Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kayaking in the Shimanto River!

We tried paddling against the current! It was fun!
   What’s an activity perfect for Kochi’s hot, hot summer? Kayaking, of course! For this article, we went to the Shimanto River Station Canoe House in the Nishitosa area of Shimanto City and tried our hand at kayaking. (Note: “canoe” or “kanuu” refers to canoes and kayaks in Japanese.) Kayaking may seem daunting to some, but according to the Canoe House manager, 70% of their customers are beginners, and it’s easier than riding a bike.

   We decided to go down the river on a four kilometer Short Tour. To start, the instructor trained us onshore about the basics of our equipment, how to get in and out of a kayak, how to use our paddles, and what to do if we capsized. Then we were off! At first we struggled with how to use the front and back of our paddles, but we gradually got used to it and fluidly moved through the water. One great feature of our course was its diversity; the rapids of the Shimanto River’s mid-region and its more calm sections interlaced very interestingly. Sometimes it was so quiet and calm that we heard the singing of the birds and the rustle of the wind in the trees. But the three spots with rapids partway through the course packed a punch! Depending on the water levels, you may get wet from the spray, so bring a change of clothes. We got completely drenched, but it felt good to be one with nature. If fastmoving water is frightening, stabilize yourself by moving your arms and body forward and you’ll be sure not to fall.
 
 
Before kayaking, we energized with some delicious
aosanori udon.
  The river becomes wide and calm after the rapids, and the sky and mountains make for beautiful scenery. Swimming is available after the tour, so be sure to bring a swimsuit. However, Nishitosa was part of the area that was recorded as hottest in Japan in 2013, so the sun’s rays will be very strong. We recommend taking precautions by staying hydrated, wearing long sleeves, and using sunscreen.
 
   It seems that recently foreign customers have been increasing, and Canoe House has a list of pointers in English at their front desk. There were also European tourists present on the day that we went kayaking.
 
   Canoe House offers not just kayaking, but also cycling, family rafting, camping, houseboating, and staying in bungalows. They can rent you all of the necessary equipment. They also have a joint-run café that sells Shimanto unagi and aosanori udon. Why not take a day here this summer to enjoy Shimanto’s nature?
The scenery is also incredible!
 
   Shimanto City, Nishitosa, Mochii 1111-11
   TEL: 0880-52-2121 FAX: 0880-52-2424
   E-mail: info@canoekan.com
Hours:
   8:30~17:00
Closed:
   Jan. 1~Jan. 3
Kayaking Prices:
   Half-day: 5,400yen, Full-day: 8,100yen
   (All equipment included. Reserve by internet or phone.)
Website:
   http://www.canoekan.com/
Directions:
   Take the express from JR Kochi Station to Kubokawa Station( ~1hr). Transfer to a local train, and ride to Ekawasaki Station( ~45min). Walk to Canoe House (~20min). You can buy a“ Yodo Line Round Trip Free Ticket” at the station. (Offer ends November 30th, 2015.)

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