Shikoku Karst Prefectural Natural Park

Shikoku Karst is a mountain plateau on the border of Ehime Prefecture and Kochi Prefecture with an altitude of around 1,400 meters. This karst plateau extends for about 25 km east to west, and is dotted with white limestone formations (karren) and funnel-shaped sinkholes (dolines). It is one of the three major karst regions in Japan (Shikoku Karst, Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and Hiraodai in Fukuoka Prefecture), and as the highest elevated among them, it offers stunning views of Mount Ishizuchi and other surrounding mountains. The gentle slopes of these mountains are home to a host of different scenery, with fresh verdure in spring, alpine plants in summer, pampas grass and autumnal leaves in fall, and snowscapes in winter. The natural beauty of each season will take your breath away. The ground is littered with limestone formations exposed through erosion, and the area is also famed as a pasturage for dairy cattle. The many cattle roaming the landscape only add to its idyllic character. A spectacular panoramic vista stretches out before your eyes, and at night the sky fills with twinkling stars. There are also a variety of walkways through the area, including a "woodland therapy road" carpeted with cypress chips that offers a unique charm. A visit here will undoubtedly soothe both body and soul. Early in the morning in November and December, vast swathes of the mountainous area are often submerged in mist and stratus cloud, making the peaks appear as islands in a sea of fog. In the right conditions, this fantastical landscape stretches out as far as the eye can see.

How to get there

About 110 minutes from Kochi by car via Susaki Interchange

Address: Yoshiunootsu, Tsuno, Takaoka, Kochi Prefecture

Airport: Kochi Airport

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