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FeatureMagnificent Panorama, UFO Line, “the Road in the Sky”

Magnificent Panorama, UFO Line, “the Road in the Sky”

Through the Ridges of Shikoku

The UFO Line which runs along the mountain ridges of Shikoku is a drive course known as the "Road in the Sky."
This mountain road became famous a few years ago because it was used as a filming location for automobile commercials.
When you drive on this straight road which stretches to the sky, you will experience a breathtaking series of superb views. The secret of the highway’s popularity is that you can easily enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery of nature by driving or climbing to your heart’s content.


What is the UFO Line?

What is the UFO Line?

The "UFO Line" is a nickname for the town road" Kamegamori Line" with its winding manner which runs along the ridge of the Ishizuchi Mountains straddling both Ehime and Kochi Prefectures. The total length is about 27km from the entrance at Mt. Kanpu Trail in Ino Town, Kochi Prefecture, to the Tsuchigoya (end point of the Ishizuchi Skyline Road) in Kumakogen Town, Ehime Prefecture, at an altitude of 1,150m to 1,700m. It is said that the name UFO (pronounced you-foe in Japanese) comes from the "Yuho Line" which overlooks the magnificent peaks and is also associated with many UFO sightings.

Travel Tips

Travel Tips

On the town road, the " Kamegamori Line Gate" in Ino Town is set as the 0 point, and numbers 0 to 26 are assigned every 1 km, so these road marking numbers are useful in finding your location when moving along.

Location of road marker numbers 〉


The Secret of the Superb View

The UFO Line runs around the summit of the Ishizuchi Mountains and around the 7th station. Thus, the famous peaks of the Ishizuchi mountain system rise in front of you, and you can see the Shikoku Mountains in a panoramic view below, and on a clear day you can see as far as the Pacific Ocean and the Seto Inland Sea. In addition, the timberline of Shikoku is around 1,500 m above sea level and tall trees do not grow above that, so the ridgeline is covered with bamboo grass giving it the appearance of a beautiful green carpet. Along the UFO Line, there are places where dynamic scenery suddenly appears and takes your breath away. The sense of scale and exhilaration are exceptional.

The Secret of the Superb View

Tastes of Four Seasons

The nature of the four seasons, such as the sea of clouds, hoarfrost, alpine plants and autumn leaves, also attracts visitors. Before and after “the Golden Week” of holidays in early May, azaleas and rhododendrons bloom red and pink, and fresh verdure shines brightly on the mountains. In July and August, Shikokufuuro (Geranium sikojianum) and yamaajisai (hydrangea settata) show their faces, and in mid-October, the colorful autumn leaves dye the mountainside with various shades depending on their altitude. By the end of autumn, you may come across a collaboration between autumn leaves and hoarfrost. The traffic is heavy during the clear days of the autumn foliage season, so drive with taking plenty of time and space in mind. The UFO Line is closed during the winter.

Tastes of Four Seasons

Climbing a Famous Mountain with a Great View

The UFO Line offers a variety of activities such as touring, cycling, mountaineering and hiking. In particular for mountain climbing, the good access to parking lots along the UFO line allows you to park your car and reach the various famous peaks of 1,700m class mountains in varying time frames of minutes to several hours. Moreover, there is the exceptional charm that many of these peaks have outstanding panoramas.
From the east, we recommend Mt. Iyo Fuji, Higashi-kuromori, Jinengo-no-kashira, Kamegamori, and Mt. Ibuki. In particular, “Kamegamori (1,897m),” one of the 300 most famous mountains in Japan, is very popular due to its gracefulness for which it is praised as a "heavenly paradise" owing to its unique landscape resembling that in Europe. If you are new to mountaineering, why not try Kamegamori first.

About Mountain Climbing 〉

Climbing a Famous Mountain with a Great View

Touring and Cycling

This road is also popular for touring and cycling enthusiasts.Especially in the summer, you often meet groups of friends traveling by bike. There are also people who ferry their bicycles to Mt. Kanpu Trailhead Parking Lot, Tsuchigoya, or Kamegamori Parking Lot and cycle the UFO Line from there. If you run in unison with the wind that blows along the ridge, you will find comfort and make discoveries that you cannot experience in a car. Sorayama Ishizuchi has a facility where you can rent touring bikes.

Touring and Cycling

UFO Line map

If you are viewing this on a computer, click thephoto spot icon orballoon to display the photos. For smartphones and tablets, the photos are displayed at the bottom of the map, so please have a look there.


UFO Line map UFO Line map
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    Hand-drilled Tunnel

    AHand-drilled Tunnel

    There are several tunnels in the UFO Line hollowed out of the mountains. At road marker numbers 5 to 6 there are cave-like hand-dug tunnels. In the fall, tunnels surrounded by autumn leaves appear.

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    Mt. Iyo Fuji (1,756m)

    BMt. Iyo Fuji (1,756m)

    One of the 300 most famous mountains in Japan. You can reach the summit in about an hour from the west climbing entrance, with the added feature that the large panorama from the summit is quite attractive. If you traverse along the ridge for about 30 minutes, you will come to the neighboring Higashi-kuromori.

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    Higashi-kuromori (1,735m)

    CHigashi-kuromori (1,735m)

    There are two climbing entrances in the east and west, and you can reach the summit in about 35 minutes from the west climbing entrance. The eastern trailhead is the same as the western trailhead of Mt. Iyo Fuji, and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the summit. From the mountain trail to the west of Higashi-kuromori, there are times when you can see the contrast between white and green, with fantastic hoarfrost on the north side and bamboo grass on the south side in the cold season.

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    UFO Line

    DUFO Line

    One spectacular view which represents the UFO Line spreads around the road marker number 11. It is a very popular spot that once became the stage for commercials. If you climb the mountain trail west of Higashi-kuromori for about 5 minutes, you can take pictures of this place from a higher vantagepoint.The visibility changes as you climb the mountain. The beautiful ridgeline appears, and you have a clearer bird's-eye view of the terrain and roads, so you can take photos with greater magnificence and openness.

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    Jinengo-no-kashira (1,701m)

    EJinengo-no-kashira (1,701m)

    It takes about 30 minutes from the trailhead (same as the trailhead to the west of Higashi-kuromori) to the summit. You can see the panoramic UFO Line views in the opposite direction from the view seen from Higashi-kuromori.

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    Kamegamori (1,897m)

    FKamegamori (1,897m)

    The bleached and bony trees and the slope-shaped bamboo grass called "Himi Nisengoku-hara" are famous. Majestic Mt. Ishizuchi stands before you. There are two peaks, Oyama and Meyama. It takes about 1 hour from the trailhead to the summit of Mt. Meyama, and about 20 minutes from the trailhead to Kametsubo, where there is a fresh spring that is the origin of the name of Kamegamori.

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    State of Kamegamori /Komochi-gongen

    GState of Kamegamori /Komochi-gongen

    (Left) You can enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery of Kamegamori. Kamegamori is the highest mountain along the UFO Line.
    (Right) You can view the round, cute Komochi-gongen. (Road marker numbers 17-18)

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    Stately Mt. Ishizuchi

    HStately Mt. Ishizuchi

    The majesty of Mt. Ishizuchi (1,982m), the highest peak in western Japan, is visible from all along the UFO Line. One of the recommended views is that from the summit of Mt. Ibuki and the passing place/turnout between road marker numbers 17 and 18.

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    Mt. Ibuki (1,502m)

    IMt. Ibuki (1,502m)

    You can climb as if you were hiking. It takes about 10 minutes from the trailhead to the summit. You can observe a 360-degree panorama from the top of the mountain, and if the weather is good, you can see as far as the Seto Inland Sea and the city of Saijo. In the cold season, hoarfrost is often seen along the road from Kamegamori to Shirasa Pass.

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    Mt. Kanpu Trailhead

    0Mt. Kanpu Trailhead

    Mt. Kanpu Trailhead is an activity base equipped with toilets, water areas, and parking lots.

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    Headwaters Monument of the Yoshino River

    16Headwaters Monument of the Yoshino River

    There are many rivers on Shikoku that have their headwaters in the Ishizuchi Mountains, such as the Yoshino River, the Niyodo River, the Kuma River, the Kamo River, and the Kokuryo River.

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    Kamegamori Parking Lot

    17Kamegamori Parking Lot

    The parking lot is large and crowded with climbers to Kamegamori.

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    Tsuchigoya

    26Tsuchigoya

    Tsuchigoya, the end of the UFO Line, is a mountain climbing base to Mt. Ishizuchi and Mt. Iwakuro. Here you will find Ishizuchi Shrine Youhaiden, a souvenir shop, an inn, and a large parking lot, which is especially busy during the touring season.

cameraFinding Highlights and Photo Spots

The UFO Line is full of camera-friendly spots. The expression of the mountain changes depending on the season, weather, and time, so carve out your favorite scenery in the manner you like.

  • Hand-drilled Tunnel

    AHand-drilled Tunnel

    There are several tunnels in the UFO Line hollowed out of the mountains. At road marker numbers 5 to 6 there are cave-like hand-dug tunnels. In the fall, tunnels surrounded by autumn leaves appear.

  • Mt. Iyo Fuji (1,756m)

    BMt. Iyo Fuji (1,756m)

    One of the 300 most famous mountains in Japan. You can reach the summit in about an hour from the west climbing entrance, with the added feature that the large panorama from the summit is quite attractive. If you traverse along the ridge for about 30 minutes, you will come to the neighboring Higashi-kuromori.

  • Higashi-kuromori (1,735m)

    CHigashi-kuromori (1,735m)

    There are two climbing entrances in the east and west, and you can reach the summit in about 35 minutes from the west climbing entrance. The eastern trailhead is the same as the western trailhead of Mt. Iyo Fuji, and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the summit. From the mountain trail to the west of Higashi-kuromori, there are times when you can see the contrast between white and green, with fantastic hoarfrost on the north side and bamboo grass on the south side in the cold season.

  • UFO Line

    DUFO Line

    One spectacular view which represents the UFO Line spreads around the road marker number 11. It is a very popular spot that once became the stage for commercials. If you climb the mountain trail west of Higashi-kuromori for about 5 minutes, you can take pictures of this place from a higher vantagepoint.The visibility changes as you climb the mountain. The beautiful ridgeline appears, and you have a clearer bird's-eye view of the terrain and roads, so you can take photos with greater magnificence and openness.

  • Jinengo-no-kashira (1,701m)

    EJinengo-no-kashira (1,701m)

    It takes about 30 minutes from the trailhead (same as the trailhead to the west of Higashi-kuromori) to the summit. You can see the panoramic UFO Line views in the opposite direction from the view seen from Higashi-kuromori.

  • Kamegamori (1,897m)

    FKamegamori (1,897m)

    The bleached and bony trees and the slope-shaped bamboo grass called "Himi Nisengoku-hara" are famous. Majestic Mt. Ishizuchi stands before you. There are two peaks, Oyama and Meyama. It takes about 1 hour from the trailhead to the summit of Mt. Meyama, and about 20 minutes from the trailhead to Kametsubo, where there is a fresh spring that is the origin of the name of Kamegamori.

  • State of Kamegamori /Komochi-gongen

    GState of Kamegamori /Komochi-gongen

    (Left) You can enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery of Kamegamori. Kamegamori is the highest mountain along the UFO Line.
    (Right) You can view the round, cute Komochi-gongen. (Road marker numbers 17-18)

  • Stately Mt. Ishizuchi

    HStately Mt. Ishizuchi

    The majesty of Mt. Ishizuchi (1,982m), the highest peak in western Japan, is visible from all along the UFO Line. One of the recommended views is that from the summit of Mt. Ibuki and the passing place/turnout between road marker numbers 17 and 18.

  • Mt. Ibuki (1,502m)

    IMt. Ibuki (1,502m)

    You can climb as if you were hiking. It takes about 10 minutes from the trailhead to the summit. You can observe a 360-degree panorama from the top of the mountain, and if the weather is good, you can see as far as the Seto Inland Sea and the city of Saijo. In the cold season, hoarfrost is often seen along the road from Kamegamori to Shirasa Pass.

  • Mt. Kanpu Trailhead

    0Mt. Kanpu Trailhead

    Mt. Kanpu Trailhead is an activity base equipped with toilets, water areas, and parking lots.

  • Headwaters Monument of the Yoshino River

    16Headwaters Monument of the Yoshino River

    There are many rivers on Shikoku that have their headwaters in the Ishizuchi Mountains, such as the Yoshino River, the Niyodo River, the Kuma River, the Kamo River, and the Kokuryo River.

  • Kamegamori Parking Lot

    17Kamegamori Parking Lot

    The parking lot is large and crowded with climbers to Kamegamori.

  • Tsuchigoya

    26Tsuchigoya

    Tsuchigoya, the end of the UFO Line, is a mountain climbing base to Mt. Ishizuchi and Mt. Iwakuro. Here you will find Ishizuchi Shrine Youhaiden, a souvenir shop, an inn, and a large parking lot, which is especially busy during the touring season.


Useful Information

Parking/Public Toilet
  • Kanpuzan Trailhead parking lot/toilets available
  • Kamegamori parking lot / Public toilets are located a short climb from the trailhead
  • Yosakoi Pass branch parking lot (small).
  • Tsuchigoya parking lot/Public toilets available
Road width / Turnout

There are places where it is difficult for cars going in opposite directions to pass as there is only one lane, however, there are periodic turnouts along the way.

Closed in Winter / Closed to Traffic
  • During the winter season from November 30th to early April, the UFO Line and Ishizuchi Skyline (the road from Tsuchigoya to Matsuyama) will be closed. Please note that the closings may change depending on the weather.
  • Ishizuchi Skyline is closed at night all year round. Passable time is from 7:00 to 18:00 (depending on the season).
  • Yosakoi Pass branch parking lot (small space).
  • The UFO Line is often closed due to landslides and rockfalls, and there are time restrictions due to construction work, so please check in advance.
    Hongawa General Branch Industrial Construction Section, Phone: 088-869-2115
    Inocho Hongawa District Sightseeing / Road Information Facebook
Climate

The temperature is about 7 to 10 degrees lower than at sea level. It can get colder than you think, so bring something warm to wear in case. Also, even if the flat ground is sunny, there are times when gas is emitted on the UFO Line and the visibility becomes only 5m (especially in the afternoon), so check with a live camera before venturing out.
Weather Information / Live Camera | Mt. Ishizuchi / Ishizuchi Mountains Official | Ishizuchi Mountains Collaboration Business Council (ishizuchisankei.com)

Access
  • From Saijo City, Ehime Prefecture / Iyo Saijo IC → R11 → R194 → Go through the Kanpuzan Tunnel and turn left → Kanpuzan Trailhead 《Approximately 35km, Approximately 50 minutes》
  • From Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture / Ino IC → R194 → Turn right before the Kanpuzan Tunnel → Kanpuzan Trailhead 《68km, about 1.5 hours》
  • From Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture / Matsuyama IC → R33 → R494 → Prefectural Road No. 12 → Ishizuchi Skyline (about 30 minutes) → Tsuchigoya 《About 77km, about 1 hour and 45 minutes》

Access 〉

Nearby Shops, etc.

There are no gasoline stations or convenience stores nearby. Be careful not to run out of gas! Water is available here and there. Places where you can eat are Tsuchigoya, Konoka (a road station), and Ichinotani Yakata (a restaurant), etc.

Sightseeing places information 〉

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