Oya Valley, located 7 km outside of Utsunomiya city, is famous for its bizarre rock country. Once at Utsunomiya, you can buy an Oya 1-day Ticket that covers your bus ride to the Oya Stone Valley as well as admission charges to two chief attractions of Oya, the Oya Stone Museum and the Oya-ji Temple (famous for its counter-relief rock-carved statue of Goddess Kannon, the oldest known stone carving of this Goddess of Mercy in Japan).
The Oya Stone, a kind of white, beige or grayish-brown weather-beaten stone quarried from the rocks of the Sugata River in the valley, is famous throughout the region and as you make your way out of Utsunomiya, you'll find many vintage style buildings made of this stone. And as the bus finally turns into the heart of the Sugata River Valley, you can see for yourself the bizarre rock formations of the quarry.
The Oya-ji Temple is nestled at the very bottom of one of these strange and huge rock formations. Located some 100 km north of Tokyo, we strongly recommend a visit to this place if you want to experience something at lies at a great remove from the usual modern-day attractions of Japan.