Did you know that Shimantogawa (四万十川) or the Shimanto River is also the longest river in Shikoku?
Where is Shimantogawa, Kochi?
Shimantogawa (四万十川) or the Shimanto River is a 196-kilometer stretch found in the western area of Japan’s Kochi Prefecture.
Its Japanese kanji characters mean it’s “Japan’s last remaining limpid stream”.
Visitors will see the connection between this river and the local populace as both elements celebrate harmony with nature!
The transparent streams help residents and visitors experience natural tranquility to heal the mind and soul.
Stop by its shore to calm yourself from the hustles-and-bustles of work and school.
The area has no dams with only a few river embankments found along its route.
You will hear the rustling of the leaves on a sunny day to help you relax.
Aside from the flora, you can also see over 200 species of wildlife in the area!
This place is also home to freshwater eel and shrimp! Ahhh food, again!
Watersport enthusiasts may also enjoy different activities like canoeing and rafting.
There are also local pleasure cruises and trains that run along the area if you want to take the scenic route.
How to Travel to Shimantogawa?
You can choose from different ways to travel to Shimantogawa.
However, perhaps the most popular travel method to reach this scenic river is by train.
To get to this place, you can start by going to Kochi Station.
In here, take the Dosan Line to Nakamura Station.
But, if you’re going to Shimantogawa from Osaka, the train ride is roughly 40-minutes via the shinkansen.
Also, the stop from Osaka Station is Okayama Station.
Then, you need to take the JR Seto-Ohashi Dosan Line to reach Kochi Station.
Now, the entire trip takes about two hours and 30-minutes to complete if you come from Osaka Station.
It might be best to take a rest in the train or enjoy the lush greeneries passing through the window while you’re on the train.
Conversely, it’s also a good idea to buy and eat a delicious snack or eki ben (駅弁 ) if you’re hungry.
Again guys, food! 🙂
When is the Best Time to Visit Shimantogawa?
Visitors and residents can experience Shimantogawa during the clear seasons to enjoy its rich, tranquil surroundings.
For instance, travel here from mid-March to early April to see the Cherry Blossoms bloom.
With that in mind, Shimantogawa has a rich selection of flowers to view throughout the year.
You can also travel here in late April to see the Wisterias blossom at Kosanji Wisteria Park.
While it’s best to visit this place in the Spring or Summer seasons, it doesn’t mean that Shimantogawa is quiet during the Fall and Winter months.
For example, you can enjoy and perhaps taste delicious sweetfish on December 1st.
This date is the Opening of the Ochi Ayu (sweetfish) season.
The last Saturday of August is also the Shimanto Firework Display.
Marvel in awe as the sky lights up with differently-colored fireworks!
What are the Things to do in Shimantogawa, Kochi?
Many people consider this long stretch of water to be the most pristine and unspoiled river in the country.
The lush forests and clear waters in the area don’t pass through any major metropolis area.
Its peaceful surroundings don’t mean it lacks activities and festivities for you to enjoy.
In fact, there are plenty of things to enjoy all-year-round.
Here are a few things to do while you’re enjoying your stay in Shimantogawa.
1. Cross the River
Upon reaching Shimantogawa, you may notice several footbridges that connect the different shores.
Connecting these locations are long footbridges which you can cross by bicycle or foot.
However, you might find a few of these bridges to be longer than initially anticipated.
So, riding a bike might be more preferable than crossing the footbridges on, well, foot. Hehe 🙂
You might also notice there’s an absence of handrails for all of these bridges.
This design is intentional as it helps prevent damage to these bridges in the event of floods.
You may also sit by the side of these bridges if you’re looking for a place to relax or enjoy the scenery.
2. Shimantogawa Swimming Marathon
Do you pride yourself as an excellent swimmer?
If so, then head to this river in the Kochi Prefecture on the 1 st Sunday of August.
It’s also the only swimming marathon event in the entire country.
So, expect a lot of competitors to join you at this event!
3. Daimonji Okuribi
Not a fan of being wet?
If that’s the case, then how about enjoying a bit of heat to warm your soul?
Visit Shimantogawa on July 16 (following the ancient calendar).
At night on this date, the Judaijiyama transforms into a colorful red blaze as the residents start a bonfire to symbolize the end of summer.
Visitors from all over the country (and perhaps the rest of the world) visit Shimantogawa for this seasonal attraction.
4. Pay Homage to the Tachibana Portable Shrine
You can find many Japanese temples on large properties.
However, there are unique shrines that bring the deities to you, so to speak.
On October 29, the Yasaka Shrine of the Tachibana district brings a parade float carrying the holy deity before it returns to the Shiroiwa Shrine.
5. Visit Tourist Spots
Shimantogawa is also home to different tourist spots.
- The grave of Yamauchi Masatoyo
- Fuba Hachiman Shrine
- Tombo Okoku (The Dragonfly Kingdom)
- The Tosa Seinan Great Park
- The Sanson Health Center
Aside from visiting these tourist spots, enjoy the delicious food and beverages native to Shimantogawa.
Tasty sake (Japanese rice wine), Inaka-zushi, and wild eel await your hungry stomach.
Tips When Visiting Shimantogawa
You might be visiting Shimantogawa for the first time.
Otherwise, you might want to return to this peaceful place because of the fond memories you created while in this area.
Nonetheless, here are five tips to help make your visit in Shimantogawa more memorable:
1. Rent a bike to take a tour of the area. If you don’t own a bike, you can rent one in various
Shimantogawa bike rental shops.
2. Take a tour group with other people and enjoy a cruise if you’re new to the area.
3. You can go camping along the Shimantogawa riverbanks.
4. Eat and drink to your heart’s content with the many food and beverages native to
5. Spend your time in Shimantogawa with a friend, relative, or significant other to make the trip
Stay tuned for the next post which will illustrate some of the things i did on my last trip there!
Share your memories when you visited Shimantogawa or what you think you’d do first in a comment below!
did i miss anything? if you went to Kochi what would you do first? lmk in the comments!