used to start with “i, ro, ha.” At each corner turn there is a sign with a letter from the Japanese alphabet in alphabetical order. Both roads are one way as one goes up and the other one heads down. These two roads were built in 1954 and 1965 as one of the first toll roads in Japan. It was later made toll free. The road that heads upward has an optional stop at the Akechidaira Plateau where an observation deck is located. From the observation deck you can see the valley all around as well as the Irohazaka Winding Road. The road is best enjoyed in the fall season when the trees surrounding the area are painted in autumn hues. It is a popular time to travel in the autumn so it is best to leave early in the morning to go through the roads before the traffic settles in. It is also advised to avoid to the weekends and holidays because the roads will be packed with cars and buses.