There are many spots in Shikoku where you can enjoy the abundant nature, as the area is surrounded by the sea and rich greenery. Here are 5 examples of places to visit to cool down in the summer.
1. Shimanto River
The Shimanto River measures 196km and is the longest river in the Shikoku region. There are many activities to choose from such as camping and riding on a canoe at the river basin, as the area is blessed with a rich quantity of water and breadth. You may also see a number of bridges without any handrails. These bridges were made to be submerged under water during typhoons or heavy rainfall so as not to be destroyed by the currents. The residents of this area still continue to use these bridges in their day to day life and are a common feature of the Shimanto River. You will feel refreshed by crossing this river, as it is surrounded by a blue sky and green mountains.
This water basin has been popular in the recent years for the mysterious spectacle it offers. Here you may find something similar to that of a land of mystery, due to the steep staircase and critical rocky stretch. The water that flows here is leading in transparency within the country and is nicknamed "Niyodo blue." It is also located within the tributary of the Niyodo River. The waters here change from blue to gray depending on the sunlight as well as angle of light itself, which provides a dreamy sight. The water basin is also considered by the people as a distant holy ground, where the water deity manifests itself as a big snake. Please be reminded that you may not go into the water or eat and drink. There are also no toilets. Please visit this place while observing proper manners.
3. Oboke-kyo Gorge
This is an approximately 8km valley that took two hundred million years to create via the torrent of the Yoshino River. You may find spectacular view that manifests the power of nature, due to the bluff of the valley itself that resembles the letter V as well as the sculptures made of marble. This also serves as one of the world-leading rafting spots and is a perfect gathering place for those who love to kayak. You may also avail of the Oboke-kyo pleasure cruiser (back and forth, 30 mins for 1,080 JPY), where you may take in the sight of the dynamic bare and unusually shaped rocks. Please take the time to enjoy the landscape from the river.
4. Naruto Whirlpools
The Naruto whirlpools are one of the world's three biggest currents. It is a natural phenomenon, as the harsh tidal currents occur due to the tidal variations of the Seto Inland Sea as well as that of the Kii Channel. The way the whirling waves create this roaring sound as the water mixes in together is a spectacle. The water on average takes a few seconds to about a few tens of seconds to whirl. The waters may also whirl repeatedly. In order to witness these whirling waves, you may avail of the tide watching pleasure cruiser or watch them from the 45m promenade based on the O-Naruto Bridge. Either option will provide you a strong impression - the cruiser allows you to see the whirlpool from a short distance, while the promenade lets you experience the harsh tide. Please check the tide table ahead of time, as the tides occur at different times depending on the day.
5. Ryugado Cave
Come have an adventure at this dreamy and mysterious limestone cavern. This cave is located within a mountain and the interior is quite chilly. The approximately 1km course (1,100 JPY) has paths that one cannot pass through easily as well as spots where you must pass through while leaning sideways due to the approaching limestone. If you reserve at least a day ahead, you may avail of a course with a navigator (plus 1,000 JPY) whilst wearing a helmet and head lamp. It is recommended to rent a pastern as well as boots (1,000 JPY) as you will have to climb ladders in some places and as your clothes may get dirty in the process. The divine jar near the exit contains the lost possessions of the ancient people from 2000 years ago and is wrapped with limestone. This jar is a symbol of the Ryugado Cave.
Shikoku offers easy access to popular spots via the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge such as the Long Bridge of the Akashi Channel, the Seto Long-Bridge, and the Nishiseto Expressway, which are all connected to one another. Please try visiting Shikoku, where you can enjoy a huge scale of nature!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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