We slowed down to make sure we’d enjoy the Japanese nature and discover my favorite part of this country, the wilder areas. As always, I’ll take you with me to show you this refreshing part of Japan. Deep breath, let’s go!
Yakatabune boat trip on the river
Shimanto-gawa is a 196km-long river, the longest in Shikoku, well-known for its extremely pure and clear water. We could have chosen a canoe-kayak but we took the most traditional way, the yakatabune.
This traditional Japanese barge was created during the Edo period and was used as a private boat for the shoguns (the ancestor of the private yacht!). When we get inside the yakatabune, we can admire all the views at the same time while enjoying a good meal on a long table, comfortably seated on pillows placed on the tatami.
This boat trip was recommended by the owners of our housing that I’ll describe at the end of this article. The wharf was not really easy to find (especially since I can’t remember the exact address but the company name was called “Yakatabune Sakoya”) : anyway, just go to the Shimanto tourist office or show a picture of this article to local people, they will help you out.
The guide/boatman of the day, called Hideaki, was very talkative, even though he wasn’t speaking a word of English (thank you google translate for helping us out). Only us and a couple of tourists from Hong-Kong on the boat : and we enjoyed this small committee!
That being so, Hideki explained to us that the water wasn’t really clear that season because of the rain and that the best was winter time to enjoy the best clarity. He proved it by showing us a photo album while telling us some stories about «celebrities» as he was very proud to pose with Kumamon, the mascot of the Kumamoto prefecture or Kyushu island.
We also discovered the chinkabashi (submersible bridges) hanging over the river, built without a fence, in order to resist the bad weather and flooding.
As always, Japanese know how to compose with their weaknesses to better adapt to the caprice of nature.
We visited this dragonfly park early in the morning, and once again we were almost the only tourists to be there. It’s in a very quiet ambiance that we freely strolled around the water lilies and dragonflies.
74 species can be watched along the year : we only saw a few of them in their natural habitat but it was very relaxing to experience this show.
The park also had a museum with insects and a small souvenir shop where benefits are intended to preserve the dragonfly species.
Savour Shimantoya eel
(SHIMANTOYA 2494-1 Yamachi, Shimanto, Kochi 787-0157) This restaurant is apparently the most popular to savour a bento with eels freshly fished in the Shimanto river.
We had a beautiful lunch with a view on the river. The caramelized eels and shrimps were delicious… and eating all of these seated on a tatami made this experience even better (…or painful, depending how flexible you are!).
The restaurant has been featured in a manga comic book !
Our small house in Shimanto
If you want to see a full home tour of this housing in Shimanto, please check out my Instagram highlight stories called “Shikoku”: all I am saying is not very reliable but everyone who likes the french show « La Maison France 5 » might agree. More seriously, this small house was just the perfect location in the region… and the adorable owners advised us for dinner places, grocery shopping and what to visit around : we almost thought we were locals!
We did some grocery shopping in the supermarket nearby and prepared big and yummy breakfasts that you can see on the picture above.
VSo here is the address, if you want to stop by for a night or two in the region: Shimanto river house Yuube-Tei (2082-7 Fuba Kamimachi, Shimanto – 787-0018 SHIMANTO). Here is also their website and their instagram page: say hi from me!
On the road to Matsuyama !
After this break into nature, here we are again, on the road on the way to Matsuyama. Before telling you all about this city full of charm, here is a quick look at the temples we visited on the way between Shimanto and Matsuyama : the 39, 40, 41, 42 et 43 (Enkō-ji, Kanjizai-ji, Ryūkō-ji, Butsumuko-ji et Meiseki-ji) … And there are the 5 new calligraphies on my Nokyocho !
I hope you enjoyed the destination today that was for us one of the most beautiful reconnection with nature… before going back to an urban landscape in the next city of Matsuyama : see you soon! (English translation by Quiterie)