While Shimantogawa is perhaps Shikoku's most famous river, the wonderfully clear waters of Niyodogawa hold the title of Japan's purest. This river has a length of 124 km, and ranks alongside Yoshinogawa and Shimantogawa as the third longest in Shikoku. It has been judged as having Japan's highest water quality many times, and its unique blue color is known as Niyodo blue. The headwaters are in the Ishizuchi mountain range, where the tallest peak in Western Japan is found. It is surrounded by virgin forest that sees frequent rain in summer, and is sealed off by snow and ice in the winter. Upstream lies the Omogogawa river, in an area designated as the Ishizuchi Quasi-National Park. This river begins near the Goraiko Falls in the foothills of Mount Ishizuchi, and flows through the Omogo Gorge, a National Scenic Beauty known for its autumnal leaves. At Mimido it merges with the Kumagawa river, which flows from Misaka-toge. Downstream from Ochi its waters grow more plentiful, and in the summertime its banks are packed with campers and fishing enthusiasts. You will often see canoes and fishing boats meandering along its surface, as well as sweetfish and red-spotted salmon frolicking in its waters. This is one of the best examples of the unspoiled landscape of Japan. There are also many remaining examples of large, simple bridges such as Kataoka-bashi and Nagoya-bashi that are designed to be submerged when the water level gets high, and these are popular spots to take photos. Each year in May, a "Paper Carp Streamer" festival is held at the riverside downstream near Niyodogawa-bashi. Tents are always seen standing there between spring and fall. One of the most appealing aspects of this area is it can be reached from Kochi City in just 30 to 40 minutes, making it easy to enjoy river activities such as canoeing or pleasure boating.
30 to 100 minutes by car from Kochi
Address: Tosa, Ino, Hidaka, Sakawa, Ochi, Niyodogawa, etc., Kochi Prefecture
Airport: Kochi Airport