White Water Rafting at Happy Raft in Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku
October 28, 2016
The island of Shikoku is known for its beautiful and abundant nature: from its lush forests and imposing mountain ranges to its clear rivers and white water rapids. An unmissable Shikoku experience is to brave the white water rapids of the Yoshino River, one Japan's three greatest rivers. This might sound like an intimidating experience for a foreigner, but Happy Raft in Kochi Prefecture has rafting tours designed with foreign tourists in mind.
Happy Raft offers both half and full day tours from their base-camp nestled on the banks of Yoshino river (accessible by foot from Tosaiwahara train station). The Happy Raft staff are warm and friendly and speak English (with an Australian accent)!
After meeting your fellow rafters and listening to a safety briefing, it’s time to put your gear on! You will don wetsuits, life-jackets and helmets and board a bus that will take you to the launch spot.
At direction of your guide, you and your fellow rafters will practice a variety of manoeuvres to steer you through the white water rapids, as well as how to get back into the raft should you fall out (don't worry – it’s all part of the experience!).
It is hard to describe the power and awe of white water rafting – the cacophony of sounds as the clear river waters churn, the sheer volume and force of water enveloping the raft, to the cliff faces and dense greenery that can only be seen from the water. If you have your wits about you, pull a pose as you go over the rapids for the Happy Raft photographer who is capturing your adventure (copies of the photos can be purchased after the tour).
After each section of the rapids, there is an opportunity to stop and recompose after the intensity of the rapids. The Happy Raft guides are an energetic lot and will involve your group in splashing contests and balancing games. If you are feeling adventurous there is even a chance to do a cliff jump!
After navigating a series of rapids, the guides will steer you to the shore just below the Happy Raft building. The half day tour stops here, taking about three hours total, but if you've chosen the full day tour you've still got a full afternoon of rapids ahead of you. Though before heading off, you will have worked up an appetite and the Happy Raft kitchen can deliver what you need – all you can eat bagels. If you've made some new friends with your fellow rafters, join their table and have a chat.
With your stomach food of bagels, it’s time to venture back onto the water. What are you waiting for? Book your Kochi white water rafting experience today!
Tour details: Tours operate between mid-March and mid-October.
Half Day Tour – 5,500 yen (7,500 yen in high season – see website for dates)
Full Day Tour – 10,000 yen (15,500 yen in high season – see website for dates)
Address: 221-1 Ikadagi, Otoyo, Nagaoka, Kochi Prefecture 789-0157
Access: Happy Raft is accessible by both car and train.
By car: it is 50 minute drive from Kochi, 1 hour 45 minutes from Takamatsu, 3 hours 10 minutes from Okayama and four hours from Osaka.
By train to Tosaiwahara Station: it is 1 hour 30 minutes from Kochi, 2 hours from Takamatsu, 2 hours 20 minutes from Okayama and 3 hours 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka. It is a 2 minute walk from Tosaiwahara Station to the Happy Raft building. Note, you may have to change from a limited express train at Oboke Station and take the local line one stop to Tosaiwahara station.
All photos courtesy of Happy Raft.
My name is Ian and I am Australian. When I'm not eating Ramen I'm either walking around the backstreets of Japan's major cities or running around Japan's many parks. I’m interested in modern art and will go out of my way to see art by Takeshi Murakami or Yayoi Kusama.