Limestone sculpted by natural phenomena

Rock Formation of a Married Couple

visit west japan, visitwestjapan, okayama prefecture
Photographer | Takuma Kimura

Rock and stone has played a big part in the industry of northwestern Okayama Prefecture, specifically in Takahashi and Niimi City. Limestone in particular, has been mined for industrial purposes for centuries in the region. However, as the cultural tradition of this area predate industry, there are ancient myths that supersede economic utility.

Located on a scenic plateau near Fukiya Village, the limestone rock formation of Meoto-iwa resemble a couple overlooking the Nariwa River. Two large masses of limestone were sculpted by nature, to resemble a man and a woman holding a child.

As a symbol for family, the eroded stones are thought to celebrate marriage. During autumn, the flame-colored foliage contrasts with the limestone of the Meoto-iwa, creating a sight to see with the Nariwa River in the background.

Of course, if you are in the area you should also visit other cultural sites such as the Tadao Ando designed Nariwa Museum of Art and compare the refined beauty of modern art with the raw beauty of nature.

Access:  From JR Okayama Station, take the JR Hakubi Line to JR Bitchu Takahashi Station. Then take the Bihoku Bus bound for Nariwa Town. Take either a Nariwa or Bihoku Taxi to Meoto-iwa (about 25 minutes).


Takahashi City is a small municipality along the Takahashi River and is notable for is historic buildings and wonderful townscape. The standout structure of he city is Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, which is located high in the mountains. There are also former samurai residences, a temple and a historic church.

Nariwa Town is part of Takahashi City and is about a twenty minute bus ride away. Although the city center has a lot to offer there is much to see in the surrounding towns and villages. Nariwa is a quiet old town with a landscape that is stunning at any time of the year.

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