- Thrilling but safe experience rafting 4 km down one of Japan’s most exciting rivers – the mighty Yoshino
- Professional guides with multiple licences, including river guiding, rafting, and canyoning
- Lessons and experience in either English or Japanese
This 2 1/2-hour river activity by Shikoku’s oldest and best-rated rafting company will give you the thrills of white water rapids combined with the natural beauty of the untamed Yoshino river. The course starts up in the high range of Kochi’s Otoyo region and ends up four kilometers later in Tokushima.
The Yoshino river is an iconic back-country whitewater river, having its source under Mt. Ishizuchi, about 100 km to the west. It’s where the Yoshino hits the Kochi-Tokushima border that things get interesting. The torrent of water is squeezed between towering cliffs as it makes its way to the Oboke gorge, and the famed beautiful Iya valley. The natural formation and volume of water all-year round transforms the Yoshino into a foaming rafting paradise. Our rafting supplier is fully licenced to operate on the Yoshino, and offers both this shorter, Beginner-friendly course, and a longer Advanced course.
Your hosts are our supplier’s founder, Australian Mark Treston, his colleague and now-president of the company, Teruhiko “Teru” Katsuragawa, and more than a dozen (in peak season) other multinational team members. Between the two leaders, they have 41 years of rafting experience and it shows. Likewise the rest of the team are all river enthusiasts and yet highly aware of safety. This allows the team to offer a variety of rafting and customized options, including experiences for young families – although please note that this particular experience is more suited for adults and kids of 12 and over. If you need a custom experience, please let us know.
The Yoshino River is Japan’s premier white-water destination, boasting an abundance of water, big challenging rapids and amazing scenery. In this activity, you will learn the safety basics of rafting, what to do if you fall overboard, how to steer and paddle, what to expect as you hit the whitewater rapids, and what instructions you will hear from the boat guide. Then you will ride the bus up to the launch point and push off. Rounding the first corner, it’s not long before the raft picks up speed and you encounter your first rapids. While scary at first, you quickly realize the rafts are actually very stable – although it helps to hold on!
The course includes a quiet stretch, where you can either choose to do a daredevil jump from a rocky column in the middle of the river, or to simply drift quietly on your back while watching the sky and the incredibly steep forest greenery of the hillsides surrounding you. All along the course but particularly at this interlude, your guide will take photos which will result in a group (the group on that raft) photo CD you can take home for free. Finally, the adventure is over and arriving at your destination, you join the rest of the crew in carrying the paddles up to the beach, then a short walk back to the supplier’s base camp for a well earned shower, change of clothes, and, delightfully, bagels that are baked on the premises.
Tour Itinerary (Tours leave daily at 9 am and 2 pm)
07:45 Catch the Nanpu 06 Limited Express train from Kochi Station to Oboke Station (station D45 on the JR Dosan line), or drive directly to HappyRaft base.
08:49 Arrive at Oboke Station. You will be met by our rafting supplier and driven across to the supplier’s home base in Otoyo.
09:00 Arrive at our rafting supplier’s home base, for teaming with other crew members in your raft, course introduction, fitting, and basic instructions
09:30 Travel in supplier’s van to the launch point, where the safety orientation starts, along with instructions on how to handle the paddles and raft.
12:00 After 2 hours of incredible thrills and fun, you arrive at the pickup point, just meters away from the supplier’s home base
12:30 After changing, enjoy a free bagel baked on the premises, and receive your complimentary photo CD with all the shots taken by your river guide
13:20 Leave with supplier’s driver to return to Oboke Station.
13:51 Arrive Oboke Station, in time for the south-bound Nanpu 09 Limited Express and a train ride back to Kochi
14:42 Arrive Kochi Station
Included in price
- Priority booking, including customization of experience (extra cost)
- Transportation from home base to the river launch point
- Guide fee, insurance, wet suit, water-friendly shoes, life jacket, paddle, helmet, photo data
- Clear instructions and support in English
- Train fare from Kochi station
- Vehicle rental, tolls, gas, parking if you decide to drive
- Insurance for vehicle or yourself and passengers
- Vehicle accessories such as child seat, freezer box, etc.
- WiFi Router unless purchased separately, as recommended
- Guides or other persons in attendance, other than the scheduled rafting activity
- Equipment for any activities you may plan to do independently (unless booked separately with us)
- Any meals (lunch is available at extra cost of 1,000 yen per person)
Know before you book
- All bookings must be made at least 1 week in advance, to allow us to prepare equipment and transport.
- This rafting experience depends on availability coinciding with your travel dates, and we may suggest a nearby date if not available.
- The rafting base is fairly remote, so if you need to have a meal, either pack snacks or be prepared for a limited selection at a local general store. There IS an excellent Indian restaurant 2.2 km distant, if you have a rental car or like hiking!
- You will not need a working (connected to Japanese cellular network) mobile phone for this activity, but if you wish to use one, we have high-performance, reasonably priced WiFi routers available for pickup in Kochi BEFORE you leave on the train for the rafting base.
- Some parts of the activity may be modified depending on weather and seasonal conditions.
- Lunch is provided at extra cost: 1,000 yen per person paid on site in cash
- High season bookings - there is a surcharge for high-season reservations (July 23, 24, 25, August 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 22, 23, 29, 30, and September 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21)
- Obon bookings - there is a surcharge for Obon period reservations (August 13, 14, 15)
2 days prior to the day of your trip – 40 %
1 day prior – 50 %
On the day – 100 %
No-show – 100 %
- Japan is a safe country and this activity is low-risk, furthermore, the activity itself includes insurance coverage while you are with the supplier. However, considering the travel there and back, as well as perhaps wanting more extensive insurance coverage, we advise you to consider personal and third-party travel insurance out of abundant caution
- If you are renting a car to get to Otoyo, we recommend you buy the car rental company's insurance policy
What you need to bring
- Swimsuit, towel, change of clothes
- If you wear contact lenses, bring a spare pair of goggles
- Glasses strap if you are wearing sunglasses or prescription glasses
- Waterproof camera if you want to take your own photos and videos
- Sunglasses, water bottle, and other personal accessories.
How to Get There
- By Train: Take the JR Dosan Line from Kochi Station and alight at Tosa-Iwahara station (D28 stop). The rafting home base is just 1-2 minutes walk south of the station on the same road. Trip time from Kochi: around 90 minutes. Trains are very irregular, so be careful about departure times and both ends of your trip. Tickets are available at the ticket office of Kochi Station for a return trip, or each way, with a machine-dispensed ticket at Tosa-Iwahara station or you can pay the conductor. Another option is to take limited express train to Oboke station. These trains run every hour. You must contact HappyRaft to arrange a pick up from Oboke station.
- By Car: After renting your vehicle, set your navigation system to 221-1 Ikadagi, Otoyo, Nagaoka District, Kochi 789-0157. Get on the Kochi Expressway at Kochi Interchange and follow the route north to National Route 439, then leave 439 at the Otoyo interchange (Exit 9) and follow National Route 32 to Iwahara.
Organised by Japan Travel KK
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