Last week I took a 10 hour roadtrip from my home in Tokyo to check out what the island of Shikoku had to offer.
We arrived in a town called Oboke at around 10 am, unloaded the gear, swigged some energy drinks, and put onto the upper section called Koboke, Ko for small. This section can be compared to Browns Canyon on the Ark. except with a whole lot more water and fewer floating bath tubs to run you over in the eddy. After a good class 2-3 day we all went to the hot springs soaped down, ate some good food and drove to our camp site (this is the ending to every boating day in Japan.)
The next day (and the three days that followed it) we paddled on the lower section called Oboke, O for big. The section offered some good class 3 to 3+ big water features and two rapids that could be considered 4 technical, depending on the water level. On our last day the river rose about 2 ft? in 3 hours! and the entire river changed.
At no matter what level this river offers fantastic downriver play, with huge waves, wave-holes, holes, and boils. Although most of the locals only paddle bigger boats (we were the only ones out in boats under 6 ft it seemed) and the raft guides do leave something to be desired (I was run over by one floating bathtub because he pulled out in front of me in the middle of class 3+ technical and another ran over my friend while he was stuck in mini-van sized hole.)
Although I didn`t take any pics (sorry) I can tell you that if you come to Japan you have to experience this river and the canyon it runs through. Good scenery, incredible water (heard it gets up to bathtub temp. in the summer), good food, and cheap camping.
P.S. in the next issue of LVM you will see an update on Japanese kayaking. In that issue you will see the current champ of Japan Yagi Tatsuya getting some nice air on a huge ass wave-that wave is located above Koboke. Also, included is an intro by my friends Hiro and Yagi, Yagi and some friends creeking in Japan, and the Japanese IR Big Gun Show. Hope you all enjoy and if your are thinking about coming to Japan over the summer hit me up and I`ll show you around (the rivers because Tokyo is just a bunch of big buildings, bleh!)!
P.P.S. I`m coming back to the Rockies in August!! Hopefully I`ll get to do some late season boating with you all!