Trip to Experience Nature in Nishi-Awa: Outdoor Activities on the Yoshino River and Mountains in Iya
Iya in Miyoshi city, Tokushima prefecture is one of the hidden treasures of Japan. The Iya region is richly endowed with nature, such as the Yoshino River in the Oboke Gorge as well as Mt. Tsurugi, and is attracting much attention for outdoor activities. Here are the activities you should try when in Nishi-Awa.
Enjoy activities amid the mountains and nature
The Nishi-Awa region has been described by Alex Karr as a “paradise-like different world”. Nishi-Awa is located in southeastern Shikoku, deep in the mountains. The area retains much nature, such as steep gorges, lush green mountains, and the fast-flowing Yoshino River.
The natural landscape will surely amaze you when visiting for the first time. In addition to the beautiful landscape, a variety of outdoor activities await you.
Sightseeing Boat Cruise on the river in the Oboke-Koboke Gorge
The Oboke-Koboke Gorge is the gateway to the Nishi-Awa region, which is popular for its river activities. To fully enjoy the landscape of the Oboke Gorge, take the sightseeing boat cruise on the clear blue waters of the Yoshino River.
This area is also geologically valuable: from the boat, you can see rare boulders (called ganreki hengan) which are designated as a national natural monument. If you are lucky, you may see wild animals such as Japanese serows, black kites and wagtails. The changing landscapes throughout the year are impressive, including fresh green in spring and beautiful colored leaves in autumn.
Dynamic river sports on one of Japan’s three greatest rivers
The Yoshino River is one of the three greatest rivers in Japan, featuring rapid currents. If you have enough courage and love active sports, try white water rafting! Under the instruction of a professional guide, you can enjoy racing down the river and playing in the water with a lifejacket on.
Once you are on the rapids, you need to work with the other crew to control the boat down the river. This place is known worldwide for river sports and has held the world rafting championships, where the world’s top rafting athletes race each other. Why not try whitewater rafting on this famous river?
Trekking in the mountains
River activities are just one of the attractions you can enjoy here. The surrounding mountains in Nishi-Awa are also impressive. Above all, Mt. Tsurugi, the second tallest mountain in Shikoku after Mt. Ishizuchi, has great presence and is one of the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan. We recommend trekking as the best way to enjoy Mt. Tsurugi.
The views from Mt. Tsurugi are amazing. If the weather permits, from the summit at 1,995 meters, you will have perfect views of all of the mountains of Shikoku. In addition, the Nishi-Awa region has many other must-visit spots, such as Mt. Miune which is famous for Kome-tsutsuji, a kind of azalea which blooms from late June to early July, the Shiozuka Plateau with its vast grassland, and the Kurozou Marshland with a variety of unique marshland plants.
Nishi-Awa is a great place to enjoy the attractions of both the river and the mountains.