curious about what Japan looks like outside of the major cities? here’s a few things i did on my last trip to kochi prefecture in Shikoku Japan.
Go to Kochi Japan, and perhaps it will change you
If there’s anything that’s changed me more in my life in terms of my perspectives and also helping me to mature and become more worldly, I would say it’s travel.
I mean how else can you feel like a baby, eyes wide open where everything seems new and fresh, and interesting, and confusing. And even the simplest things like not being able to communicate, or resigning to hand gestures to communicate, for example, pointing and facial expressions to express your confusion, just like when you’re a little baby.
Going on a trip to a foreign country may help you to relive similar experiences, or maybe even relive experiences as an adult similar to when you were a child and were a little bit more in need of other people’s help.
The countryside in Japan is actually one of my favorite regions in Japan to visit.
And there’s many reasons.
Some of which I’m going to be sharing with you in this video
A few years ago, my girlfriend and I went to shikoku and had about a week there where we spent some time exploring the region.
We rented a car and drove around, ate a lot of delicious food, and had a great time.
Here are some of the things that we really had a fun time doing.
Go Paragliding at Agawa Sky Park
The first thing that we did was paragliding. That was at the top of my list because If you don’t know what paragliding is, it’s basically a parachute which you’re strapped onto, and you jump off of a hill or mountain, and you let the wind carry you. And you just hang on there and you float around.
And the cool thing about what we did in Shikoku was that it’s a Taiken. It’s an experience.
You get to do it yourself, even though you don’t have a license, which you may want to consider getting if you enjoy it as much as we did.
But you’re able to basically run off of the hill with your parachute and float. And we got a pretty good amount of airtime for our first few times. We were a little bit nervous that we weren’t going to be able to do it because when we got there early in the morning, it wasn’t windy
But luckily, the wind did pick up a little bit and we were able to get a few rounds of flight in. Give that a thought if you are considering going to Kochi as one of your first things to do.
The paragliding was at Agawa Sky Park.
You need to make reservations ahead of time because it’s run by I think just one guy.
You’re probably going to need to speak Japanese. If you can’t speak Japanese, you might need somebody like a tour guide or somebody to help you with the translation.
And if for whatever reason, if you’re scared of heights or you don’t want to go paragliding, another thing that you can do, which is very traditional, especially if you’re going to be visiting Japan.
Everybody should do this…
Enjoy an Outdoor Onsen (hot water bath) at Yunomori
An Onsen experience!
Or a hot water bath. And there’s various types of onsen.
There’s indoor, there’s also outdoor, which are known as rotenburo.
Depending on where you go, they might be in some very scenic locations, such as on the shores of an island.
We went in Sakurajima near Nagasaki, in the middle of the forest. Kind of like what this one was.
This experience was at Yunomori. And this is right next to the paragliding place.
If you wanted to, you could do both on the same day, just like we did. And you get a beautiful view of the forest.
And it’s super-scenic. It’s super-quiet because it’s in the countryside and the water is warm, and fresh, and very relaxing
In addition to the Yunomori onsen, they also have a restaurant.
If you wanted to, you could stay there overnight.
They serve us teishoku, or set meals for lunch and dinner, and also breakfast.
But we had a lunch there. It was a very delicious, regional cuisine, and highly recommended.
Go Hiking in the Nakatsu Gorge
In addition, to the paragliding and the onsen experience at Yunomori right next to those two places, there is the Nakatsu Keikoku or the Nakatsu Gorge in the same region.
It’s like a Canyon, I guess you can call it. And if you’re into hiking Gorges where there’s a lot of rivers, and waterfalls and stuff like that where you’re going into a canyon and exploring, that’s what this region is famous for. And you can do that as well.
We explored a little bit, some of the waterfalls there. It was very peaceful, well-shaded. So you’re not really in the sun. But a little bit slippery, Be mindful of that.
If you are going to be going there during the rainy season, you might want to be mindful of that.
But it’s very beautiful, very scenic and highly recommended, especially with the color of the water, which that whole region is famous for.
They’ve got very, very colorful waters. And on the hike you might see some of the gods or the little statues that may be protecting and watching over you as you hike.
Go Bike Riding along the Shimantogawa (river)
Depending on the area that you’re in, there may or may not be bikes for rent. But one of the most popular places to get a bike and to bike around is on the Shimantogawa, which is the Shimanto river. And it’s a very long river.
It goes for many, many kilometers. And you can rent a bike at the station in Shimanto town. I forgot how much it cost but they have different types of bicycles. They have a manual bike and they have an electric bike.
If you want a little bit of an easier time in terms of pedaling, I’d recommend that you get the electric bike because we did not, and we were regretting not getting the electric bike, especially as we neared some of the hills further along the river. Definitely keep that in mind.
Get the electric bike if you are going to be doing this and you’ll have an amazing time exploring the area!
And they’ll give you a map and tell you all the different sites and stops, places that you can stop and take a look at. Some of which are very, very beautiful and scenic. Definitely worth a picture, maybe even instagramable as well.
Go River Rafting on the Shimantogawa (river)
Because we were there in the early spring, the water was a little bit cold so this wasn’t something that we were too keen on doing. But this is something that we would definitely be doing in the summer time so that we can get out on the water.
If you’ve never gone river rafting, it’s a super peaceful way to explore a river as well as a region by just floating down. Maybe there’ll be some gentle rapids.
It’s not going to be intense or crazy rapids that are gonna throw you off of the raft. It’s gonna be relatively mild and that’s definitely something that I would consider doing on my next trip, as well as surfing.
You guys know that i’m a big surfer. And the shores of Shikoku and Kochi in this particular area have a lot of beaches for surfing. They’re not going to be coral or reef breaks. They’re just going to be beach breaks, for the most part.
And the waves looked pretty mellow from what I saw when we were driving by. A lot of long borders, and definitely another thing that you can consider doing, especially during warmer weather, like during the summer.
Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese teas now in stock!!
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Go Scuba Diving in Kochi Prefecture
I’m also a scuba diver. I have my advanced PADI Certification. I have over just over 100 dives under my belt, and diving is one of the things I also love doing.
In this particular case, I did not get a chance to go diving because we’re a little bit short on time. But some of the diving is supposed to be pretty nice, especially if you are able to get some good visibility depending on the time of the year, all the currents and such.
Are you surprised that Japan has so many outdoor activities? That’s the best part of traveling, isn’t it?
For example, when you’ve found something new and experienced, something that you’re going to remember for the rest of your life, which changes your beliefs, maybe your perspectives, the way that you see things.
Kind of like hitting the reset button over and over and over again. Reset, reset, reset, reset. At least that’s how I feel each time I take a trip overseas and experience something different.
kochi japan | what you MUST DO in Kochi Prefecture Japan (Itinerary) video
What about you? did i miss anything? what do you enjoy about travel? if you went to Kochi what would you do first? lmk in the comments!
PS in need of some new books or audiobooks for your next trip? check out what i’ve been reading recently here