Many visitors choose to experience the Shimanto River, known as "Japan"s last unspoiled river," and the Niyodo River, famous for its "Niyodo Blue" color, from a traditional Japanese Yakatabune houseboat. A "Yakatabune" is a kind of traditional Japanese sightseeing boat that has been known for ages. Complete with a roof, tatami mat seating, and tables and chairs, visitors can take in the surrounding scenery from the vantage point of a boat while enjoying a meal. One river with Yakatabune, the Shimanto River, is the longest in Shikoku at 196km long. Running from Kochi City to faraway, remote regions, the main current of the river flows free and uninhibited by any large dams. Highlights of this pristine river include beautiful scenery and unusual bridges designed to go underwater in the event of a flood. Although the clear Shimanto River is usually placid and calm, occasional heavy rains can muddy the river waters and wash away conventional bridges. That"s why the river"s bridges are a distinctive sort of submersible bridge. Lacking handrails, they sink below the water without resistance. This trinket of wisdom was discovered in order to live in harmony with nature. Boat passengers cheer when they pass under these submersible bridges. Visitors can enjoy a few refined hours becoming one with nature, gazing at beautiful schools of sweetfish in the shallows, and feeling the refreshing river breeze in spots where the current is swift. Depending on the course, passengers may also experience cuisine made from Shimanto River delicacies such as sweetfish, eel, or freshwater prawns.
The Niyodo River is located just 40 minutes from Kochi City by car, and is popular for its relative ease of access. The cobalt blue ravine, crystal clear all the way down to the riverbed, is said to be miraculously pure. Year after year, it ranks number one as the purest water in Japan. It"s possible to order local foods on boat tours of this river as well, allowing visitors to take it easy and fully enjoy their river journey.