The Niyodo River in Shikoku is one of Japan's most beautiful rivers. It is known for the clarity of its water, which has such a distinctive aquamarine color that it's become known in Japan as "Niyodo Blue". Sara Ariafar explores the river and the surrounding forests. She meets with people living in the area. And she joins them as they relax with midsummer pastimes.
The lush green foliage, transparent aquamarine blue water and white granite rock make this one of the most beautiful valleys in Ehime Prefecture. By car it takes over 2.5 hours from the main cities of Ehime or Kochi prefectures. Visitors are recommended to take an extra jacket, even in summer, as the temperature in the Omogokei Valley does not climb above 20℃.
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The waterfall lies deep in the mountains of Kochi Prefecture. The only way to reach it from the road is to lower yourself down the steep slope using the rope provided. It takes about 5 minutes to reach the bottom. Visitors are advised to wear shoes with soles that have a strong grip. The road to the waterfall is very narrow, so extra care is needed when driving.
The peak of this mountain is 793 meters above sea level. A road leads up to close to the summit. There is also a network of hiking trails. The best season for finding bioluminescent fungi is June and July. The road to the top of the mountain is very narrow, so extra care is needed.
This café is located in an area that is famous for its green tea. Because it is close to the river, this is a wonderful place to relax. It specializes in serving sweets made with green tea from the nearby plantations.
This valley is the best place to see the crystal-clear water known as Niyodo Blue. In autumn, the trees in the virgin forests along the river are known for their beautiful fall foliage. There is a restaurant and inn in the valley called Horai-so.
Additional Tourist Information
For more details on tourism in the Niyodo River Basin, please visit the website:
The best way to explore the Niyodo River Basin is by taxi or rental cars, as bus services are very limited. It is often more economical to hire a tourist taxi rather than using a regular taxi.
To reach the Niyodo River Basin from Tokyo, it is best to fly to Kochi Airport (about 90 minutes). From the center of Kochi City, take the JR Dosan railway line to Ino Station or Sakawa Station. The best way to get around the Niyodo River area is by taxi or rent car.
Every year, a stone-skipping competition is held at the river. Some local people have been doing this pastime since they were children. I never thought throwing stones could be this much fun. I will never forget lying in the cool river water in the middle of the forest. There was no sound and no movement - only nature around me. When I opened my eyes, I could see the beautiful blue sky framed by the green leaves of the trees like a circle and sunshine on my face. It was a very profound moment for me. There is so much to think about in this area. If you are a nature lover and looking for fresh river and mountain food, if you are willing to communicate with warmhearted and peaceful people, then the Niyodo River is highly recommended. I am sure you will return with wonderful memories.