comscore Shikoku festival full of activities for thrill-seekers | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Shikoku festival full of activities for thrill-seekers

                                Tourists enjoy rafting down the Yoshino River in Otoyo, Japan.


    Tourists enjoy rafting down the Yoshino River in Otoyo, Japan.

KOCHI >> The Tosa Reihoku Festival in Shikoku, held in the northern Kochi Prefecture renowned for its majestic natural scenery, comprises a wide range of outdoor activities through the end of the year.

The Reihoku area includes the towns of Tosa, Motoyama and Otoyo, and the village of Okawa. It includes Sameura Dam — dubbed Shikoku’s “water jug” — the crystal-clear Yoshino River and a portion of the Shikoku Mountains. The area provides the perfect setting for river rafting, mountain trekking and canoeing.

Besides outdoor activities, the festival has been celebrating the area’s food and culture since July, and the goings- on will run through Dec. 25.

Montbell Co., an outdoor-equipment maker that has operated in the Reihoku area since the 1990s, continues to organize events such as rafting tours.

To coincide with the start of the festival, the company opened Montbell Outdoor Village Motoyama, a multipurpose facility that includes cottages, hot baths and a shop selling the company’s outdoor gear.

Using the facility as a base, visitors can raft or kayak on the Yoshino River, climb Mount Shiraga and other mountains, and rent bicycles for a scenic ride, among other activities.

Rafting down the Yoshino River is especially popular. Happy Raft Co., which operates rafting tours mainly in Otoyo, has been receiving a large number of visitors each day who are eager to experience the cool feeling of navigating the river’s rapids amid sprays of white water.

The company also offers tours along calmer parts of the river, appropriate for young children. These courses are popular with families.

Seseragi-an, a tourism facility converted from a community hall, holds pizza-making workshops in which participants bake their creations in stone ovens using locally grown vegetables.

In Tosa, an event called “Zekkei! Tanada Teppen Walking,” during which farmers lead visitors through scenic rice and flower fields, is scheduled to run through mid-October. Reservations must be made in advance.

Meanwhile, Okawa is promoting cycling tourism, which allows visitors to experience local customs while cruising around on a bike. The quaint village has the smallest population in Japan outside of those on remote islands.

Said a promoter of the Reihoku activities: “We hope visitors can enjoy a feeling of excitement and healing in this rich natural environment.”

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