Kanoto Iwa

  • Grade context: US
  • Ascents: 4
  • Aka: 神戸岩




A south east facing limestone crag with ~20 routes in the 5.9 to 5.12a range. The crag is mostly shaded by trees. Some routes suffer from seepage. Access by 15 minute walk uphill.


A compact limestone wall covered in tufas and jugs. Generally good rock, although the rock at the tops and the extremities of the crag can be friable. Routes up to ~25 m.

Some of the tufas and pockets seep after rain, so best to time your visit after a few days of dry weather. Climbing possible through summer due to the shady nature of the crag, but mosquitoes can be a nuisance in that season so bring repellent.

Access issues inherited from Japan

Some spots have access issues as many spots near crowded places elsewhere. So please ensure you follow the recommendations of local climbers and behave responsibly.


By car: drive up the Akigawa valley on route 33 to Hinohara Village, then turn right at the traffic lights onto route 205. Head up this for 3.5 km then turn right onto a side road immediately before a big blue bridge over the Akigawa River (signposted Kanoto Iwa). Drive 500 m up the side road to the Akigawa International Trout Fishing Ground (秋川マス釣り場). Park here - 500 yen per day.

Walk further up the side road, passing a toilet block on your left (nearest toilet to the crag), until it is possible to cross the river using a small red road bridge. Turn immediately left, walk 10 m and then turn right a follow a small path heading steeply uphill on the right side of the concrete storm gulley. Walk up this path for 5 minutes until you reach a very small shrine on the right. Continue steeply uphill, then the path heads off left into the forest. Continue following this until you reach the base of the crag (5 mins from the small shrine).

Public transport: Take the JR Itsukaichi Line to its terminus, Musashi Itsukaichi. Take bus 18 from stop 1 in front of the station for ~30 mins to Kanoto Iwa Iriguchi (神戸岩入口) bus stop and alight. This places you at the side road off route 205 described above. Walk up this road for 10 mins to the Akigawa International Trout Fishing Ground, then follow directions as above.

Ethic inherited from Japan

There`s not a lot of information about climbing in Japan in English. Much of the information is only available in Japanese - or of course here on theCrag!

The Japan Free Climbing Association ( is a good point of contact and there is a set of 5 guidebooks (all in Japanese) and an alpine guide book in English available covering all of Japan and its thousands of sport and trad routes and boulders.


History timeline chart

Routes developed in the 1990s.



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Grade Route

A pointless route on a scraggy bit of rock. Rakko is Ainu for sea otter.

FA: Eiji Miike (三池英治)

FA: Fuyuo Natori (名取冬男)

Harinezumi is a hedgehog.

FA: Kazuyuki Igawa (井川和行)

The warm-up of the crag, but actually a very good route compared to typical limestone 5.9s.

FA: Kazuyuki Igawa (井川和行)

Not quite as good as Armadillo, but good nonetheless. Name means round jug.

FA: Fuyuo Natori (名取冬男)

Yotarō is a character in traditional Japanese "Rakugo" folk tales.

FA: Fuyuo Natori (名取冬男)

Climb out the start and follow good holds all the way to the top.

FA: Satoshi Kobayashi (小林敏)

The direct start to Willy Hidari climbs a "tricky" boulder problem past the first bolt. A stick clip is handy for pre-clipping this. 5.11b? Only in Japan...

FA: Satoshi Kobayashi (小林敏)

FA: Masato Hasegawa (長谷川雅人)

Open the curtains on this route by following the right hand line after the fifth bolt of Hasegawa Route.

FA: Satoshi Kobayashi (小林敏)

Otoshibumi is an attelabidae (insect).

FA: Satoshi Kobayashi (小林敏)

FA: Ryōichi Ishiyama (石山良一)

Name means hay fever.

FA: Yoshihiro Nanbara (南原義博)

FA: Fuyuo Natori (名取冬男)

Name is onomatopoeia for the sound of something splashing into a large body of water.

FA: Fuyuo Natori (名取冬男)

A variation to Bubbles starting up the wall left of the ramp. Very high first bolt - take extreme care or stick clip it.

FA: Ryōichi Ishiyama (石山良一)

FA: Satoshi Kobayashi (小林敏)

A route squeezed in between Bubbles and Waribashi.

FA: Fuyuo Natori (名取冬男)

Waribashi are disposable chopsticks. This route features two nice, parallel, tufas.

FA: Satoshi Kobayashi (小林敏)

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