Irohazaka Winding Road

Irohazaka Winding Road
Voice Guide of Spot Introduction
Page last updated: Jul, 08, 2019
TOURIST Guide editing dept.
Peter von Gomm

Nikko Irohazaka Winding Road is the nickname of National Highway 120, which goes from Lake Chuzenji to Umakaeshi of Nikko Town. The name Umakaeshi means "returning a horse" and it refers to the steep mountain road that was so steep, they had to turn their horses around. It was in 1954 that Irohazaka was developed as a highway and at that time, there were 48 sharp curves in the road, which is referenced in the song "Iroha 48 Words."

However, with economic growth, the number of cars and sightseeing buses passing through increased rapidly and caused serious traffic jams on the hill. In 1965, a second Irohazaka road was created, branching off from the Umakaeshi and the original road was restricted to in-bound traffic. In addition, even with the rebuilding of the original Irohazaka, the total number of curves remained at 48. The road is still a one way with the signs "I, Ro, Ha" displayed at each curve. You can cruise around the hill and spot these character street signs that can be found nowhere else. Nevertheless, because of the seasonal high traffic congestion problems especially during national holidays and the changing of leaves in the fall, there are rest areas now available mid-route. At the Akechidaira Observatory, a visitor favorite, located on the second Irohazaka, you can see Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji.

Information of Spot Detail


Hosomachi, Nikko-shi, Tochigi, 321-1445, Japan

Telephone Number


Spot Types


Regular Holiday

Open Year Round


Free Admission


From JR Nikko Station, Tobu Railway, take Tobu Nikko Station Tobu Bus, then about a 25 minute ride on the World Heritage Tour Bus

※The written notice and information on this page are as of the date of publication. Please refer or confirm the latest information of each spot on individual introduced website.


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