Experience the Beauty of Rural Japan at the Shikoku Karst Natural Park
September 21, 2016
Shikoku boasts one of Japan's three largest karst territories. Located where Kochi and Ehime Prefectures meet, these rippling rock formations and flowing hills are 1400m above sea level but create a landscape that seems to reflect the vast Pacific Ocean encompassing Shikoku. The other two Japanese karst areas are Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Hiraodai in Fukuoka Prefecture.
The Karst runs over the border between Ehime and Kochi Prefectures.
Set against a clear blue sky, a shaded pavilion rests atop a hill dotted with limestone rock formations.
Unless you're a geologist or a geography aficionado, you've probably never heard of a "karst" and can easily be forgiven for supposing it might refer to a type of German sandwich with plenty of sauerkraut. The word karst is used to describe a type of topography (landscape) that forms when acidic water dissolves rocks, often limestone or gypsum, leaving behind rock features that resemble wobbly-looking towers or cobble stone streets.
A quiet herd enjoying the sunshine and the fresh grass.
It is beautiful in all seasons. Flowers, green grass, sunsets, stars, snow-dusted hills, and grazing cattle make the Shikoku Karst an excellent destination for nature-lovers year round. Far from any large cities and unspoiled by light pollution, the karst is also a favorite destination for stargazers.
Cool breezes turn two tall windmills.
The Tenguso Hotel
Although “Tengu” is a goblin-like Shinto god in Japanese folklore, the Tenguso Hotel is a comfortable retreat located in the park. Visitors who plan on thoroughly exploring ever corner of the karst or those who want to relax in the fresh air for a few days and enjoy the scenery at their leisure often stay here.
Cozy interior with a view of the surrounding hills.
The Beauty of Rural Japan
Adventurers who want to experience the beauty of rural Japan and discover some of Japan's lesser know points of interest should consider making a detour from the usual tourist spots in large cities – such as Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo – and spending some time appreciating nature in Shikoku.
Blue sky, green hills, and smooth limestone.
Train/Bus To Tenguso Hotel (nearest bus stop to the Karst area)
Take the JR train toward Kubokawa (窪川) from Kochi (高知）Station to Susaki （須崎）Station.
Take the bus headed toward Yusuhara (梼原) and get off at Shinta (新田) bus stop.
Take the bus for Tenguso (天狗荘).
4921-22 Yoshiunootsu, Takaoka-gun, Tsuno-cho, Kochi Prefecture 785-0504
For More Information About the Karst:
Currently working as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) in Kochi City, Sarah is a Canadian expat who spends her free time exploring Kochi Prefecture and trying to devise a better way to keep the tanukis out of her garden. She enjoys going to local festivals and eating too much mochi.