Discovering Koboke Gorge – Part 3 | Cherishing the Natural Beauty of Miyoshi
With panoramic viewpoints, suspension footbridges, and world class white water rafting, the Koboke Gorge area of Tokushima’s Miyoshi City is a great place to take in the natural landscape of central Shikoku.
>>Discovering Koboke Gorge – Part 1 | A Picturesque Place in Tokushima’s Miyoshi City
>>Discovering Koboke Gorge – Part 2 | Sublime Views from Breathtaking Bridges
Protecting the natural wonders of the Yoshino River
While the unique landscape of Koboke Gorge makes it a wonderful place to enjoy the natural splendor of Shikoku, this almost wasn’t the case. In the early 1950s the government was intent on building a massive 126 meter high dam across Koboke Gorge.
This enormous project was to provide flood control, irrigation, and hydro-power, and the resulting 35km long lake behind it would have swamped not just Koboke, but also all of neighboring Oboke Gorge and a large section neighboring Kochi prefecture.
For nearly 20 years water management officials wrestled with a consortium of local people who opposed the construction, and even though the dam idea was revised smaller several times, the local people prevailed and the plan was finally scrapped forever in 1971.
Soon after, Koboke and Oboke were included into the newly established Tsurugi-san Quasi National Park, which therefore protects the area from any more over-development ideas, and also preserves the forests and lovely view for future generations to enjoy!
An awe-inspiring view of Koboke Gorge
Probably the best place to take in the vast panorama of Koboke Gorge would be at the Koboke Observation Deck Viewpoint, located a few minute drive off of RT 32 in the middle of Koboke.
The recently rebuilt viewing platform is perched on the mountainside about 150 meters above the Yoshino River and the view looks southward deep into Koboke Gorge.
Every season offers different scenery, and it is worth keeping in mind as you take in the wondrous landscape how this epic view was almost consumed by the ill-fated dam.
The Koboke Observation Deck Viewpoint is always open and there is no fee. To access, turn off RT 32 onto RT 271 (a sign in English says the road leads to Tobinosu Canyon). Follow RT 271 for about 700m and then make the first sharp right turn to go up the narrow road. Follow this road for about 600m, and the viewing deck is on the right, with some parking spots just beyond it on the left.
Wet and wild fun upon the Yoshino River
And perhaps the most thrilling way to experience Koboke Gorge would be to get directly onto the Yoshino River for some of the best white-water rafting in Japan!
Offering a variety of Class 3 and Class 4 rapids, the churning waters of Koboke Gorge are not just famed throughout the country, but they are revered worldwide. Actually, in 2017 the gorge area here hosted the World Rafting Championships.
Looking out across the Yoshino River from atop the emerald water as you blast through these untamed torrents is an experience like no other, and all the while the massive rock formations along the river banks and towering mountains above make you feel like you are in a different world.
There are several rafting outfitters in the area who offer either half-day or full-day courses, as well as SUP, kayaking, and canyoning. And the river guides all tend to be pretty fun-loving people who are sure to give you a fantastic time, with some locations also offer English speaking guides.
Rafting season is usually from April to early November, and it is truly an unforgettable way to encounter the fantastic Koboke Gorge!
For a list of rafting outfitters in the area, see here:
And for more info about Koboke and neighboring Oboke, see here:
(Text by: Shaun Lamzy, Photos by: Oboke Iya Tourist Navigation & Shaun Lamzy)
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